What is Melatonin and Where Does it Come From?
We all go through times where we can’t fall asleep. Whether it be related to a stressful event, health disorder, or a drastic change, there are a variety of factors in our daily lives that can cause us to have poor sleep. Though there are those lucky few who fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow, the reality is many of us struggle with getting a full night’s rest. Some people have trouble falling asleep, while others wake up in the middle of the night tossing and turning. To combat this issue, some people turn to heavy prescription or over the counter sleeping aids. Others try to use herbal remedies, like lavender honey teas to cure their sleeplessness.
Although there are many remedies to help induce sleep, there’s been one supplement in particular that has been taking the health world by storm: melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone that your brain produces. Though it has a variety of functions throughout the body, it is best known for controlling our circadian rhythm. This is the cycle that tells your body when to sleep and when to wake. If there is something off balance in your body or the environment around you, this cycle may not work just right, which results in sleep issues and disorders. In some people, external sources of melatonin can help get that cycle back on track. It can be found in certain foods, such as cherries, bananas, and oats. However, most people turn to a melatonin supplement. These can be found in most health and supplement sections in grocery stores.
Potential Benefits of Melatonin
Regardless of how you take it, melatonin can have many benefits. As mentioned before, it can be a solution when it comes to sleep disorders, including insomnia. Your body releases different hormones throughout the day. If this cycle is somehow thrown off, then it can wreak havoc on your body, mood, and health. Melatonin can help regulate and balance this cycle. It is also a great addition when you travel, especially if you plan on changing time zones. Take it to help you fall asleep on a long flight or to get over jet lag.
Everyone knows melatonin is useful for sleep, but not everyone is aware of its abilities to regulate and help the body outside of resting. It plays a role in a well-functioning immune system. For example, studies show that it can help reduce inflammation. Inflammation is an essential component of your immune system, but too much of it can contribute to poor health. Melatonin is also a potent antioxidant, which is key to helping prevent certain diseases and health disorders. It also has the ability to regulate fat cells and help the body heal damaged tissue. It is also used medically to manage chronic pain conditions, treat depression and even Alzheimer’s disease.
As you can see melatonin has the potential to do great things for the body. But keep in mind that it works differently for all people and if you are having severe sleep issues, consult a doctor.