Melatonin is a hormone, also known as N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, which is made by the pineal gland, at the center of the brain in humans and animals.
It can also be found in microbes and plants. This hormone helps control your wake and sleep cycles.
It can be found in small amounts in foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, and meats. Also, you can buy it as a supplement.
According to studies, low-dose supplements can speed up sleep and ease jet lag, without the side effects of prescription sleeping pills. This hormone can have many other uses, such as strengthen the immune system, make people feel better, and reduce free radicals in the body.
There is still a lot to learn about melatonin and its effects on our bodies.
Current research is trying to determine the hormone’s effect as an immune-modulator in cancer, antioxidant, delayed sleep-phase disorders, and jet lag. The most benefits have people who are suffering from mild sleep disorders.
Your body has an internal clock that controls your natural cycle of waking and sleeping hours. Your body clock regulates how much melatonin your body produces. Usually, the levels of this hormone start to rise in the late evening. They stay high for most of the night and they drop in the morning hours.
Light can affect how much melatonin your body will produce. During the winter months, your body can produce melatonin earlier or later than usual in the day. This change can cause symptoms of seasonal affective disorder or winter depression. The levels of melatonin slowly drop with age. Therefore, some older people produce very small amounts of it or sometimes none at all.
Melatonin supplements are used to treat sleep problems or jet lag. There are studies that are searching for other good uses for melatonin, like reducing chronic cluster headaches, reducing or preventing problems with confusion after surgery and sleeping, helping to control sleep for people who are working at night, and treating seasonal affective disorder.
Usually, melatonin supplements are safe for long-term and short-term use in low doses. However, talk to your doctor about them. Pregnant or nursing women and children shouldn’t take melatonin without consulting with a doctor.
There are some side effects of melatonin, but they usually go away once you stop taking the supplement.
Some of the side effects are:
- Small changes in blood pressure
- Morning grogginess
- Vivid dreams
- Lover body temperature
Do not operate machinery or drive when you are taking a melatonin supplement if it makes you feel drowsy. Also, talk to your doctor in case you are taking melatonin during health exams. And tell your doctor if you’re having insomnia since it can be related to a medical problem.
Adults take melatonin based on the reason for its use in doses from 0.2 mg to 20.0 mg. The right dose varies from person to person. Talk to your doctor to find out if melatonin is right for you and learn the right dosage.