Did you know that the human body has a hormone called melatonin that regulates your sleep-wake cycle? If its levels go haywire, you start having sleeping problems, and many body functions start to get disrupted. Read this article to learn about melatonin and how to prevent its imbalance.
What is melatonin? Where is it produced?
- Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland that is present in our brain and this hormone helps us to get a peaceful sleep.
Function of Melatonin:
- Melatonin’s basic function is to maintain the circadian clock. This is a natural human body clock that regulates your sleep and wake cycle throughout the day and is present in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCH) area of the brain. Usually, it is triggered by light and dark patterns (of day and night) to maintain the sleep and wake cycle.
- When darkness happens, SCH sends information to the pineal gland to release the melatonin hormone to induce a restful sleep and when light falls on the body SCH again signals the pineal gland to block the melatonin hormone to make you wake up.
Diseases caused due to imbalance
People who have low levels of melatonin have diseases such as:
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration & Cataracts
- High Blood Pressure
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) & Autism
- Cancer (e.g., breast, prostate, brain)
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Sleep Disturbances
- Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome
Low levels of melatonin can increase if you take melatonin in the form of food and medications. Taking a warm bath, getting sunlight, and limiting the use of artificial light help you to maintain the normal levels of melatonin hormone.
Elevated levels of melatonin make it harder for you to sleep because it disturbs the circadian rhythms. This also makes you feel groggy and gives you nightmares or extremely vivid dreams at night. You might experience other side effects too, including:
- Joint pain
Some people also experience high blood pressure. Medications can lower your melatonin levels, but they can affect your natural body melatonin levels by making them down. So, it is not recommended to use medications unless your doctor prescribes them.
Prevention of hormonal imbalance Sometimes, certain natural processes create fluctuations in the hormones such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. But there are some steps that can help you maintain your melatonin levels in your body, including:
- Try to keep yourself fit. Eat healthy food, exercise regularly, and sleep on time.
- When sleeping make sure you close all artificial lights in your room. Because darkness triggers SCH to signal the pineal glands to produce melatonin to make you fall asleep.
- Avoid stress and anxiety because it has negative effects on the hormones that make you less likely to fall asleep. Try to learn and apply mind relaxation techniques.
- Avoid the blue light on your smartphones, computers, and televisions, at least 1 hour before going to sleep. Because blue light makes the SCH feel its daytime and blocks the release of melatonin.
- Avoid caffeine, especially at night and in late evenings because caffeine affects the production of melatonin. Caffeine stays in the body for around 7 to 8 hours until our body excretes it out in the form of urine. So, it is better if you take caffeine or caffeine-made products only in the morning.
- Avoid alcohol because it influences your biorhythm. It makes your external stimuli more sensitive which is bad for your overall sleep.
Melatonin hormone is particularly important for your sleep. And sleep is important for your body because while you sleep your body repairs damaged tissues and cells.
Want to know how to treat your melatonin hormone for better sleep? Call us at 718-DORAL-55 to get a free consultation.