Monday, November 16, 2020

Melatonin And Sleep.


I know we've all had one of those nights where we try to sleep but can't so we take melatonin because someone you know has recommended it.  I've got friends who say I should take it every night and others who tell you it shouldn't be taken every night.  I use it occasionally but not often because I hate relying on anything to help me sleep.

First of all, melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland found in the brain.  Normally, this hormone is responsible for when you sleep and when you wake-up. Your body begins producing melatonin when the sun sets so around bedtime you are ready to sleep and then the amount decreases around sunrise so you wake up.

Unfortunately, when one is exposed to too much light, it can interfere with the production of melatonin in the body. The modern household has lots of light that is high voltage and almost imitates day. Between all the lights, the devices, street lamps, lights in the yard to protect us, we are exposed to enough light that many of us have difficulty getting to sleep at night.  

One can take a supplemental dose to help get to sleep especially if one has trouble getting to sleep at night.  It can also be taken to help get over jet lag, or sleep when a person works odd hours. It is recommended that one take melatonin one to two hours prior to going to bed.  

Although, most of the melatonin sold on the market is synthetically made, there are some possible  side effects  such as dizziness, headaches, nausea, or sleepiness when taking melatonin and it is recommended that people should not take it without consulting a doctor first because it can interact badly with certain meds. Furthermore, it is said to be safe to take melatonin every night for a short time but one should not use it for months.  

Rather than relying on melatonin, there are things one can do to help make it easier to sleep.  For instance, replace some of the light bulbs with ones that are lower wattage and begin using these about two hours before yo want to go to bed.  The lower wattage signals your brain that it is getting darker outside and your body begins to produce more melatonin.

In addition, be sure to exercise at least 30 minutes each and every day along with making sure you get outside to get a dose of natural sunlight. If the exercise is of a vigorous nature, plan to do it earlier in the day to give time for the body to calm down. One should also take a nice warm bath or shower to help relax before bed time.  If you are a person who needs a quick nap during the day, make sure it is no longer than 30 minutes in the early afternoon.  If a person takes a nap too late in the day, it can interfere with getting to sleep at night.

When you are getting ready for bed, put your electronics to bed so you have less exposure to blue light and you don't get lost checking your e-mail or social media.  In addition, make sure your bedroom is cooler than the rest of the house, preferably in the 60 to 65 degree range.  If the room is too warm, you won't sleep as well.

Try to only sleep in your bed rather than watching television, listening to music, or reading, otherwise you might find it harder to relax.  Finally, look at trying some meditation so as to calm your mind and body.  It is hard to sleep when your mind is active.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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