The power of melatonin: everything you need to know
Sleep well, without problems and have a restful night's sleep. It may seem like a mirage, but it's easier than you think. Don't worry, melatonin will help you along this path.
According to the World Health Organization, sleep disorders affect about 40% of the world's population and are considered a major public health issue. This is where melatonin can help.
Melatonin has the great power to regulate sleep, but not only. This hormone also helps the body to function well and is an excellent ally of sleeping well and preventing more serious diseases.
- It is produced by the pineal gland, which is located in the brain and is active whenever there are no light stimuli. This is why melatonin is more produced at night, precisely to induce sleep
- Is responsible for sleep controlling and circadian rhythms: daytime and nighttime activity
- It is important that, when bedtime approaches, avoid light, sound stimuli or aromas that can speed up metabolism and decrease melatonin production
- The production of melatonin decreases with age, therefore, it is common that sleep disorders are more frequent in adults or the elderly.
Functions and Benefits
1. Improves Sleep Quality
Melatonin helps you sleep well and increases sleep quality, helping to decrease and treat episodes of insomnia.
It also increases sleep duration and reduces the time needed to fall asleep, both in children and adults.
To complement the effects of melatonin and sleep well, there are other things you can do to improve your sleep:
- Go to bed and get up at the same time.
- Do physical exercise, no maximum, 4 hours before sleeping.
- Avoid heavy foods, heavy drinks, caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco before bed.
- Avoid bright lights, TV, computer and cellphone before bed.
- Avoid long naps during the day
2. It is antioxidant
Nowadays, much has been said about the antioxidant properties of foods and substances that are present in our body.
But, after all, what does “antioxidant” mean?
In short, and as the word implies, it is blocking tissue oxidation. It's not letting the cells "rust".
When oxidation occurs, the organism is more vulnerable to the appearance of diseases, due to the decrease in oxygen in the cells, which is then “replaced” by free radicals.
The huge advantage of antioxidants is that they are able to regulate the amount of free radicals in the body.
When free radicals are in excess, they will oxidize healthy cells, proteins and lipids. And that's not a good thing, believe me.
That is why the intensification of this oxidation process is associated with the development of chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and some types of cancer.
Due to its antioxidant effect, melatonin contributes to a stronger immune system, preventing all these diseases.
Furthermore, studies who analyzed breast, prostate, endometrial and ovarian cancer cells, showed that melatonin can help reduce the intensity of side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
However, further studies in humans are needed to prove this benefit.
3. Decreases Depressive State
Are you one of those people who gets more depressed in the winter? Join the club!
It is in cold and rainy weather that we tend to be lower. We are just like boring weather: with sadness, apathy and excessive sleep, which can occur more often at these times.
This lack of mood is associated with a decrease in substances linked to mood and sleep, such as serotonin and melatonin.
As if that weren't enough, a lack of melatonin can also lead to increased appetite and difficulty concentrating!
4. Reduces Stomach Acidity
Melatonin helps to reduce the production of acid in the stomach, preventing the famous heartburn.
It also decreases the production of nitric acid, which will induce esophageal relaxation and reduce esophageal reflux.
Thus, melatonin can be used as an aid in the treatment of this problem. Only advantages!
Frequently, the production of melatonin can be insufficient or unregulated, and the natural order of things may be in need of a little help: melatonin supplements.
And now you must be asking what is the best melatonin available on the market. But this is a complex answer. It always depends on who is going to ingest it.
There are, however, several myths around this topic: melatonin makes you gain/lose weight, melatonin is bad for you, etc. But we are here to clarify them.
It should be taken in moderation, in the right amounts and at the right time, and most importantly, always taking into account the opinion of a doctor. If you follow all the recommended steps, you won't have to worry.
There are always questions about which is the best melatonin on the market. But that doesn't exist! Everyone has their own needs, so what works for one may not make sense for another.
The recommended intake can range from 0.3 mg to 0.5 mg of melatonin, the amount normally produced by our body. However, these supplements are sold in capsule form, in doses of 1mg, 2mg, 3mg, 5mg or 10mg.
It is recommended to start taking the lowest dose (1 mg) 30 minutes before bedtime. This dose can be increased to up to 10 mg per day, as directed by your doctor.
But watch out! Melatonin doses greater than 1 mg may increase the risk of having side effects. That's why you should always check this out with your doctor.
In addition to melatonin, it is important that supplements contain 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) in their composition, an amino acid extracted from beans, which helps the body produce more serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating sound cycles and the mood.
And, as we mentioned above, the lack of serotonin in the body can lead to emotional instability, insomnia and anxiety.
You will surely notice that many of these supplements may also include extracts of lavender and rosemary, which is normal, as they have anxiolytic and relaxing properties.
They are commonly used to manage stress, anxiety and improve sleep quality.
There are certain situations in which taking melatonin supplements is contraindicated. Melatonin is bad for you in these situations:
- Pregnant women.
- Women who breastfeed
- People allergic to melatonin or any other component of the supplement
Melatonin can make you drowsy during the day, so you should avoid the following activities while taking these types of supplements:
- Handle heavy machinery
- Carrying out activities that require attention or could be considered dangerous
Also, don't forget an essential thing: you shouldn't take melatonin during the day, because it will disrupt the circadian cycle, and make you feel a lot of sleep during the day and little during the night.
Also, don't forget an important thing: you shouldn't take melatonin during the day, because it will disrupt the circadian cycle, and make you feel a lot of sleep during the day and little during the night.
Side Effects of Melatonin
Unless the doctor prescribes it, you should not take melatonin in amounts greater than 1 mg. If you do, it's important to know that the risk of these side effects is higher:
- Tiredness or excessive sleepiness during the day
- Headache or migraine
- Abdominal pain or diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of concentration
- Irritability and anxiety
- Canker sores or dry mouth
- Increase in blood pressure
As you can see, melatonin is not harmful, as long as it is always taken according to what your doctor recommends. Each case is different, so never self-medicate without any indication, It's the worst mistake you can make!
Sleeping well is a gift and, for that, there are specialized professionals who will advise you in the best way.