Melatonin: The Science Of Sleep

in melatonin •  10 days ago  (edited)

[2 min read]

Author: Shahin Alam

Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body that regulates night and day cycles (or sleep-wake cycles). It is also known as “5-Methoxy-N-Acetyltryptamine” and the chemical formula is “C13H16N2O2”.

Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body that regulates night and day cycles (or sleep-wake cycles). It is also known as “5-Methoxy-N-Acetyltryptamine” and the chemical formula is “C13H16N2O2”. It was discovered in 1958. Sometimes it is used as a supplement for short-term treatment such as trouble sleeping from jet lag or shift work etc. It is usually made synthetically in a laboratory. The natural forms can be made from the pineal gland in animals.

Structure Of Melatonin

The supplements are commonly available in pills, liquid and chewable. That’s how it can be absorbed directly into the body. People who have insomnia (means problem of falling asleep and staying asleep) are usually using these supplements. Study says 50 to 70 million Americans are affected by chronic sleep disorders and intermittent sleep problems that are linked to hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression, diabetes and some other chronic diseases. However, the evidence of supplements benefit is still unclear.

How does it work?

The main job of melatonin is regulating the sleep-wake cycles. You know when you fall asleep, your body is filled with much melatonin. Especially in the darkness, it produces more melatonin. So, light decreases melatonin production. That’s why people fall asleep during the night naturally. Actually, melatonin sends signals in your brain to prepare for sleep. Folks who have trouble sleeping have a lack of melatonin production. So, the medicine and supplements mainly work for producing melatonin in your body.  

Research says it may let people with insomnia fall asleep slightly faster. The interesting matter is that some studies have shown that melatonin doesn’t sleep problems at all. Like we said, it is still unclear for not having enough researches to say it helps. So, we can’t take it long how it works really. But, the researchers are still working on it. We hope we will have some clear working facts regarding this soon. They are also studying to see if melatonin can help with Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, high nighttime blood pressure etc.

Side Effects:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Feeling “heavy head”
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal dreams
  • High blood pressure etc.

NOTE: Please consult doctors if you’re thinking about taking any supplement. Especially, if you have any health conditions. THANKS :)

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