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Melatonin

How does melatonin improve sleep disorders

Lack of good sleep and melatonin can significantly affect the quality of life. A random research suggests that 30–40% of the world adult population suffers from one mild to a severe sleeping disorder. Today, poor sleep has become a primary cause of insomnia and depression. Sleep problems are also a common challenge among the working class. Sleeping late and waking up early is normally a routine for people with a tight working schedule. Jet‐lag, shift‐work disorder are very common examples.When delayed sleep is practised for too long, it disrupts our sleeping patterns and results in sleeping disorders. This condition is especially to blame for fatigue, lack of concentration and loss of memory especially in adults.

Melatonin is a sleep hormone produced naturally by the body. Unfortunately, melatonin production in the body reduces as human grow older. However, in recent medicine, several studies verify that increasing melatonin intake provides a swift, soothing sleep effect, almost immediately.  This article hopes to explain the human sleeping pattern and how melatonin can help manage sleeping disorders and depression.

Melatonin: How Do Sleep Work?

The process of sleep is not as simple as you think. Sleep is regulated by a variety of chemicals in the body. These processes take place in the brain and they occurring in different stages before placing the individual in a deeper state of sleep. Once these chemicals are gently released into the body, brain activity, eye movement, and skeletal muscle tone begin to decrease. After some time, blood flow to the brain increases while respiratory and heart rates decrease.  Interestingly, melatonin is one of the many chemicals that control sleep. Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the body at night to induce sleep. Its main function is to stimulate the body’s circadian rhythm to function properly.

Circadian Rhythm and Sleeping Disorders

You must have observed that each day, at a particular time (or period), you become more active or start feeling sleepy. It is not a coincidence. Rather, it is your circadian rhythm at work. The phrase “circadian rhythm” refers to a 24-hour cycle of how the body naturally regulates sleep and wakefulness. It is casually referred to as the body’s “internal clock” that schedules sleep patterns as well as other activities like body temperature and eating habit.Unfortunately, some environmental factors can disrupt your circadian rhythm. The environmental factors include circadian rhythm, exposure to light and sleep disturbances associated with illness. This is mostly the reason why people suffer from jet lag and delayed sleep. If sleeping disorders are not properly handled, they may result in severe conditions like insomnia and depression.

Sleeping Disorders: How Melatonin Adjusts Your “Clock”

Over the years, scientists have discovered many substances that are capable of correcting the “circadian rhythm” also known as the body’s internal clock. However, melatonin has been considered “safer” because it is natural, non-toxic and suitable for long‐term use in elderly people. Melatonin has a very limited side effect profile and it is usually remarkably well-tolerated. These studies discovered that taking melatonin has a shifting effect on circadian rhythms. This implies that when 5mg of melatonin supplement is taken orally at night, it induces sleep in about 20–45 minutes. Melatonin is only capable of doing so by stimulating sleep receptors in the brain. Due to this effect, oral administration of Melatonin sends a signal to our biological clock to reset the clock daily.  

Melatonin has been severally tested to improve sleep latency and sleep quality. Due to its efficacy, shift workers and intercontinental travels can rely on oral doses to promote and maintain good sleeping patterns.More so, a notable study by the British Association for Psychopharmacology concluded that melatonin should be the first‐choice treatment in insomniac patients over 55 years.

Conclusion

The potentials of Melatonin are still being explored for its use in several cases of sleeping disorders. For now, taking Melatonin makes a highly safe and reliable treatment for mild sleeping disorders like jetlag, mild insomnia, and sleep disruption. Melatonin lacks negative effects like addiction and dependence. Due to its safeness and sedative power, melatonin is highly recommended for shift workers and elderly adults to maintain quality sleep.

Michael Yeung
Author: Michael Yeung

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