The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have further hampered our capacity to get a good night's sleep, which has long been a prevalent concern among Americans.
Numerous people turn to dietary supplements in their hunt for solace. According to the AASM, just over half of Americans report using supplements, drugs, or other substances to aid in falling asleep, with 68 percent reporting doing so more frequently than before. Melatonin, a hormone that the body naturally produces and controls our sleep-wake cycle, is by far the most widely used sleep aid.
What precisely Is Melatonin? What Purpose Does It Serve?
It's critical to realize that not everyone will experience success using melatonin as a sleep aid. We must look more closely at what melatonin is and how it functions in order to see why.
The pineal gland, a pea-sized gland in the center of our brains, is responsible for producing the hormone melatonin. The suprachiasmatic nucleus, which is found in the hypothalamus, activates our pineal gland when the sun sets. Melatonin levels immediately increase after being stimulated, causing sleepiness.
However, the brain gets deceived into believing it is still daytime if you are not in a poorly illuminated setting. Because of this, you don't nod off when using your iPad or watching TV. Our body's natural generation of melatonin is suppressed by the blue light that electronic devices emit. Therefore, even if we are aware of how exhausted we are and how much we need to sleep, our circumstances are sending the contrary message to our brains.
While it's recognized to be a natural sleep aid, melatonin may not be effective for everyone. Millions of people rely on supplemental melatonin to help them avoid another night of insomnia.
Why Melatonin Might Not Be Effective For You?
It's crucial to understand that while melatonin aids in letting the body know when it's time to sleep or wake up, it doesn't actually cause you to nod off. This is why it might be helpful to reset your confused body and brain if your sleep routine has been disrupted, such as when you've travelled to a new time zone or are working the night shift at your job.
While melatonin has been demonstrated in some research to be helpful for a variety of sleep issues, other investigations have found no evidence of a beneficial relationship. It's crucial to see your doctor before purchasing them for this reason. By purchasing supplements that are not appropriate for your particular problem, you can be wasting your money and experiencing no improvement.
Melatonin: Is It Safe?
Even while melatonin is regarded as a natural sleep aid, there are some adverse effects that you should be aware of before using supplements. The majority of individuals take it without any issues at all, but if you're considering taking it, it's a good idea to be informed of any potential issues that might occur.
• Morning Sluggishness
• Discreet Variations In Blood Pressure
What Dose Of Melatonin Do You Require?
Most people abuse melatonin by taking upwards of 10 milligrams or more before night and then complaining that it is ineffective. In fact, taking too much melatonin can lead to rebound insomnia, which can make the supplement ineffective or, worse, make your already restless evenings even worse.
To maintain your regular sleep cycle, melatonin can be taken in very small dosages. Your melatonin can be increased by 20 times with as little as 1-3 milligrams an hour before bed. If it still doesn't help, your sleep issues probably have other causes and require additional examination by a physician.
What To Do If Melatonin Is Ineffective?
While supplementing with a tablet doesn't necessarily have to be your first line of defense against sleepless nights, melatonin might be useful in some situations to regulate the sleep cycle. Establishing a nightly regimen that includes lowering the lights, avoiding screens an hour before bed, and setting the mood for rest actually helps to prepare the mind and body for the onset of sleep for many of our Parsley Health members with sleep disorders.
Doctors and health coaches can offer advice on techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and journaling that can assist to control stress levels before going to bed if melatonin is ineffective for you, or worse, if it is keeping you awake. Studies demonstrate that even in those who have been diagnosed with sleep problems, mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques like these help to improve the quality, length, and beginning of sleep.
Even if you've tried melatonin, mindfulness, and meditation without seeing any improvement in your sleep, doctors will work with you to dig deeper to identify the underlying factors that are causing your sleep problems. They may examine your hormone levels, gut microbiome, and cortisol levels to address any underlying imbalances that may be making you more susceptible to sleep problems.
By making a few small adjustments to their regular habits, many people can alleviate their sleep issues and totally get rid of the need for melatonin and other sleep aids. Adopting specific strategies might help you get ready for a restful night's sleep, also referred to as excellent sleep hygiene.
- Before going to bed, stay away from caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol because these can disrupt sleep.
- Before going to bed, practice a soothing routine that excludes brightly illuminated screens because they can keep you awake.
- Make sure your bedroom is a cold, quiet, and dark space.
- Even on weekends, maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time.
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) – Association for Sleep Clinicians and Researchers. (2021). Missing the mark with melatonin: Finding the best treatment for insomnia. Retrieved Sep. 3, 2021 from https://aasm.org/missing-the-mark-melatonin-finding-best-treatment-insomnia/
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- Basit, H., Damhoff, T. C., Huecker, M. R. (2021). Sleeplessness and circadian disorder. [Updated Apr 19, 2021]. In: Statpearls [Internet]. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534238/
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