Melatonin is your subconscious mother telling you when it’s time to go to sleep, kind of…well, It’s a hormone that regulates your sleep. For some, a sleeping hormone imbalance can lead to ‘night owl’ like sleeping patterns that completely throws off your circadian rhythms (we’ll go through that in a second).
Melatonin supplements have helped individuals suffering from poor sleep, jet lag, sleep deprivation, and sleep disorders since its trial in1995. This article will discuss and answer the following questions; What is melatonin? What does melatonin do and how does it work? What are some other natural alternatives in achieving good sleep?
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin, indirectly, is a sedative; a naturally made hormone that has many vital functions, but it’s best known for promoting sleep patterns.
What Does Melatonin Do and How Does It Work?
The sleep hormone is produced by a small gland in the middle of the brain called the pineal gland. The gland operates on a light-sensitive schedule, differentiating between night and day, the gland will produce more of the sleep hormone during the evening as dusk sets in. From another perspective, when the pineal gland senses the morning light flooding into your room, it knows it’s time to wake up! The pineal gland also correlates with your circadian rhythm.
Your circadian rhythm is the underlying body-clock that operates by the 24-hour earth cycle. The circadian rhythm helps humans regulate their sleep-wake cycles and calculate when it’s time to eat!
The sleep hormone isn’t restricted to provoking drowsiness; melatonin helps regulate blood pressure, body temperature and hormone levels.
So what is the sleep hormone actually doing to bring forth the z’s? When the hormone is released upon the night’s hasty approach, it reduces nerve activity by binding to brain receptors, which dulls stimulation and promotes sleepy sensations. Through regulating other hormone levels, melatonin also helps decrease the amount of dopamine released, which is a hormone that assists in keeping you alert and awake!
The body-clock can be thrown off its axis due to an irregularity of schedule, for instance; shift work, regular late-nights, and jet lag. Melatonin supplements have shown to help individuals restore their circadian rhythms.
Taking Melatonin Supplements
Healthy sleep patterns are vital to any individual’s overall health and well-being. You know what it’s like to feel sleep deprivation; your mind is clouded, you feel lethargic, stressed, and drained of energy. Some people feel like this every day due to sleep disorders. Let’s look at the circumstances in which melatonin supplements may prove successful.
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome is precisely how it sounds. Most people who experience the condition struggle to get to sleep for the first few hours of the night. This can be extremely frustrating and debilitating, especially if you’re an early riser.
Melatonin supplements help individuals with Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome drift off a little faster. The downside to the supplement is that sleeping problems return within a year of finishing the treatment. Most doctors recommend the hormone supplement as a short term solution to provide instant relief.
55%-70% of people that are fully blind experience a condition called Non-24-hours Sleep-Wake Disorder (N24). The disorder affects the individual’s circadian rhythm making it impossible to follow regular sleeping patterns. Most with N24 will find that their sleeping pattern will progress backwards, making its way around the clock face making them sleepy at a different time every day.
Rare cases of N24 have been reported in sighted people though the exact reason is unknown. Taking supplements of melatonin before bed has proven effective for people with N24.
While there is no concrete evidence supporting that melatonin supplements improve sleep quality for people suffering insomnia, many people claim that its effects are positive. There have been reports of an increase in the consistency of sleep in adults. There is no evidence supporting the success rate in adult, but speculatively it could have something to do with adults having less melatonin than children.
Irregular Sleep Patterns
Circumstantially, some people are required to stay up late; whether it’s for their jobs, travel or hobbies. An irregularity in sleep can really mess with the body clock and confuse the circadian rhythm and pineal gland. Most can transition back to a regular schedule naturally, others use melatonin supplements to get back on track a bit faster.
Other conditions or circumstances that melatonin supplements may help, include;
- High Blood Pressure
- Jet Lag
- Sun Burn
Melatonin Supplement Side Effects
While there’s strong reason for taking the hormone supplement, there are also reports of specific side effects that may ensue.
- Daytime Drowsiness
- Short term depression
Certain medications are not compatible with the hormone supplement, and it’s strongly advised against taking them together. Such medications include;
- Blood-thinning medications
- Diabetes medication
- Contraceptive medication
Back to Sleep encourages every individual to do their research and move forwards in the journey to improve their sleep life and ultimately improving the quality of life itself. Consulting your GP is the best way to take that first step into understanding what’s going on with your sleep and melatonin levels.
At the end of the day, everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for another. The success rate for melatonin supplements is inconsistent, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying. You deserve the best chance of attaining a good night’s rest. Back to Sleep offers a few solutions that you should also try.
Finding the ‘Right’ Mattress
For over sixteen years, the team at Back to Sleep have been changing lives. Through rigorous research and development, the industry-leading healthcare professionals have captured the people’s needs and wants.
To get a better understanding of what you’re going through and what Back to Sleep can do for you, the team offer a one-on-one consultation. Don’t settle for less; get the sleep that you deserve.