Lack Of Sleep Impedes High Performance
Sleep deprivation leads to a decline in alertness, reaction time, and the ability to store memories. Sleep deprivation can also lead to a decrease in immune function and a reduction in the release of growth hormones, as well as the hormones leptin and adiponectin both of which have roles in fat gain and loss.
Consistent lack of sleep is also associated with long-term health issues such as weight gain, stroke risk, and various chronic illnesses. On the other hand, additional research shows that consistently good sleep quality can have a significant positive impact on active performance.
Short Sleep Duration and Weight Gain: A Systematic Review. Source: Penn State University
Even if you are not a regular active athlete, these findings directly translate into whatever you decide to pursue in your daily life higher quality sleep can play a direct role in making you sharper and more resilient in your career, in your role as a parent, or as a friend, etc. Prioritizing sleep and maintaining a consistent sleep cycle might be the slight difference that you need to make a necessary healthy lifestyle change, put in the extra hours for a promotion or take on a new challenge.
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In Brief: Melatonin Explained
Theres a lot of confusion and conflicting advice about melatonin and we certainly dont want to add to that, so well explain what melatonin is and how it works before we talk about how to naturally boost your melatonin levels.
As weve touched on above, melatonin is a hormone that our bodies produce from serotonin.
A great nights sleep requires the right levels of both serotonin and melatonin.
Melatonins job is to regulate our circadian sleep clock, whereas serotonin is responsible for triggering REM sleep.
Melatonin only makes up one part of our bodys sleep function, so taking melatonin on its own isnt going to bring on quality sleep and it isnt going to solve long term sleep problems.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Melatonin Overdose
It is important to note that just because a supplement is unlikely to be lethal, that does not mean that unwanted or troubling side effects cannot occur. Concerning symptoms have been reported with higher doses of melatonin.
Possible symptoms of too much melatonin include:
Because melatonin can affect the cardiovascular, dermatologic, and central nervous systems, those with other conditions may be vulnerable to additional risks. Evidence suggests that melatonin supplementation may induce depression, particularly in people predisposed to or currently experiencing this malady. Research on this topic, however, is conflicting, since some studies have demonstrated the potential for melatonin to treat depression.
People taking blood thinners, like warfarin, and benzodiazepines should be careful, as there is a possibility for interaction. Those with epilepsy should also exercise caution, as melatonin has been associated with increased seizures.
Research suggests that elderly people, who have lower natural levels of melatonin, may be more sensitive to the effects of melatonin supplements. Therefore, older people are encouraged to check with their doctor before taking melatonin and start with the lowest possible dose.
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Alternative Names For Melatonin
Melatonin is produced by various tissues in the body, although the major source is the pineal gland in the brain. Melatonin is produced naturally from the amino acid tryptophan, by the pineal gland at night-time. Night-time is detected by reduced light entering the eyes , and the arrow shows the melatonin secretion signal sent by the optic nerve to the pineal gland once darkness has fallen.
What Is The Appropriate Dosage Of Melatonin
There is no consensus about the optimal dosage of melatonin although most experts advise to avoid extremely high dosages. In studies, dosages range from .1 to 12 milligrams . A typical dose in supplements is between one and three milligrams, but whether this is appropriate for any specific person depends on factors like their age and sleeping problems. You may find melatonin in dosages of micrograms , 1000 mcg is equivalent to 1 mg.
Some people experience daytime sleepiness when using melatonin as a sleep aid. If you experience this, it could be that your dosage is too high. Its advisable to start with the lowest dosage possible and work your way up gradually under the supervision of your doctor.
The AAP advises against dosages above 3-6 mg for children and states that many young people respond to small doses of .5 to 1 mg. Some studies have found benefits to lower doses in adults as well.
Oral supplements can bring the levels of melatonin in the blood to levels much higher than is normally produced by the body. For example, dosages between 1-10 mg can raise melatonin concentrations to anywhere from 3 to 60 times typical levels. For this reason, people taking melatonin should use caution before ingesting high doses.
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Now Foods Liquid Melatonin
Though Now Foods also makes a standard tablet based melatonin supplement, it also offers a liquid version of the same supplement. Each serving contains 3 mg of melatonin dissolved in water, glycerin, and ethyl alcohol, along with some flavoring and sweetening agents.
For most people, a tablet or capsule will be the best choice. A liquid supplement version of melatonin might be a good call if you dislike or have difficulty swallowing pillsfor just about anybody else, the extra cost, lessened dosage accuracy, and inconvenience arent worth it.
Can You Take Too Much
An overdose of melatonin is unlikely but it does have its own side effects. These include:
- excessive drowsiness
- vivid dreams
- changes in blood pressure
A common thing that people misunderstand about melatonin is that the amount you take does not make you sleepier. So if you take melatonin and it doesnt work for you, taking more wont make it more effective. Doctors say taking 1-3 mg an hour before you sleep should do the trick.
