MELATONIN: A SLEEP AID SUPPLEMENT
Sleeping is a natural part of human life. Normally, people work during the day and are sleep at night. However, there are some people who just can’t sleep and spend the whole night staring at the ceiling. This is a phenomenon in people with different ages: having the strong desire to sleep but it is just near impossible due to several reasons such as stress, weariness and some other unknown reasons.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin, with a medical name of N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine is a hormone that handles sleep and the wake cycle. This hormone is produced by our pineal gland located in our brain. Researchers at Yale University first discovered melatonin and its connection to the pineal gland in the late 1950s. Its link to sleep and hormonal influences and its possible link to cancer have been studied since that time. Melatonin became available as a dietary supplement in the 1990s.
What does melatonin do to our body?
The amount of melatonin depends on the light; the level of melatonin decreases during the day and rises at night. When there is light, the level of melatonin is low but when there is darkness, the level of melatonin gets high which signals the body to sleep. The body also has its own timer; the level of melatonin produced in the body depends on our body timer. This explains the reason why we are awake during the day and we feel sleepy or the need to sleep at night. Young people have higher levels of melatonin compared to adults and sometimes, the body of an adult could not produce any melatonin at all that is why they have troubles in sleeping. The discovery of melatonin supplements paved way for scientists to solve this problem in sleeping.
The Benefits of Melatonin
Melatonin as a dietary supplement became accessible in the 1990s and are used to treat jet lag (supreme tiredness, physically or mentally, felt by a person after a long trip) or sleep problems like insomnia or chronic insomnia (inability to sleep).
1. Melatonin can slow or stop the growth of several types of cancer insomnia, delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS).
2. Melatonin is also use as sleep aid after finishing the use of benzodiazepine drugs.
3. Melatonin can reduce the side effects of discontinuing smoking.
4. Melatonin can be used for Alzheimer’s disease, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), tardive dyskinesia (TD), and some related disorders.
5. Melatonin can be used as an anti-aging agent.
6. Melatonin can be used as birth control.
7. Melatonin can be used to calm people especially when they have surgery.
8. Melatonin protects the skin from sunburn.
Warnings and precautions when using melatonin
1. It is safe to use melatonin during pregnancy IF it is use in a lower dose but there is a possibility to be UNSAFE. It may constrain the ovulation and it may cause to difficulty of getting pregnant.
2. It is not 100% safe for children to use melatonin supplements because it affect the development of other hormones and can affect the growth.
3. People should not drive for 4-5 minutes after taking melatonin.
4. Melatonin is not safe for people who have bleeding sicknesses because it might make the bleeding worse.
1. For Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive decline: 1 mg -10 mg daily for 10 days up to 35 months.
2. For inflammation: 10 mg every night for 6 months or 5 mg the night and 1 hour before the surgery.
3. For withdrawal from benzodiazepines: 1 mg – 5 mg daily for several weeks up to 1 year.
4. For cancer; 1 mg – 40 mg daily for several weeks or months.
5. For CFS: 5 mg daily before bedtime for 3 months.
6. For depression: 6 mg at bedtime for 4 weeks.
7. For insomnia in the elderly; 0.1-5 mg 2 hours before bedtime for several months.
Side Effects Of Melatonin
2. Temporary depression
3. Daytime sleepiness
4. Dizziness and irritability
5. Stomach cramps
6. Increase high blood pressure
7. Increased blood sugar