Odds are, if you’ve ever complained about a lack of sleep out loud among other people, you’ve probably heard at least one of them swear by melatonin. But does melatonin really work? Can it actually help you fall asleep more quickly, stay asleep through the night, and achieve restful, quality sleep? The short answer is: yes, yes it can. But if you’re confused as to how, we will help clear the air and explain everything you need to know about supplementing with melatonin at night.
Melatonin and Your Circadian Rhythm
With the rise and fall of the sun comes the rise and fall of your circadian rhythm. The human circadian rhythm is made up of a series of biological processes which, depending on the time of day, can leave you feeling energetic and sharp or drowsy and fatigued. It all depends on whether or not you have a healthy sleep cycle.
Melatonin is a very important part of your circadian rhythm, especially after the sun goes down. Once it gets dark outside and your eyes are not exposed to as much blue light as they would be during the day, your brain starts to release melatonin into your system. This hormone lets the rest of your body know that it is time to sleep so that you can repair the wear and tear your body experiences throughout the day.
The modern world, however, is seriously interfering with melatonin production. Even after the sun goes down, our beloved modern technology – specifically, TVs, cell phones, tablets, computers, and more – are still exposing us to the blue light we would normally only get from the sun during the day. This confuses your brain, tricking it into thinking it is still daytime. This means that your brain won’t produce as much melatonin – if it releases any at all – and you won’t feel sleepy when it’s actually time for bed. If you’re an electronics junkie and you find yourself tossing and turning nearly every night, this may be the unfortunate reason why.
What Can People Do About Low Melatonin Levels?
There are some very practical steps people can take if they’re worried about their melatonin levels. Some of the best suggestions include:
- Practicing mindfulness and/or meditating if stressful thoughts are keeping you up at night
- Spend more time outside in natural light
- Limit exposure to electronic lights after about 8 or 9 p.M.
- If you can’t limit your exposure to electronics in the evening, consider buying a pair of blue light blocking glasses
- If your bedroom has too much ambient light at night, consider investing in a quality sleep mask
We understand that making some of these changes may be hard or nearly impossible for most people to accomplish. That’s why melatonin supplements exist. And it’s a good thing they do, given how drastically our modern lives interfere with our natural circadian rhythms.
Arguing the Case for Melatonin Supplements
Yes, it’s true; taking a melatonin supplement at night (or a natural sleep supplement that contains melatonin) is a great way to help alleviate sleep problems. But that’s not the only reason you should be supplementing with melatonin. We have discovered a whole host of other health benefits that melatonin can provide. As you can see below.
Many people don’t know this, but melatonin is also an antioxidant. It can help shield every cell in your body against the oxidative damage which is, unfortunately, a natural byproduct of cellular function. Over time, too much oxidative stress can damage your DNA, leading to premature aging, a poor complexion, chronic fatigue, chronic inflammation, and brain fog (among other things). And melatonin doesn’t just protect your cells from DNA damage – it helps give you more energy by maintaining good mitochondrial health. Mitochondria are little energy-producing organic machines that float around inside each and every cell in your body. When they aren’t functioning properly, you tend to feel tired all the time, and it also makes it harder to get a healthy amount of exercise. But supplementing with melatonin can help you overcome these challenges.
A Wide Range of Health and Wellness Benefits
While melatonin may help protect your body on a cellular level, it has some macro benefits as well. For starters, it’s great for maintaining a healthy and well functioning immune system. It’s especially potent when it comes to giving your immune system a boost in the face of viral or bacterial infection.
It protects your mental health as well. People suffering from ADHD, chronic anxiety, and even autism have reported experiencing less severe symptoms with melatonin supplementation. Obviously, melatonin is not a cure. You should still follow your doctor’s advice and take whatever medications are necessary if you do have any of these problems. But it can be a safe, gentle addition to help boost your current regimen.
Attention all of you headache sufferers out there: you should be supplementing with melatonin, too, despite whether you also have sleep problems or not. This is especially true if you are constantly plagued chronic cluster headaches. Supplementing with melatonin every night has the potential to reduce both the frequency and the severity of a cluster headache attack.
Melatonin Is Much Safer Than Most Sleep Medications
If you’re currently on a prescription sleep medication or taking over the counter sleeping pills on a regular basis, you may want to take a break from those (but only if your doctor says it’s safe, with regard to the prescription sleep meds) and switch to melatonin supplements for a while. This is especially true if you’ve never tried melatonin before. There are many dangerous side effects that come with both prescription and drugstore sleep medications, even though they’re downplayed by most drug companies and rarely advertised. But you should know what they are before blindly resorting to these harsh drugs every night.
Natural sleep supplements, on the other hand, are a safer and superior alternative to synthetic chemicals. Many of them, including Avinol PM, include a healthy dose of melatonin to help you sleep. Some formulas even include ingredients such as chamomile, valerian root, or hops extract to boost the effectiveness of melatonin. If you’re ready to give Avinol PM or similar supplements a try, you can learn more about them by clicking that link.