Many people associate melatonin with sleep, but few actually understand the role that it plays in the body. Learning what melatonin does - and how it can help you fall asleep - is the first step in determining whether or not a sleep supplement with melatonin is right for you.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally in the brain. Your blood stream transports it around your body, delivering it to your tissues and organs. Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that protects your DNA from damage and helps regulate your immune system. It’s best known as the primary regulator of your sleep-wake cycle.
What does this mean? Melatonin controls when you fall asleep at night and when you wake up in the morning. Your brain releases it in response to a decrease in environmental light. As dusk falls, Melatonin begins to work its magic, making us feel drowsy and ready for bed. As dawn approaches, Melatonin levels drop and our brain gets ready to wake up.
Common Problems With Melatonin Levels
Melatonin plays a key role in your sleep schedule, so if your melatonin levels are off, your sleep can suffer. Why might your melatonin levels be off? Exposure to light. Irregular sleep schedule. Age. We’d put money on the fact that at least one of these common factors that contribute to difficulties falling and staying asleep impacts you directly.
Your circadian rhythm is greatly influenced by your body’s exposure to light. If light is present in your environment, your body will assume that it’s daytime - regardless of whether it’s natural or artificial light. This means that exposure to the blue light from smartphones, tablets, and computers can actually trick your body into thinking it’s still daytime. This delays the release of melatonin, which makes it harder for you to fall asleep. Try these smartphone tips for better sleep to control your exposure to blue light and help you get higher quality ZZZs.
It will take time for your body to adjust to any changes in your regular sleep schedule. If your sleep schedule is irregular, it will be difficult for your body to know when it’s the right time to release melatonin. Stick to the same sleep schedule every day - even on the weekends. If you’re traveling between time zones, however, it can be particularly difficult to maintain a regular sleep schedule. Be sure to incorporate these simple tips to overcome jet lag and adjust to your new time zone.
As you age, you body will change. What people rarely expect aging to impact is their ability to get a good night’s sleep. By the time you hit 50, you’ll only get around half of the deep sleep you enjoyed in your youth. At 70 years old, the average adult doesn’t get much - if any - deep sleep. Researchers believe that melatonin levels decrease gradually as you age, disrupting your circadian rhythm and causing your sleep quality to deteriorate. This is one of many reasons you might sleep worse as you get older.
When Should I Take Melatonin Supplements?
As you can see, there are many factors that can affect the timely production and release of melatonin in your body. To combat these problems, many sleep-deprived adults turn to melatonin supplements. This can be a godsend for people experiencing sleep difficulties, but it’s important to understand when it’s appropriate to use these supplements.
The golden rule of using melatonin is simple. Less is more. Start off with a small dose of melatonin and wait to see how your body reacts before you increase the dosage. It’s best to take melatonin-containing supplements like Som Sleep about 30 minutes prior to bed. This gives your body enough time to detect melatonin and respond to it by winding down. Taking it too early can make you feel tired before it is time to go to sleep.
Melatonin supplements can be effective for people who are experiencing jet lag or those who do not have typical sleep schedules. Taking a melatonin supplement in either of these situations can help reset your circadian rhythm and get your body back on track.
Don’t forget to talk to your doctor before taking melatonin supplements. A doctor can review your medical history and medications to determine if melatonin may be a good fit for you. Your doctor will also be able to make recommendations regarding the melatonin dosage.
Melatonin supplements can affect people in many different ways. Some people report that it is much easier to fall asleep after taking melatonin supplements, while others also report experiencing a deeper or longer night’s sleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try taking a melatonin supplement so you can finally get the full night of sleep that you deserve.
We include Melatonin in the Som Stack™ to facilitate a smooth transition from wakefulness to sleep. It’s the body’s trigger to begin the natural series of events that leads to sleep.