Sleepless nights are such a drag! If you have experienced jet lag or struggle with insomnia, you know how important it is to find the right natural sleep aid. Among other remedies, melatonin has been noted to help people fall asleep. But what exactly is melatonin, and how can it help you achieve a restful night?
As a pill, melatonin has been advertised to provide relief from insomnia. But melatonin exists beyond its processed form. If you are curious about how this supplement works, let’s explore its origins and its various structures and how it presents itself in the body.
Melatonin as a Hormone
First and foremost, melatonin is a hormone that your brain naturally produces when exposed to darkness. Once it is nighttime (and dark outside), the melatonin that is released by the pineal gland signals that it’s time to rest. It is otherwise referred to as the ‘sleep hormone’ regulating your internal sleep cycle. This cycle is also referred to as your ‘circadian rhythm.’
However, once you are subject to light, this can block the production of melatonin, as your body may assume that it is time to be awake. This is why issues such as jet lag can cause insomnia because there is a disruption in your regular bedtime, along with additional daylight.
Melatonin as a Sleep Supplement
People who do shift work or travel across time zones may be more susceptible to disruptions in their sleep cycle because the environment around them is changing, including their exposure to light. In this case, the brain may not be generating organic melatonin as it once did.
Luckily, melatonin pills are available to help supplement the element that cannot be produced naturally. Melatonin supplements act in a few different ways in order to help you sleep:
Melatonin can lower nerve activity in the brain, helping you to relax.
It alters the levels of various other hormones in the body, such as dopamine, which keep us awake.
It prepares your body for sleep by lowering your blood pressure and your body temperature. As your body loses heat, it becomes easier to fall asleep.
Other Benefits of Using Melatonin
Aside from its primary feature, taking synthetic melatonin may also have other advantages. Because melatonin is an antioxidant, it can help with curbing certain eye diseases, particularly with elderly folks. Studies have also shown that melatonin can help with heartburn and stomach ulcers.
Further reports have concluded that taking melatonin can help to increase human growth hormones (HGH) in younger men.
However, not everyone will react the same to melatonin supplements. For some, it may be a welcome sleep aid, but it may not work for others. In addition, side effects can include headaches, dizziness, and nausea.
If you are considering using synthetic melatonin, always follow the proper dosage and follow up with your doctor if you are experiencing more serious issues.