How Melatonin Works
What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by your body. Technically, it is called N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine. Obviously, it needed a nickname. It is of a family of chemicals called acetamides and it is known as a biogenic indoleamine. It was discovered in the 1950s. It’s produced in the pineal gland, and released into your bloodstream to trigger drowsiness. Melatonin responds to the circadian rhythm. This is the cycle of day and night that is created by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Melatonin is preserved across most species and therefore is quite important to life on Earth.
Melatonin is released when your environment gets darker – such as when the sun goes down – as part of your body’s natural sleep/wake cycle. The maximum concentration is found at around 3 to 4 AM. This hormone is what your body uses to transition you to a restful state, so you can get consistent sleep for the essential “housekeeping” tasks your body goes through while at rest. Many bodily functions require coordination with the cycles of time; melatonin assists in that organization.
When You Need To Try A Melatonin Supplement
Most of us need to try a melatonin supplement of some sort. As we age, melatonin production naturally decreases. There is no consensus as to why this occurs. However, elderly insomniacs produce almost no melatonin and using a supplement is often recommended.
The “blue light” emitted by screens from our phones and computers can interrupt your body’s production of melatonin, confusing it into believing that it’s still bright outside. When this happens, your pineal gland doesn’t produce enough, or any of the melatonin your body needs.
The secretion of melatonin is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nuclei which is trained by light cycles.
Additionally, conditions like oxidative stress and inflammation can also disrupt your body’s overall hormone production. Melatonin is actually a strong antioxidant itself. Once produced by the pineal gland it is metabolized by reactive oxygen species into a metabolite that is itself an even stronger antioxidant. As this production occurs at night, it helps the brain to detoxify. The metabolites of melatonin are good scavengers of free radicals.
Melatonin is responsible for assistance in the circadian organization of other systems. For example, melatonin is responsible for immune and antioxidant defenses, hemostasis and glucose regulation; all of these according to the day-night schedule. As melatonin has water and lipid solubility, it is able to exert effects in most cell types and across cell membranes. Interactions between the pineal gland and the immune system are bidirectional and melatonin has a large role in humoral and cellular immunological function. As well, melatonin helps to scavenge free radicals in white blood cells.
Natural Sources Of Melatonin
You can purchase melatonin capsules or gummies, but there are also foods and natural supplements that contain melatonin:
Certain foods contain some amounts of melatonin, like eggs, milk, and fish like salmon and sardines, and nuts. Pistachios and almonds have the highest levels of melatonin, and are also rich in healthy proteins, omega-3’s, and antioxidants.
Herbal supplements, like Tart Cherry Extract, Gogi Berry, and more contain natural levels of melatonin.
However, tart cherry juice can have a bitter taste or may be high in sugars. Taking a concentrated extract is one of the best options for natural tart cherry phytochemical intake.
Shop Well Theory
These new Restful Sleep Gummy vitamins were designed by Dr. Meredith Warner to enhance the benefits of truly restful sleep in several key ways:
It contains soothing ingredients, like melatonin and GABA, to quiet the mind and ease your body’s circadian rhythm into a natural state. Tart cherry extract is included in this formula both for its natural melatonin content, and its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.