If sleep is something that evades you most nights, then rest assured that you are most certainly not alone. Insomnia currently affects around 30% of the world’s adult population, though some experts predict that this number is actually far higher.
A lack of sleep can leave you irritable, it can affect your concentration and mental focus, it can make you emotional, it can drain your energy, and it can also affect your physical health. A lack of sleep has been linked with reduced longevity so if you aren’t sleeping well, it might be time to try and change that.
The good news is that there are ways in which we can battle and prevent insomnia, including taking a melatonin supplement.
Melatonin is a supplement which is proving to be highly effective in the battle against insomnia, but what is it and how does it work?
Here’s a look at what you should know about melatonin.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally within the body that is responsible for regulating your body’s sleep and wake cycles, aka your body clock, aka your circadian rhythm.
Melatonin basically communicates with your brain and tells you when you are feeling tired at night, and when you should wake up in the morning. A lack of melatonin can result in insomnia as the more melatonin you have in your body, the sleepier you will feel and the easier you will find it to get to sleep.
How is melatonin produced in the body?
Melatonin is produced in the centre of the brain within the pineal gland. This tiny gland is only small, but it has a huge job as it regulates your sleeping patterns and cycles.
As well as this, exposure to sunlight in the day can help to boost melatonin levels, as can eating certain foods such as walnuts and tomatoes, and using supplements.
Basically, your body’s circadian rhythm works in conjunction with the amount of natural daylight you are exposed to, which in turn controls how much of this hormone you produce. At night time, once the sun goes down, this lack of light signals to the brain to start secreting melatonin via the pineal gland.
Once the sun rises, melatonin levels drop off once again and once you wake up the cycle is ready to repeat itself once more.
Melatonin supplements for sleep
Okay, so that’s all well and good if you produce sufficient amounts of melatonin, but what about people that don’t?
Well, not only can we produce melatonin naturally, we can also consume it in supplement form. Melatonin supplements are proving to be extremely popular.
Melatonin supplements are available in pill, liquid, or capsule form and are designed to be consumed in the evening, roughly 2 – 3 hours before you plan on going to bed.
Anything from 0.3mg to 5mg daily can be used for improving sleep. For insomnia sufferers, experts recommend consuming 5mg of melatonin around 30 minutes before you plan on going to bed.
Provided you use it as instructed, melatonin is a supplement that is completely safe, which will improve your overall sleep quality and your sleeping patterns no end.