Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland, a tiny gland in the brain. Very small amounts of melatonin are also found in meat, cereal, fruit and vegetables. Melatonin helps control when you fall asleep, wake up, and the quality and depth of sleep, but not only. Discover its properties and find out in which situations it is worth reaching for it.
Melatonin regulates the circadian rhythm - that is, the moment of falling asleep, waking up and cycles that run in between. You can read more about sleep cycles and phases here. For this reason, melatonin is often used as a sleeping pill, especially since it can be bought without a prescription.
However, melatonin is also an antioxidant, thanks to which it fights the effects of aging and prevents many diseases. In addition, melatonin:
What's more, some studies report that melatonin has a positive effect on eye health, treats seasonal depression (SAD), and also relieves stomach acid and reflux.
Other scientific studies suggest that melatonin protects the heart (reduces pressure in people with insomnia), reduces the negative effects of stroke, slows down the development of cognitive impairment in people with dementia, reduces the harmful effects of obesity by reducing inflammation, and even protects against cancer and increases healing effect of cancer therapy.
Melatonin is often called the sleep hormone - and rightly so!
Over the years, it has gained the name of one of the most popular means of sleep. It is commonly used as a remedy for insomnia. What's more, unlike sleeping pills, it is not addictive, even when taken for a long time, it does not cause tolerance. On the other hand, unlike antidepressants often taken for sleeping problems, you can drink alcohol (or more precisely before it). Just keep a 2-3 hour interval.
The effectiveness of melatonin has been shown by numerous studies. An analysis of 19 studies, conducted in 2019, showed that in both adults and children, melatonin shortens the time of falling asleep, extends sleep and improves its quality. Thanks to melatonin, waking up in the middle of the night, continuous rolling from side to side and annoying with "counting rams" can end.
The same analysis showed that reaching for melatonin is associated with a lower risk of side effects than other hypnotics.
Melatonin supplementation is most often used in the case of:
Melatonin can be taken in doses ranging from 0.3 milligrams to even 10 milligrams a day. A lower dose, from 0.1 milligrams to 5 milligrams, will work for older people. Start with a small dose and gradually increase it as needed. If you need to change your bedtime once, e.g. because you have to get up on a plane, reach for melatonin 30 minutes before the desired bedtime.
However, if you want to fix your circadian rhythm and establish more regular sleep times, you need to take it already 2-3 hours before bedtime. Thanks to this, a smaller dose will work.
The pineal gland naturally produces the most melatonin between 11am and 3am, but it begins to secrete it a few hours earlier. It is this rhythm that should be copied if you want to teach your body new hours of sleep and waking up.
You can't live without natural melatonin! And fall asleep - for sure. Unfortunately, many ailments or life situations can cause temporary or permanent problems with sleep. In these cases, melatonin can improve the comfort of life and even prolong it. Therefore, if you or your loved ones have trouble sleeping, choose only proven solutions.