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What is Melatonin and What Does it Do?

Posted on May 09 2017

Melatonin is a hormone found in the body naturally. It regulates your sleep and wake cycles. At night, your body produces more melatonin than during the day. The production of this hormone signals your body that it's time for sleep.

The body's ability to naturally produce Melatonin reduces with time, starting at a relatively young age.

Whether or not you should take a Melatonin supplement depends on your lifestyle.

People who probably don't need to take melatonin are those who have no trouble going to sleep and remaining restful throughout the night, have no trouble waking right away in the morning, likely aren't around blue-light technology such as computers, tablets, or smartphones, and/or work outdoors in the sunlight for most of the day.

People who might benefit from taking melatonin are those who find it difficult to get to sleep even when tired, have trouble getting a good night's rest, have trouble waking right away in the morning, are around computers, tablets, or smartphones for much of their day, and/or primarily work indoors or travel frequently.

Because light signals your body to stop producing melatonin, the use of blue-light devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones actually signals to your body that it's time to awake rather than sleep. For this reason, many people have difficulty getting to sleep even when they feel tired. 

If you find yourself in this category, the best advice might be to stop using these electronic devices at least an hour before you want to go to sleep. Doing something calming or relaxing such as reading a good book (not an eBook) or washing your face with a hot towel will likely improve your situation. Scents such as eucalyptus and mint have been shown to help soothe and induce a relaxed state of mind.

If you find that this change isn't enough or if you feel that you need to enhance your relaxation, taking a low-dose melatonin supplement might be a good option.

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