Before explaining what melatonin is, do you know, your body works on circadian rhythm which regulates your sleep cycle?
Melatonin hormone secreted from the pineal glands of the brain, controls this circadian rhythm or the internal clock of your body. It controls the time to sleep and wake up!
The melatonin levels in our body increase in the absence of light and decrease with its presence thus, controlling the sleep pattern. However, those who work during night and sleep at the daytime face real problems to have a natural circadian rhythm and develop sleeping disorders gradually.
The problem lies among frequent travelers too. As they travel through different time zones, sleep their body clock gets confused and disrupts the normal pattern. Most of the times, they are treated with sterke slaappillen to get rid of jet lag.
Our ancestors had less exposure to artificial lights at night, which made them sleep comfortably at night. Also, with an increase in age, production of melatonin decreases which causes sleep deprivation. Women with menopause go through hormonal imbalance which can lead to a dysfunctional body clock. All of these can be treated with dosages of melatonin.
The hormone is known for its abilities to cure not only insomnia but also a lot of other physical issues. It prevents cancer, tumor growth, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, etc.
Effects of melatonin!
The results of melatonin intake vary from people to people. Studies have shown that it has better impact on the elderly than the younger ones.
As melatonin has no side effects for short-term use, many people try them and get positive results for their sleep problems. Although, it is always recommended to start with minimum dosage at first and that too under the supervision of a doctor.
Melatonin intake is a stern no for pregnant women or people who are under the influence of other conflicting drugs.
What are the alternatives?
Though melatonin is not addictive at all, it is recommended to increase the intake of melatonin in your body by having natural foods that are rich in tryptophan such as bananas, milk, turkey, egg, etc. These increase the level of serotonin in the body which works as a catalyst to melatonin’s functions.
Tryptophan helps to form serotonin in our body and which, in turn, converts into melatonin.
- Tryptophan can be easily availed via prescription.
- Those who are vegetarian or can’t eat dairy products can use this for benefits.
Getting exposed to sunlight can also stimulate the levels of melatonin in the body, specifically in the morning. Lightboxes may be used if there is lack of decent sunlight; it would keep the body clock on check.
Thus, melatonin can be influential for the health, but the use as a supplement can bring in some side effects like depression, anxiety, etc. So, if there is suspicion regarding the melatonin levels, then it’s better to consult a professional doctor or sleep specialist.