when I started my blog I was still experiencing major sleeping issues (my whole body was getting worse). I am mentioning this, because I could sleep better after hypnotherapy. But regarding the circumstances it makes sense that this victory wouldn’t last long.
That’s beside my point, so, if you have any trouble sleeping, I encourage you to look into melatonin.
A little insight into melatonin
My (holistic) doctor urged me to use the sleep hormone melatonin to balance my sleep-wake cycle. He thinks, because of increased stress, my body doesn’t produce melatonin enough on its own. And melatonin kind of prepares to body to fall into sleep mode.
Melatonin is a natural remedy for sleep problems and also a great way for shiftworkers or people experiencing jet lags to accustom the body to changing sleep-wake cycles.
It influences the regulated release of hormones that control the metabolism. Not getting enough melatonin is associated with increased risks of obesity, diabetes, depression, heart disease, premature ageing and reduced immune function.
If you ever wondered what effects insomnia has on the organism, you can get a quick overview here:
(Source: CogniTune “Smarter Health” )
Melatonin helps to
- reduce the time it takes to fall asleep
- improve the quality of sleep
- extend the duration of sleep
- support the natural sleep-wake cycle
- support a relaxing sleep for people who work shifts
- reduce jet-lag
- compensate for chronically low melatonin levels
Melatonin has many more functions in the body’s organism:
- Controls heart rate and blood pressure
- Reduces energy consumption
- Lowers body temperature at night
- Strengthens the immune system
- Activates antioxidants enzymes which reduces the ageing process of cells
- Stimulates the secretion of the growth hormone somatotropin during deep sleep phases
- Regulates kidney function and the secretion of cortisol
- Better memory, concentration and mood due to more restorative sleep
- Influences the secretion of various hormones, such as the luteinising hormone prolactin, corticosteroids, thyroid hormones and insulin
- Supports the healing of gastric ulcers
- Helps to combat ‘winter depression’
Great, right? But one issue still lasts. Melatonin is great for falling asleep, but since after taking it the melatonin levels rise rapidly and then drop continually, people experiencing issues sleeping through might take lower dosages throughout the night to ensure better overall sleep.
And this, my loves, is the biggest misconception. My doctor explained to me, this is where almost all people go wrong. The market offers melatonin in dosages from 0.5 to 10 mg per capsule or tablet. More often, dosages of 5mg or 10mg. And that’s way to high!
You should start with the lowest possible dosage, because, as I already mentioned, the body already produces melatonin naturally. Taking melatonin should only support this process.
And I already hear you saying: But every body is different, maybe I nee more?!
True, this is why I recommend starting with a dosage of 1 mg for 2 weeks. If your sleep doesn’t feel like it has improved a lot, take to 2 mg. After 2 weeks, same thing again until you feel energised and properly rested in the morning. But always give the body at least 2 weeks to accustom to the dosage.
Vice versa, if you even feel more irritable, drowsy or tired the next morning, it’s a clear sign the dosage was to high for you and you should immediately reduce it the next night.
If you don’t experience any improvements at all, which you should, even at the lowest dosage, you might have a serotonin deficiency as well/instead. But that’s an easy fix, because you can supplements like 5-HTP.
Consult a doctor or pharmacist if you want to give melatonin to anyone under 18. Pregnant women should generally stay clear of any kinds of hormone supplements like these
Recommendations on when to take melatonin is up to the product you purchase. High quality melatonin comes in forms of sublingual tablets that get immediately absorbed from the oral mucosa into the blood stream.
Ideally it should be taken between 9 and 11pm, because the body’s melatonin production reacts to the decrease of sunlight, which is also the reason why complete darkness proves to be the best environment for good quality sleep.
Melatonin should NEVER be taken during the day or if you want to stay awake, because it can lead to tiredness, drowsiness, prolonged reaction time and reduced mental and physical performance. Vehicles shouldn’t be operated for 3-5 hours after ingestion.
Normally, if taking the correct dosage, you shouldn’t experience any negative side effects. But if you’re taking medication, such as anti-depressants, birth control pills, tranquilizers etc. be sure to consult with your doctor for possible decrease of effectiveness of certain medication.
I started with 1 mg and increased the dosage to 2 mg after 3 weeks on my doctor’s recommendation. I’m still taking 2mg and my sleep has gotten so much better and is still improving!
I’m almost at 3 months now and I might lower the dosage to 1mg soon, because while my organism is slowly recovering itself, I might not need to supplement as high as 2mg anymore. But I trust my doctor on this one and will follow his direction.
Are you going to try melatonin? Or have you already had experiences with it?
Are you interested in more tips about improving overall sleep?
Write me an e-mail or leave a comment below! 🙂
*This post contains affiliate links. The products were paid by myself.
**This post is based on research and personal experience. All products (if any mentioned) are bought and tried by myself if not written otherwise.