DREAMING OF SLEEP
The first thing that usually comes to mind when we hear the word Melatonin is SLEEP. Melatonin is that pill that people often take when they have trouble falling asleep and next thing they know it’s lights out, right? Something along those lines!
There’s actually a lot of information behind melatonin: what it is; it’s role in our bodies; and what happens when our levels are off. Here’s what we should know!
What is Melatonin & How Does it Work?
Melatonin is actually a hormone made naturally by our bodies. It’s produced by the pineal gland in the brain but also found in other areas, such as the eyes, bone marrow and gut.
- Melatonin is known for sleep because high levels can help us fall asleep, BUT melatonin itself doesn’t make your lights go out.
- Melatonin levels begin to rise in our body when it becomes dark outside, which then sends a signal that it’s time to get some sleep.
- It also binds to receptors in the body that control our relaxation levels.
- Melatonin binds to receptors in the brain to help reduce nerve activity and in the eyes to help reduce dopamine levels (hormone that helps you stay awake).
- Did you know, just as darkness increases melatonin levels, light decreases melatonin production signaling that it’s time to wake up.
Ever hear that you should limit your electronic use 30min-1hour before bed or else it can disturb sleep? Now you know why!
Sleep, and more importantly QUALITY sleep, is one of the most important and essential things we need in order to achieve optimal health. No sleep or not sleeping enough is like asking your body to run marathon after marathon without any rest and recovery – it’s not going to work! Sleep is something that should be natural and easy for all of us, but unfortunately it can be incredibly difficult for some people.
There are many factors that may cause low melatonin levels at night like stress, smoking, exposure to too much light, not getting enough natural light during the day, and aging. For people who struggle with sleep, melatonin supplements can really help counter low levels and normalize your internal clock. Melatonin is easily accessible and does not require a prescription from a MD.
Research shows that taking melatonin in low doses is the most effective way to promote sleep if you are experiencing restlessness or insomnia.
Recommended doses of melatonin are from 0.5 mg up to 3 mg, which are adequate to promote sleep, and should be taken about 2 hours before bedtime. If used at higher doses, melatonin might increase daytime sleepiness or cause you to feel “groggy.”
There are a ton of melatonin supplements on the market to choose from and it can be a little confusing how to figure out which brand is a quality source. I have found great success with the following –
As I mentioned earlier, sleep is SO important and a lack of can greatly affect your gut & brain health, immunity, energy levels, and overall happiness. If you’re having complications with your sleep and are looking for some support, please reach out! Lets see how we can get you back on track and get you sleeping like a baby.