Melatonin For Sleep: What You Need To Know!

Melatonin For Sleep: What You Need To Know!

We spend around one-third of our lives sleeping. Sleep is important - It is as vital to our bodies as breathing, drinking, and eating and is necessary for maintaining mental and physical health. Sleep allows us to heal from both physical and mental stress. Recently, Melatonin sleep aids are gaining popularity, with 3 million Americans using them in 2012, according to a survey conducted by CDC. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone. It controls the day/night cycles, often known as sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin supplements are often produced in a laboratory. So, if you are one of these people considering using melatonin for sleep, then it is important to understand What is melatonin, its benefits, and how it works?


Why Sleep Is Important?


Before diving into more depth about melatonin, it is important to understand why sleep is important. Sleep is important for better health. Sleep and health are closely related. Poor sleep elevates the risk of developing poor health; affects energy, mental health, physical health, and concentration levels. And poor health can make sleeping more difficult. Similarly, disrupted sleep is the first sign of distress. Sleep issues frequently occur as a result of common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

While we are all familiar with the saying of telling someone to get out of bed and pull yourself together, lethargy, fatigue, and disrupted sleep can be a symptom of a mental health problem or a common side effect of the medicine. Additionally, sleep and sleep disturbances are critical components of mental health treatment that are sometimes ignored.

Similarly, having a deep sleep is important. Because deep sleep increases the brain's glucose metabolism which supports both long-term and short-term memory as well as learning. Furthermore, during deep sleep, the pituitary gland releases vital hormones, such as human growth hormone, which stimulates the growth and development of the body (1).

Deep sleep also offers other advantages, such as cell regeneration, energy restoration, increased blood supply to muscles, promotes growth, strengthens immune systems, and helps in tissues and bone repairs. Thus, it is safe to assume that we can all benefit from improving our sleep quality.


What Is Melatonin?


Melatonin is a hormone that our body naturally produces. Although this hormone is produced by the pineal gland in the brain, it is also found in other body parts, including the gut, bone marrow, and eyes (2). Moreover, it is frequently referred to as the "sleep hormone," as high levels of this hormone can help you to fall asleep. It basically informs your body that it is bedtime, allowing you to calm and fall asleep more easily (3).

Currently, Melatonin pills are being used by individuals who suffer from insomnia and jet lag. Melatonin is available without a prescription in several countries.


How Melatonin Helps with Our Sleep Cycle/Deep Sleep?


Melatonin is a hormone that acts in combination with your body's circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is your body's internal clock. It tells you when it's time to go to bed, get up, and eat. When it gets dark outside, your body's melatonin levels rise, signalling to your body that it's time to sleep (4). It can also help you relax by binding to receptors in your body. It has the potential to lower dopamine levels, a hormone that helps you stay awake. It's also involved in various components of your eyes' day-night cycle (5-7).

Light, on the other hand, regulates melatonin production, which is one of the ways your body signals that it's time to get up(8). Melatonin aids in the preparation of the body for sleep, thus persons who do not produce enough of this hormone may encounter difficulty in sleeping. However, taking a melatonin pill can help restore your internal clock and increase its levels.


Advantage & Disadvantage Of Taking Melatonin


Melatonin helps you fall asleep and can aid in jet lag, a temporary disorder of sleep. Melatonin reduces jet lag by resetting your internal clock according to the time change. Besides promoting sleep, the other health benefit of melatonin is;

  • Melatonin helps in the treatment of tinnitus as research showed that significant reduction was observed in patients with tinnitus.

  • Melatonin supplements appear to be safe, non-toxic, and nonaddictive (9, 10)
  • .

  • Melatonin has antioxidant properties that may aid in the treatment of stomach ulcers and heartburn.

  • Melaonin also increases human growth hormone in men (1)
  • .

Besides advantages, unfortunately, there are the following disadvantages of using melatonin.

As some individuals reported that they experienced mild side effects while using melatonin:

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Drowsiness

Moreover, numerous researches have suggested that Melatonin may potentially interact with certain drugs, including antidepressants, blood thinners, and treatments for high blood pressure (11-13).

So, if you have a health issue or are already on any of the above medications, it is recommended that you see your physician before starting to take any supplement.


Difference Between Melatonin & Sleeping Pills


Melatonin is not considered a drug but is a supplement that naturally regulates your sleep-wake cycle. While Sleeping pills are medications that work by activating GABA receptors in the brain. GABA receptors are mainly responsible for inhibiting brain activity. Unlike other sleep drugs, melatonin does not cause withdrawal dependence or withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, it does not result in a sleep "hangover," nor do you develop a tolerance to it. In other words, it does not lead to addiction.


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