Melatonin Supplements For Improving Sleep
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the body. It manages the body clock cycle, especially sleep timing and waking up cycle. It allows the body to understand that when is the time to sleep and when to wake up, without any external help (such as an alarm clock).
Role of Melatonin in the body
Melatonin plays the following roles in the body:
- Helps in maintaining the body clock cycle.
- Helps in synchronizing body temperature and blood pressure.
- Helps in getting your body and mind relaxed by getting attached to the receptors in the body, obstructing their normal activity.
- Rise in the level of melatonin in the body indicates that you need to sleep. It is often termed as “sleep hormone”.
Melatonin production in the body
As the night approaches and the darkness outside increases, melatonin levels in the body rise. It is an indication for the body that it is time to take rest or sleep. Too much light reduces the levels of melatonin in the body, leading to a lack of sleep. However, there are other factors too that are inversely proportional to melatonin production in the body such as stress, smoking, aging, erratic lifestyle, etc.
Mostly, melatonin levels are high at night and low during the day time. Low melatonin levels lead to insomnia, restlessness in legs, intestinal pain or spasms or other complications. Hence, adding a melatonin supplement helps in such cases.
Benefits of Melatonin Supplementation
Following are the benefits of adding a melatonin supplement:
- Helps in uplifting mood and restraining low spirit.
- Beneficial against insomnia.
- Participates in regulating hormones- balance in the body.
- Some studies show their importance against some medical conditions, consumed in combination with other drugs as per doctor’s advice.
- Studies also show that melatonin supplementation help in enhancing growth hormone in males.
- It also supports muscle growth, as elaborated below.
Melatonin and muscle growth
Melatonin supports muscle growth in two ways-
- It diminishes workout induced oxidative stress in the body, which leads to better muscle recovery and growth.
- Secondly, melatonin promotes better sleep. A substantial amount of muscle repair and growth occurs at night while sleeping, which in turn encourages better athletic performance and muscle mass.
The dosage of melatonin depends upon the reason for consuming it. For insomnia, the dosage may vary from 0.5- 5 mg per day used for long term, and may go upto 12 mg per day for short durations in case of extreme insomnia. Surgery or extreme medical conditions may require a dosage ranging from 3 mg to a dosage as high as 40 mg per day or may be higher (under expert supervision), for different intervals depending upon individual condition.
Although studies done till now shows that melatonin is safe for use in healthy individuals, however, self-supplementation is not suggested. They may also interact with certain drugs affecting their action, hence should not be taken in combinations. The best way to safely use them is to consult a health care provider/ Nutritionist. Overuse of melatonin or usage for very long term without consulting an expert should be avoided.
Melatonin is an effective supplement that improves the quality of sleep along with other health benefits as mentioned above. It also enhances muscle growth and is mostly safe for healthy individuals. However, they are not recommended for kids unless prescribed by their doctor, as well as overuse may lead to dependency. Hence, it is best to use it in recommended dosages, for the suggested time interval in consultation with your clinical expertise.
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