Melatonin: What is It and Do You Need It?

Filed under: Sleep

Recently, you might have heard about melatonin from a friend or co-worker. This person probably told you that melatonin helps them sleep at night, and that they’ve been feeling better since discovering it. But, naturally, you have questions: What is melatonin, anyway? Is it safe? Would it work for me?

What is melatonin? Melatonin is a naturally-occurring substance in the body. Produced by the pineal gland in the brain, the hormone signals to your body that it’s time to sleep. Decreasing amounts signal the opposite; it’s time to wake up.

For most of us, our brains begin to produce more melatonin at night, after the sun goes down.

But for many people, melatonin levels are disrupted, due to lack of exposure to natural light, jet lag or working night shifts. We recently discovered that exposure to radiation emitting from wireless technology such as cell phones, routers and Wi-Fi systems is having negative impact on natural production of melatonin. The good news is that people often find relief by taking melatonin supplements.

Is melatonin safe? Generally speaking, melatonin carries fewer side effects than prescription (or even other non-prescription) sleep aids. Most people respond well to melatonin, although they might need to experiment just a bit to identify their appropriate dosage. If you take too much, for example, you could experience more trouble waking up in the morning, or other problems such as a short depression, headache, or stomach discomfort. Too little might not be completely effective.

Melatonin is safe for most people, but they can interact with the following drugs:

  • anticoagulents (blood thinners)
  • immunosuppressants
  • some drugs used to treat diabetes
  • birth control pills

If you use any drugs in those categories, talk to your doctor before adding melatonin to your regimen.

Will it work for me? Research has shown that melatonin is quite effective for many people, particularly those with insomnia. Many night-shift workers report success as well. Of course, in some people a multi-faceted approach is necessary, such as eliminating other factors that prevent proper sleep, dietary changes, and so on. If you’re suffering from lack of sleep, frequent waking, or other sleep disturbances, melatonin could very well provide the help you need.

Reducing your exposure to wireless technology and Wi-Fi, especially at night, could make a huge improvement in your natural production of melatonin and result in a better night’s sleep.

Reach out to me for more information about melatonin and ways to reduce the negative health impact of exposure to wireless technology.

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