Use melatonin for sleep aid

November 12, 2012

Use melatonin for sleep aid

Melatonin is a natural hormone that control sleep cycles. Those who have trouble sleeping have found that taking supplements of melatonin for sleep aid to be successful.

Overview of melatonin

Everybody produces and requires melatonin for sleep and wake cycle control. It is made naturally by the body’s pineal gland but small amounts of it can be found in some foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats and grains. However for a significant boost in the levels of melatonin in the body maybe people are not opting to take it as a supplement.

The role of melatonin in the body is to act as a natural clock that informs the brain when it should be asleep and awake. Your body naturally controls the levels of melatonin that it makes hand studies have shown that an increase in production usually starts in the mid to late evening and remains high throughout the night before dropping down again in the morning. The process can be affected by a number of factors including exposure to light. It is the changes in melatonin levels that occur during the darker days of winter months that are thought to trigger seasonal effective disorder causing symptoms of depression. Levels of melatonin are also affected by age with older people producing very low to non-existent levels of melatonin.

Taking supplements of melatonin for sleep benefits

Doctors sometimes recommend melatonin as a treatment for sleep disorders such as insomnia as well as jet lag. Research is being conducted into further effective uses of melatonin for sleep and other conditions such as:

  • The treatment of seasonal affective disorder

  • Controlling sleep patterns for shift workers

  • Reducing problems with sleep and confusion that can occur after surgery

  • Reduction of chronic cluster headaches

It is also thought that there may be a connection with melatonin and slowing the spread of cancer, strengthening the immune system and slowing down the affects of aging. These ideas are still in the theoretical stages and further research is required to fully understand the benefits that melatonin may have to offer. Taking a supplement of melatonin for sleep aid is considered safe as long as it is taken in the recommended quantities. There are some minor side effects that may or may not occur including, lower body temperature, morning grogginess, vivid dreams and changes to blood pressure. Side effects will disappear if you stop taking the supplement.

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