Nearly all of the body’s various functions are regulated through the use of hormones. One such hormone that many may recognize for its positive influence on sleep is melatonin. Even though sleep regulation is its primary function in the body, melatonin provides many other benefits.
Having a better understanding of what melatonin is, what other impacts it has on the body, and how to maintain a healthy supply can improve many factors of wellness.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is a hormone naturally produced in the body by the pineal gland. This small part of the endocrine system is located near the midsection of the brain.
Levels of melatonin are cyclical and regulate the body’s internal clock also known as the circadian rhythm. Because of this, imbalanced or disrupted melatonin production can result in multiple symptoms, most common of which being sleep disruptions and insomnia.
Melatonin levels typically begin to increase in the latter parts of the day after sundown, which promotes drowsiness and helps the body fall asleep. Ideally this elevation remains throughout the night while it is dark outside to help maintain good sleep quality. As the sun returns in the morning, melatonin levels fall back to a minimal level, thereby triggering the waking process.
Research shows that supplementing with melatonin can have a positive effect on the body’s circadian rhythms allowing for better sleep and more consistent wakefulness throughout the day. Perhaps the best part of treating sleep issues with melatonin is that there is typically no risk of dependence, tolerance issues, rebound insomnia, or withdrawal symptoms.
The Positive Influence of Melatonin
Even though melatonin is most known for its sleep-aiding qualities, there are other areas that are positively impacted by this important hormone.
Melatonin provides various anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits that can support and protect the heart. It also aids in maintaining a healthy cholesterol balance and can even lower blood pressure. These attributes help protect the heart from various cardiac issues such as blood clotting and heart attacks. Melatonin also limits the impact of free radicals, that if left unattended can cause long-term damage to the heart.
The antioxidant benefits of melatonin may also provide significant immune support. A study done in 2013 described melatonin as an immune buffer that can improve immune function when the body is afflicted with an immunosuppressive condition. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory nature of melatonin can limit the impact of a dysfunctional or harmful immune response. These attributes may also benefit the treatment of chronic conditions.
A study composed of 101 patients with fibromyalgia showed that melatonin could be beneficial in alleviating symptoms of chronic disease. The study found that patients who took melatonin alone or in addition to the antidepressant fluoxetine, or Prozac, experienced significant improvement of their symptoms. Further studies have shown that melatonin may be able to help alleviate symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and other chronic disorders.
Certain forms of cancer are influenced by hormonal activity. Research has found that breast and prostate cancer may be improved through treatments with melatonin. Although the method is not fully understood, research shows that melatonin may inhibit the proliferation of malignant cells that promote prostate cancer. Testing done on humans and mice found that melatonin may inhibit malignant cell production and tumor growth. Further research found that melatonin may support cancer treatments such as the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen.
Stress can negatively impact melatonin levels and disrupt the sleep-wake cycle. Emotional or physical stress may cause a reduction of melatonin during the night and elevate levels during the day, which can completely throw off the body’s circadian rhythm. This is because stress promotes the production and release of the stress hormone cortisol. Increasing melatonin levels through an external source can ease the impact of increased cortisol levels while also limiting cortisol release. Melatonin can also alleviate anxiety and stress-related symptoms such as daytime fatigue, drowsiness, insomnia, and restlessness.
Environmental and lifestyle factors can inhibit the body’s natural production of melatonin. When days are shorter, and sunlight is less available, a common occurrence during the winter seasons or at locations of higher latitudes, the body alters its production of melatonin. This contributes to the common loss of energy, irritability, and greater risk of depression that is often seen during the winter or rainy seasons.
Blue light emitted by electronics such as phones, TVs, and computers can trick the body into thinking it is daytime. This suppresses melatonin levels, which can make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. It is best to avoid such electronics before bed to allow for healthy production of melatonin.
Those who regularly partake of tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol are at greater risk of melatonin deficiency. These substances all inhibit melatonin production, which can contribute to sleep disruption and other potential dysfunctions.
Get the Most Out of Melatonin
Melatonin supplements are an easy way to improve melatonin levels. This beneficial hormone can be found in a variety of forms including pill, liquid, chewable, or lozenge. Typically, people purchase such supplements to aid with sleep or alleviate jet lag. However, using a high-quality melatonin supplement such as HoltraCeuticals’ Melatonin can also support the various areas mentioned above including heart health, immune function, symptom relief, cancer prevention, and stress reduction. HoltraCeuticals’ product delivers melatonin in the form of quick-dissolving tablets allowing for rapid absorption to provide benefits as soon as possible.
Melatonin may interact poorly with different medications including antidepressants, birth control pills, steroids, and many others. Pregnant or nursing women should not take melatonin. Always speak with a physician before taking melatonin or any new supplement. Always follow the recommended dosage of melatonin as instructed by your physician as excess melatonin may result in unwanted side effects.
Support Your Health with Melatonin
As a natural part of the body’s essential sleep-wake cycle, melatonin has an important role in healthy bodily function. Its many other benefits ranging from stress relief to heart health make this naturally produced hormone an impressive and supportive substance.
If you are interested in improving your sleep quality and resetting your sleep cycle while also bolstering other various aspects of wellness, consider increasing your melatonin levels by using HoltraCeuticals’ Melatonin.
1. Melatonin Dosage: Can You Have Too Much of a Good Thing? Dr. Axe. https://draxe.com/melatonin-dosage/
2. What Is Melatonin? Sleep. https://sleep.org/articles/melatonin/
3. Adjuvant use of melatonin for treatment of fibromyalgia. Hussain SA, Al-Khalifa II, Jasim NA, Gorial FI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21158908
4. Melatonin: Buffering the Immune System. Antonio Carrillo-Vico, Patricia J. Lardone, Nuria Álvarez-Sánchez, Ana Rodríguez-Rodríguez, and Juan M. Guerrero. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3645767/