So, you have seen this on the web or while walking around the store you found a bottle of Melatonin and wonder what exactly is melatonin? Well, you are not alone, many people do not really know what melatonin is or how it works. This article will give you the low down on the basics of melatonin, what it is, how it works, and why it is important.
Melatonin is a hormone which is created by your pineal gland located in the brain. This hormone assists your body in controlling sleep cycles, it acts as your internal clock and the amount of melatonin produced is influenced by your body and how much light you are exposed too each day. That’s right, you actually create a hormone based on the time of day that helps you sleep better at night, and it commonly increases in mid to late evening once the sun goes down. While in the dark, melatonin levels remain higher, and go down in early morning when the sun coes up and causes you to begin waking up.
At least, that is how melatonin is supposed to work, as a natural sleep aid. However, there are many things that can influence melatonin levels in the environment around us. During winter, days are shorter and darker, this can result in the body producing melatonin earlier in the day or even later in the evening. That is why you may have problems with your sleep cycle during winter, resulting in less energy and fatigue, mood changes and other things.
Other things beside natural light is able to influence melatonin levels, such as food. Food that contains melatonin include walnuts, tomatoes, barley, olives, rice, cherries, strawberries, even cow’s milk. This is the reason eating these foods often results in a calm and sleepy feeling.
If you find that you are having trouble sleeping, you may lack melatonin levels required for a good night of sleep. In this case, natural melatonin is available over the counter at most drugstores and natural-food stores. These are commonly used by those who work odd shifts or experience jet lag, or suffer from insomnia. Supplements are available in many forms, from pill and liquid to lozenge and chewable. The doses start at 1mg and go up to 10mg. If you suffer from insomnia, it is recommended to take melatonin up to an hour before bed.
However, melatonin supplements may also have a negative effect to many medications, so you should always ensure things with your doctor before you start taking melatonin supplements. The doctor can also go over other things with you based on your medical history, as melatonin has the risk of making you drowsy and groggy the next day too.