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Add Lavender To Your Room
Experts have stated that smelling lavender results in an improved quality of sleep. Whether you buy a lavender scented candle, a lavender perfume, use lavender scented essential oil in a diffuser or even place lavender flowers in your room – the end result is the same.
The link between lavender and sleep quality has been scientifically proven. Hence, this is a sure-fire way to increase melatonin.
How To Choose Melatonin Supplements
Melatonin is sold in the U.S. as a dietary supplement and not as a medication. This is a vital distinction because it means that melatonin products are not closely regulated by the Food and Drug Administration .
A wide range of brands with varying formulations and dosages are available over-the-counter in groceries and drugs stores, but there are important quality differences to look out for. A study that reviewed 31 melatonin supplements found major inaccuracies in dosage information 71% of the tested products were not within 10% of their listed dosage. An incorrect dose of melatonin can have meaningful consequences including a higher risk of side effects and reduced supplement effectiveness.
Some products labeled as only containing melatonin contained impurities or other compounds, such as serotonin, that can pose health risks. Melatonin is often combined with magnesium, valerian root, or other natural sleep aids in supplements, which may further affect the accuracy of dosages and labeling.
Buyers of supplements should take care when shopping and remember that labels like natural, certified, and verified are not standardized or regulated. Although not a guarantee of safety, certification from organizations like US Pharmacopeia , ConsumerLab.com, or the NSF International Dietary Supplement program can offer confirmation that products have been tested for contaminants or mislabeling.
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What Are The Long
Minimal research exists on using melatonin beyond a few months. Therefore, there is much we dont know about its long-term effects. There is not even agreement on what constitutes long-term melatonin use.
Most of the concern around taking melatonin for extended periods centers around its potential to affect reproductive hormones. While the exact mechanism of action is still unclear, some reports indicate that melatonin may inhibit reproductive hormones.
Are Natural Sleep Aids Effective Enough
You probably noticed that some of the natural supplements above had mixed results. Especially when it came to its ability to induce sleep.
But that being said, research has shown these natural ingredients can help sleep habits. And get you the restful night’s sleep you’ve been looking for since 2001.
Or, however many years you’ve gone without catching enough of those Z’s. And what’s even better?
Some of these ingredients can even be used for your furry loved ones. Like CBD for pets or even valerian root supplements.
Either way, finding the right ingredient for you will always take a little bit of trial and error. But luckily, these melatonin alternatives listed above don’t have nearly the amount of side effects as prescription drugs.
Which leads us to the next section perfectly! Gosh, these segways are just making themselves, aren’t they?
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What Foods Do You Get Melatonin From
Melatonin can be found in a variety of foods. Foods rich inmelatonin include many plant-based foods. Nuts and seeds areconsidered to have the highest amounts of melatonin. Anotherexcellent source of melatonin is goji berries. Other fruitscontaining melatonin include grapes, cherries, bananas, oranges andpineapple. In animal foods, fish and eggs are considered the highestsource of melatonin. Melatonin has also been found in oats, rice,olive oil, herbs, wine and beer.
Melatonin concentrations can vary among the same type of food,and even food preparation methods can change its concentration. Norecommended dietary allowance has been established for melatonin.Most food databases do not list the amount of melatonin in food. Eventhough melatonin is found in a variety of foods, there have been veryfew controlled studies on the effects of consuming foods containingmelatonin on sleep quality. More research is needed to determine ifmelatonin in foods can increase melatonin levels in the body.
Boosting Melatonin Production Naturally
Several factors can throw off the bodys natural melatonin production. These include a time change, jet lag, shift work, and even poor vision. And, as stated, it generally decreases in production as we age.
Melatonin supplements are made with synthetic ingredients in a lab or with cow urine.
And though the supplements may have slight benefits, especially for people suffering with occasional insomnia, they dont always offer long-lasting or significant results for those who struggle with sleep on a nightly basis.
There are several foods, however, that can naturally increase melatonin production, eliminating the need for a supplement.
The scientists gave study subjects a variety of fruits and then measured the amount of melatonin circulating throughout the body by looking at 6-sulfatoxymelatonin .
The researchers found pineapples, bananas, and oranges were able to increase melatonin presence significantly.
Pineapples increased the presence of aMT6s over 266% while bananas increased levels by 180%.
Oranges were able to increase melatonin by approximately 47%.
While supplements are often thought of as the natural alternative to prescription drugs, they are made to mimic those things we find naturally in foods.
Other Health Benefits Of Melatonin
As more research is conducted surrounding melatonin, scientists are finding more uses for melatonin and they aren’t just surrounding sleep.
“Regarding health conditions, melatonin can be called a ‘Swiss army knife’ since it can impact every cell of the human body,” Franceschetti says.
However, it is important to note that these uses are very experimental and, especially as a treatment for dementia or as an anti-inflammatory agent, melatonin has not been used in clinical practice.
