Melatonin: Is Supplementing Necessary For a Good Night’s Sleep?
Today, people equate melatonin with restful sleep because it helps control your wake and sleep cycles. If you can’t fall asleep then it would make sense to supplement with it, right? The short answer is yes, that would make sense. But hold on, not so fast. You may want to think twice about reaching for a bottle if you knew more about it.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that your body produces and is secreted by your pineal gland in your brain. It helps regulate your sleep and wake cycles. As you age, your melatonin production decreases and so it’s pretty common for people to start supplementing. It’s also become second nature to pop a few pills when traveling to lessen jet lag or even give it to your kids to help them sleep.
Unfortunately, the melatonin created in a lab is not even close to the melatonin produced by our bodies. What ends up on pharmacy shelves is processed and synthetic, two things you want to stay away from. The hormone is actually considered one of the most questionable supplements on the market, with unfounded and incomplete research.
What’s more, the U.S. is the only country where melatonin is available as a dietary, over-the-counter supplement!
Long-term usage can alter your natural hormone levels in your body. Since your body regulates your melatonin levels , if you supplement with it, you are signaling to your body to stop producing more. Over time, your body will decrease the amount of melatonin it naturally produces.
This is particularly troublesome with children whose hormone levels are fluctuate, especially during puberty. And really, supplementing with melatonin will only help if your body doesn’t produce enough. But it has never been established exactly how much would be good or safe for children or adults. The dosages are not exactly regulated.
Tips to help you sleep better:
No gadgets. All of your devices (cell phone, TV, computer, etc) emit a blue light that inherently keeps you awake and can seriously disrupt sleep. Removing these items from your bedroom or keeping your pre-bed screen-time to a minimum can help your body to settle into sleep.
Take a bath. While the warmth of the water is relaxing on it’s own, it’s the movement from warm to cold that actually signals to your body that it’s time to rest. (Our temperature lowers while we sleep.) Add in some lavender essential oils for the full spa experience!
Use blinds or an eye-mask. Complete darkness cues your brain to produce melatonin, signaling that it’s time for sleep.
Maty’s Baby Chest Rub. Many people have used our rub on their little ones to help them fall asleep with ease. And don’t forget it’s great for parents, too!
Listen, taking melatonin once in awhile may not kill you, but why mess with your natural production of it? Here at Maty’s, we believe in only using whole foods to support and promote healing– especially when it comes to children. You’ll notice that instead of melatonin, we use nutmeg, chamomile, and lavender to calm and soothe.