A Natural Sleep Aid – Can Melatonin Help You Sleep Better?

Melatonin is an all natural sleep aide. It’s secreted by the pineal gland, a small pea size gland in the center of the brain, as our eyes register the fall of darkness. At night melatonin is produced to help our bodies regulate our sleep and wake cycles. The amount of melatonin produced by our bodies decreases with age. Scientists believe this may be why young people have less of a problem sleeping than older people will. Though we create our own melatonin, you can also buy a Melatonin supplement at most natural health food shops.

It seems that melatonin supplements make it easier sleep and ease jet lag (for long distant travelers), without the hazards or side effects of prescription and over the counter sleeping pills.

Currently, research is being done to also determine melatonin’s effect as an anti-oxidant. Tests are still being done now because there is much still to be learned about melatonin and its effects on the human body.

It’s been reported that some parents are now offering melatonin to children diagnosed with hyperactivity or autism. Some parents claim the effects of the melatonin has calmed and relaxed anxiety ridden children. While this may be true for some children, it’s not the answer for everyone. Check with your pediatrician before starting any supplement programs with your child.

According to wikipedia.com, melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that can easily cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Unlike other antioxidants, melatonin does not undergo redox cycling, which is the ability of a molecule to undergo reduction and oxidation repeatedly. Redox cycling may allow other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, to act as pro-oxidants, counter intuitively promoting free radical formation.

Melatonin, once oxidized, cannot be reduced to its former state because it forms several stable end-products upon reacting with free radicals. Therefore, it has been referred to as a terminal (or suicidal) antioxidant.

The only real way to test the effects of supplemental melatonin is to try it. You can buy melatonin at most pharmacies, drug stores, health stores, and just about any store that sells vitamins.

Talk to your doctor about your sleep deprivation problem first!

Before purchasing any supplements, you will want to look into exactly why you feel the need for this particular supplement. Is your lack of sleep just temporary? Has this been going on for a period of time? It is best to speak to a family doctor or naturopathic doctor about your problem with sleeping to rule out any serious problems before considering a melatonin supplement as a cure all.

A cautionary note: chronic use of melatonin supplements may suppress the body’s own production of the hormone. Nobody knows what might happen if you have high natural levels and take a supplement on top of that. Melatonin can interact with other hormones, which is why, in part, pregnant women and children should never take it. Such drugs as aspirin, beta-blockers, and tranquilizers can affect melatonin levels. Finally, nobody knows what the best dosages are to take. Melatonin pills are not standardized. Thus, you really don’t know what you’re swallowing. That’s why you should really consult your doctor before moving forward.

Like many herbal remedies, melatonin is not regulated by Health Canada or the FDA in American. Make sure to talk to your family doctor or your naturopathic doctor before even buying and consuming Melatonin. It might be an herbal remedy, but you can never be too cautious. If you doctor doesn’t approve of you decision of consuming Melatonin, he/she can prescribe a sleeping medication that will be right with your body’s chemistry.

After all, not all bodies are created equal, so no one pill will work for everyone. Talking with your doctor and experimenting with different ideas is the best way to get a great night’s sleep. You may have to try several different things before you find the right solution or combination for your sleeping deprivation problem, but you and your doctor will find what works best for you.

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