If you have ever wondered, “how does melatonin work?” Then this guide is for you! This is what you need to know about melatonin and how to get it from your diet.
A rough estimate reveals that 60 to 70 million Americans suffer from lack of sleep. Another survey reports that about 30% of adults in the United States sleep for under 6 hours each night. These surveys show that poor sleep is a common problem for the majority of people living in the US.
Sleep deprivation can cause some serious health consequences even in children. As a remedy, many people use melatonin gummies for kids. Lack of sleep drains your body of energy that is vital to carry out many tasks during the day, thus causing a decline in your productivity. This, in turn, increases the risk of diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.
What is Melatonin, and what does it do?
Melatonin is a hormone made naturally by your body. The pineal gland present in your brain is the place where it is produced. You can also find it in other areas such as your gut, bone marrow, and your eyes.
Melatonin tells your brain that it is time to shut down and sleep. That is why it is taken as a supplement by people who have trouble falling asleep.
The function of melatonin has rightfully earned it the name of ‘sleep hormone.’ It tells your body when to fall asleep. It is taken to recover from insomnia and jet lag. It is even sold in the majority of the countries without a prescription as it is considered a safe drug.
Benefits of Melatonin
Melatonin hormone doesn’t just help you fall asleep; it is also a powerful antioxidant that gives you many other benefits as well. Some of the secondary advantages of melatonin are:
- It treats stomach ulcers.
- It supports eye health.
- It treats heartburn.
- It increases growth hormone in men.
- It relieves tinnitus symptoms.
- It has a calming effect on your body.
- It helps regulate your body temperature.
- It helps regulate your blood pressure.
How does melatonin work?
Melatonin works with the internal clock of your body to tell you that it’s time to sleep. The internal clock is also called the circadian rhythm of your body.
The level of melatonin production of your body rises when it becomes dark. It helps you relax by binding the receptors in your body. Such as binding brain receptors to reduce nerve activity.
Also, melatonin decreases dopamine hormone production so that you do not stay awake. Dopamine keeps you active and alert. The melatonin in your eyes is involved with your sleep-wake cycle.
How Much Should You Take
Although no definite amount of melatonin is recommended, research reveals that people who drink alcohol, smoke, and are exposed to too much light at night need a considerable amount to help them fall asleep.
Too much bright light suppresses melatonin production in your body, making it difficult for you to fall asleep. There are also other factors that cause the reduction in melatonin levels produced by your body. These are listed below.
- Old age
- Lack of physical activity during the day
- Less exposure to natural light during the day
- Drinking too much
If the conditions mentioned above apply to you, you might need a considerable amount of melatonin to normalize your internal clock.
When To Take Melatonin
Current research reveals that the best time to take a melatonin supplement is 2 hours before bed. A survey indicates that it takes only 2 hours for the melatonin that you took to kick in and help you fall asleep.
People who take melatonin 2 hours before bedtime experience a more restorative sleep than those who take it during the day or immediately before bedtime.
Dietary Sources of Melatonin
Melatonin is found in a lot of foods apart from melatonin supplements available. If you want your melatonin levels to rise naturally, you can include the following foods rich in melatonin in your diet. They are:
Fish contains the highest melatonin content among other meat sources. The best choices are oily fish such as sardines or salmon. They also contain valuable omega 3 fatty acids.
Eggs are one of the best among animal sources. Eggs are one of the traditional remedies for treating insomnia due to their melatonin content.
Nuts are the best plant food source containing Melatonin. Almond and pistachio have the highest content.
The best animal food source after fish and eggs is milk. Milk contains compounds and amino acids that play an essential role in producing serotonin which is a neurotransmitter.
Tart cherries juice.
Tart cherry juice contains around half of the quantity of Melatonin used for a good night’s sleep.
Goji Berries are a native plant of China containing high levels of melatonin. They are commonly used for inducing deep restorative sleep.
Some kinds of mushrooms
Melatonin and antioxidants present in edible fungi and mushrooms make it an ideal food for increasing melatonin content in your body.
More Sleep Resources
Sleep is so important for your health! Here are some more resources about how to get more sleep.