Melatonin, also known under the name of the sleep hormone, allows to regulate the circadian rhythm or, if you prefer, the biological clock. Secreted by the epiphysis (pineal gland), melatonin is also an off-the-shelf supplement in pharmacies.
1- What role does melatonin play?
Melatonin acts a little as a “messenger” in the circadian rhythm, and it's secreted for the purpose of preparing the body to rest and sleep. So, as soon as the light diminishes, the secretion of melatonin increases during the evening, to promote sleepiness. But this process is sometimes compromised, like when you’re fighting jetlag, if you work nights or if you’re spending your evenings in front of a screen on a well-known social network, for example. In that case, a melatonin supplement could be the solution to your temporary problems with finding the arms of Morpheus. Here are a few facts about this hormone that is both well-known and not so well-known at the same time.
2- Is melatonin only useful to fall asleep?
The virtues of melatonin are not only limited to helping to induce your sleep cycle; as a matter of fact, studies have shown that it plays a role in the stimulation of the immune system, in the regulation of blood pressure and it also acts as an anti-oxidant. So it’s in our interest to pay attention to it!
3- How does melatonin affect sleep?
Light-sensitive receptors located in our eyes allow for the production of melatonin when light diminishes. By increasing the rate of melatonin, it makes it easier to sleep. But it sometimes happens that that's not enough.
4- Melatonin at the pharmacy?
If your sleep cycle is irregular (night work, jetlag), a melatonin supplement could be taken. Offered in various concentrations, these pills should however be taken only on a temporary basis, and it doesn’t work for everyone.
5- Can melatonin cure insomnia?
No. Since it’s a hormone naturally produced by your body, taking melatonin pills to treat insomnia won’t cure it; it doubly helps to induce sleep. If you’re suffering from insomnia, look for exterior causes and think about replacing your old mattress with a better foam mattress, for example.
6- What are the secondary effects of taking melatonin?
Other than headaches, dizziness and tiredness during the daytime, taking temporary melatonin supplements isn’t dangerous. However, its long-term effects aren’t known, so it's better to turn to a health specialist to learn more.
7- Is melatonin found in food?
Do you like cherries? You’ll be happy to learn that they naturally contain melatonin! So, a small handful of cherries as an evening snack is an excellent idea, but don’t overdo it: while cherries are filled with melatonin and anti-oxidants, they also have laxative effect… Tomatoes, strawberries and wine, among others, also contain it.
8- In addition to melatonin, how can I sleep well?
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is one of the keys to sleep enough and well. And among other advice we could give you to sleep better, make sure to have a comfortable bed that conforms to the shape of your body, like hybrid viscoelastic foam mattresses do. You’ll find these mattresses online or in specialized stores, and you could even receive your mattress in a box if you opt for delivery.
A healthy lifestyle and a good mattress, 2 perfect ingredients so that your sleep hormone lets you get a good night’s rest!