Everyone has experienced the occasional issue with sleeping. You can’t seem to fall asleep, just lying in bed awake wondering when you will fall asleep. Perhaps you are the person who falls asleep easily, but wakes up too early, or just doesn’t feel like you’ve rested very well.
Regardless of what your specific sleep complaint is, you have probably heard that melatonin is the secret weapon to help you sleep better.
I recently read an article in the September 2017 issue of Prevention Magazine exploring what melatonin actually does, and it was enlightening to say the least.
The Issues With Sleep
There are many issues that people have with sleep. For some it is acute or chronic insomnia, which in itself can have a multitude of causes. Then there are the behaviors we have that can cause a lack of sleep, such as caffeine too late in the day, too much blue light too close to bed or working out too close to bedtime.
Then there are the unavoidable schedule interruptions like jet lag, a baby in the home, or the unexpected hospital visit or getting sick. This is more than just a change to a schedule, but really the circadian rhythm, which controls your body’s natural schedule, is being interrupted.
What Is Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone your body naturally produces from the pineal gland in your brain. The brain normally starts secreting this hormone a couple of hours before your normal bedtime. However, caffeine, blue light, stress, and exercise (just to name a few) can all inhibit the natural production of melatonin if you expose yourself to it too late in the day.
How To Increase Melatonin
One of the easiest ways to help your body produce the right amount of melatonin is to look at your habits and make some minor adjustments. This could include:
- Keeping a regular bedtime.
- Stop consuming caffeine at least six hours before your bedtime.
- Stop using screens (like phones, computers, tablets and television) two hours before your bedtime.
- Finish your exercise at least two hours before bedtime.
- Try doing relaxing things a couple hours before bed. This could include meditation, a warm bath or shower, a cup of chamomile tea, or diffusing relaxing Young Living essential oils.
You can also boost your melatonin production by what you eat. This could include:
When Melatonin Supplements Work
Working to increase your body’s natural melatonin production is the best way to ensure you get great sleep on a regular basis. When you run into the occasional circadian rhythm interruption, a quality melatonin supplement may be a good short-term solution to help reset your body’s internal clock.
However, you want to consider the source of the melatonin, whether it is a completely synthetic form of the hormone, and the dosage in the supplement. Generally, our bodies cannot use synthetically produced hormones. Additionally, one of the risks to using them is that it tricks your body into believing you have enough of the hormone already, and so it can adversely affect your body’s ability to continue to produce it on its own.
In terms of dosage, the Prevention Magazine article suggests the right dosage is between 3mg-10mg per day. Unfortunately, some supplements are labeled as high as 300mg. Further, melatonin is not regulated by the FDA, so just because a bottle says that it has a certain dosage in it does not mean that is what is actually inside. Unfortunately, news broke in 2015 that many supplement brands did not contain what they claimed was the bottle. In fact, 79% of the supplements included in one test showed they did not contain the primary ingredient on the label.
So, researching the brand from which you get your supplement and the source of the supplement is extremely important to ensure you are getting what you need to support your body.
If you would like to hear about the brand that we have found that we trust implicitly and have found works really well, drop me a line through the form below, or give me a call at (810) 207-5115.