Melatonin is responsible for many functions of your body, but mainly for maintaining the circadian rhythms, which is your body's internal clock that tells the body when to sleep and wake up. There is so much more to learn about melatonin as a whole, right from what it means to its benefits. Did you know that you can take melatonin supplements too? Well, there's lots to know about this particular hormone, so let's get started with it.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin's meaning is simple. It is a hormone that your brain produces in response to darkness. As we mentioned above, it helps your body's internal clock with sleep. When your body is exposed to light at night, it can block the production of melatonin.
How Does Melatonin Work?
During the day, your brain's pineal gland is inactive. It is a few hours before your natural sleep time when it starts to get dark outside the gland and starts to produce melatonin in your brain. As levels of melatonin rise in your brain, levels of the stress hormone (1), cortisol starts to fall, your respiration slows down and that's when your eyelids begin to droop. So, when you take a melatonin supplement, it sort of tricks your body into feeling drowsy, where it doesn't put you to sleep but indicates to your body that it's time to sleep.
If you wish to try melatonin supplements, we highly recommend you try the Saffola Fittify The Perfekt Gummies For Sleep Health. These gummies help you with induced sound sleep while regulating a proper sleep cycle. It is packed with melatonin and no added caffeine which makes these gummies the ultimately added bonus to your regular diet.
Benefits of taking Melatonin:
Now that you're aware of melatonin's meaning and how it works, let us tell you the benefits of melatonin for your further knowledge on the same.
1. It Supports Better Sleep
Melatonin, called the sleep hormone, is quite a popular sleep aid and a common solution to treat insomnia (2). There are various studies that say that one of melatonin's benefits is that it can support better sleep. Taking melatonin supplements two hours before sleep may help you fall asleep faster and experience improved quality of sleep. However, it may be less effective as it is associated with some side effects.
2. It Can Reduce Symptoms of Seasonal Depression:
Seasonal depression, also called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) (3) is a common condition approximately affecting 10% of the population worldwide. It is related to changes in the season and may occur during the same time year after another. And as melatonin plays a vital role in regulating the circadian rhythm, low doses of melatonin supplements may help reduce the symptoms of seasonal depression.
3. It Can Promote Eye Health
One of the melatonin benefits is that it is high in antioxidants which aid in preventing cell damage and keeping your eyes healthy. Melatonin may be beneficial in treating conditions like age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma. However, there is limited research on this, so more human studies are needed to determine the long-term effects of melatonin supplements on eye health.
Dosage of Melatonin:
Now that the benefits of melatonin are clear, let us tell you about the dosage. Melatonin can be taken between 0.5 to 10 mg per day. But, as all melatonin supplements aren't the same, it is better to stick to the prescribed dosage on the label so that you can avoid the side effects. Also, it's better to start with a lower dosage if you're new to this supplement and then increase it as needed. Taking a melatonin supplement 30 minutes before bedtime can help maximize its effectiveness if you're using it to improve the quality of your sleep. If you're using melatonin to rectify your circadian rhythm, you may take it about 2 to 3 hours before you sleep at night. All being said, consulting an expert or your doctor who knows your medical history before taking melatonin supplements is better than the rest.
Side Effects and Precautions to be Taken Before Taking Melatonin:
Melatonin is safe and is considered to be non-addictive for short as well as long-term use in adults. However, as long-term studies on the effects of melatonin are limited to adults, it isn't recommended for children or adolescents. Some common side effects of melatonin include headaches, nausea, dizziness, and sleepiness. When you are taking melatonin supplements, it may also interact with other medications that you might be taking, including antidepressants, blood thinners, and blood pressure medications. Hence, it is always better to consult a doctor before taking melatonin to prevent any side effects.
Now, talking about precautions, because melatonin can cause daytime drowsiness, avoid driving a vehicle or using machinery within five hours of taking the supplements to avoid any mishaps.
All in all, melatonin may help improve sleep, seasonal depression, and eye health if you consume the supplements in the prescribed doses and if it doesn't mess with any of your allergies. It is associated with minimal side effects and is considered a safe supplement. However, keep it away from children.
What are the drawbacks of using or consuming Melatonin?
Some of the less common melatonin side effects are:
- Short-lasting feelings of depression
- Mild anxiety
- Abdominal cramps
- Reduced alertness
- Mild tremor
When to take Melatonin?
As mentioned earlier, it is better to take melatonin as prescribed on the label or by your doctor. The dosage is generally prescribed to be taken 30 minutes before sleep time or 2-3 hours if you're trying to improve your body's circadian rhythm.
Which foods contain Melatonin in them?
Foods that contain melatonin are:
- Tart cherries
- Goji Berries
Should kids use Melatonin?
Melatonin shouldn't be given to children who are healthy and typically developing under the age of 3. This is because difficulties in falling or staying asleep are always behavioural in nature. So, it's better to not mess with their natural sleep cycle by giving them melatonin supplements.
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