In a 2017 study that he co-authored, published in the International Journal of Endocrinology, Franceschetti and his team concluded melatonin can act as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage and death.
Free radicals can cause cellular death and lead to various health conditions, and antioxidants can prevent it and that’s where melatonin comes in.
“Because of the ability to neutralize radicals, melatonin can defer age-related dysfunction of several organs, such as the heart, for example,” Franceschetti says.
Some other possible uses for melatonin are:
Are Natural Sleep Aids Safer To Use Than Prescription Sleep Aids
Do you want the short answer? Yes.
Supplements derived from natural ingredients are much safer than any type of prescription drug. But even still, it’s important to always dot your i’s and cross your t’s.
And by that we mean this. Choose quality products from reputable brands. And keep in mind that the FDA does not regulate herbal supplements.
Additionally, it’s best to note that these melatonin alternatives are only intended for short-term use. Even melatonin itself.
So if you have questions about ongoing sleep issues, always consult your doctor first. Then, test out these melatonin alternatives, like our Delta 9 gummies, with as much information about them going forward.
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Sleep Deprivation: How It Impacts The Brain
If melatonin is suppressed, sleep deprivation is a typical consequence. Being sleep deprived leaves your brain exhausted, body hungry, and much more. Particularly when it comes to brain health, sleep is key. When youre tired, your brain cant perform its duties as well. You may also find it more difficult to concentrate or learn new things. Furthermore, the signals your body sends to your brain may also be delayed, decreasing your coordination and increasing your risk for accidents. Long-term, clocking less than seven hours means the brain has less time to clear beta-amyloid, and toxic levels can raise the risk of developing Alzheimers.
Take A Break From Technology
The best way to repair your circadian rhythm, experts say, is to stop using technology for a prolonged period of time. One week was found to be the perfect amount of time to normalize sleeping patterns for a group of participants who were asked to go camping for a week.
You can try to not touch any technology at home for a week but lets face it, in todays world it is nearly impossible to avoid technology at home. Even if you dont want to watch TV, your spouse or your children might and thatll tempt you to watch too.
The best solution is to plan a getaway for the whole family and turn off all the technology. If you must use it, designate only one or two hours in the middle of the day for it. Plus, leaving technology behind is a great way for the family to bond face to face.
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Natural Solutions To Boost Your Melatonin Production
Its best to increase your melatonin production through healthy lifestyle choices before considering melatonin supplementation. Here are some simple suggestions to follow:
1. Get more sunlight:
Increase your daylight exposure, particularly in the morning. Try to take time out of your busy schedule to go for a walk. Daytime exercise and natural light exposure will promote regular and higher melatonin secretion at night time.
2. Develop a regular sleep schedule and get to bed early:
Late nights can alter melatonin production making you drowsy during the day but alert in the evening. During the summer months this may be difficult due to the extended daylight. Melatonin production is increased by darkness, so you may want to consider using black out curtains or blinds in your bedroom.
Can You Overdose On Melatonin
So far, there is no clinical evidence that short-term melatonin use can cause long-term problems in healthy adults. It is important to note, however, that high-quality studies addressing this topic are lacking. The current body of evidence consists mostly of small studies and case reports.
In one study, 12 adult males were administered intravenous melatonin in doses of 10 milligrams, 100 milligrams, or a placebo. There were no reported differences in sedation among the groups, and there were no harmful reactions. A second study gave five patients 1,000 milligrams of oral melatonin for approximately four weeks. While changes in pituitary hormones were observed, no toxic effects were reported.
Between 2000 and 2001, three case reports documented people who were admitted to emergency rooms for suicide attempts involving melatonin, each taking between 60 to 150 milligrams. Two of the individuals also took pharmaceutical drugs and alcohol with the melatonin. Minimal side effects were reported, and each person was discharged without issue after receiving appropriate care.
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How To Boost Your Melatonin Levels Naturally For Better Sleep
1. Eat melatonin rich foods.
- Turkey and chicken
- Asparagus, tomatoes, pomegranate, olives, grapes, oranges, pineapple, broccoli and cucumber
- Grains – rice, barley and oats
- Nuts and seeds – walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, mustard seeds, flaxseed
2. Eat tryptophan rich foods
- Meat – Fish – specifically cod, salmon, trout and tuna, red meat and poultry
- Pulses – chickpeas and green pea
- Fruit and Vegetables: potatoes and bananas
- Grains – oats, rice and quinoa
3. Eat vitamin B6 rich foods
- Meat – Turkey Breast, chicken breast, beef and tuna
- Nuts and seeds – Pistachios, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
- Pulses – Pinto
- Fruit – Avocado
4. Banish screens from the bedroom5. Relax in a nice, hot bathThe information shared in The Restored articles are not intended to replace qualified health care professional advice and are not intended as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your GP or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.