Melatonin is a neurohormone produced naturally by the pineal gland in the brain. Also called as the sleep hormone. This hormone regulates the body’s circadian rhythm that is the sleep cycle, and lets you know when to hit the bed. Melatonin production is dependent on the absence of light, which means that the body secretes it in darkness or at night 2-3 hours before the regular sleeping time. The circadian rhythm is the body’s internal clock and tells the body when to sleep and when to wake up.
Light decreases melatonin production, whereas darkness triggers it. Therefore, adding melatonin supplements that come in pills, help you sleep if you are having trouble sleeping and your circadian rhythm isn’t functioning properly.
How does it work?
Melatonin supplements add to the body’s supply of melatonin which triggers the circadian rhythm sending signals to the body to sleep. These supplements usually take about 1-2 hours to take effect, just like the natural melatonin in the body; hence it is advisable to take them 2 hours before bed time. They are taken to address any sleep problems are safe and effective in the short term, but a doctor’s advice is recommended. Melatonin melts are fast-acting nano strips that convert plant-based melatonin extracts into melts that are easily absorbed by the body when placed on the tongue.
Melatonin is also found in food. Many foods such as nuts, especially pistachios, contain a high level of melatonin. this hormone. Fruits and vegetables such as grapes, tart cherries, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms also contain this hormone and naturally boost the melatonin levels in the body.
Benefits of melatonin supplements
Melatonin supplements are usually given to adults to treat sleep disorders. It is extremely helpful in combating jet lag and is given to people suffering from insomnia to get insomnia relief. It helps in getting a night of restful sleep. Compared to other sleep aids, melatonin has fewer side effects and improves the quality of sleep. It reduces the time it takes to fall asleep at night.
In initial studies, it has been shown that melatonin can relieve some headaches, especially migraines and cluster headaches, but it is unclear at what dose this is effective and which formula of melatonin works best.
It plays a significant role in reducing jet lag. Jet lag sets in when people travel across different time zones, and the sleep cycle gets disturbed. Melatonin helps in regulating the sleep cycle by triggering the sleep signals in the body.
Melatonin plays other functions as well in regulating blood pressure, body temperature, and cortisol levels. It has antioxidant properties and raises the body’s antioxidant defences. Melatonin might slightly improve the symptoms of tetanus because of its antioxidant properties.
Melatonin’s antioxidant properties come in handy when battling the damaging effects of radiotherapy and free radicals. It also has anticancer properties itself, and research has shown it helps patients undergoing radiation therapy.
As we age, the melatonin levels decrease in the body and in Alzheimer’s patients, the decrease is more pronounced. A study found that melatonin appears to slow the cognitive decline associated with this disease.
It helps with delayed sleep-wake phase disorder and helps in getting restful sleep. Sleep problems and anxiety-prone children have experienced better results after consuming melatonin supplements. It also calms the anxiety before surgery.
A study indicates that melatonin can protect the heart by reducing blood pressure in insomniacs, reducing stroke damage, slowing mental decline in people with dementia, and reducing the damaging effects of obesity by lowering inflammation in the body.
So, we can say that melatonin is an important hormone in the human body and aptly called the ‘hormone of sleep’. It regulates the circadian rhythm and has many antioxidant properties, and helps in slowing cognitive decline in elderly patients. Though the research is still ongoing in the field of melatonin study, compared to other sleep-aiding drugs, melatonin seems to have lower side effects.
Melatonin supplements come in pill and gummy form and are available with a doctor’s prescription. It is very helpful in reducing the time it takes to fall asleep, thereby preventing delayed sleep and also brings back the circadian rhythm to normal. Melatonin supplements are prepared from microorganism or animal sources, but most of them are synthetically made.