Why take melatonin tablets?
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the human body to regulate biorhythms, wakefulness cycles and sleep cycles. In fact, it is he who regulates the transition to the deep phase of dreams, due to which he is often called the “sleep hormone”. Melatonin affects the immune and hormonal systems, and its synthesis directly affects the levels of cortisol, testosterone, serotonin and dopamine¹.
Among other things, melatonin acts on the hormonal and immune systems of the body, and also indirectly affects mood, since its synthesis is closely related to the synthesis of the hormone of joy of serotonin. Regular intake of melatonin in tablets is often prescribed to people after 50 years, because its natural production decreases with age, creating problems with sleep.
Among other things, the benefits of daily intake of melatonin preparations are noted for people older than 50-55 years. Since the natural production of sleep hormone decreases with age, a low level can negatively affect the functioning of various body systems (including high cortisol), significantly accelerating the onset of aging². In this case, you can drink melatonin in low dosages every day.
The relationship of biorhythms with the level of melatonin
The body of each person has clear biorhythms of sleep and wakefulness regimes, changing depending on external conditions, the most significant of which is the brightness of the surrounding light. In the dark (in the evening, in fact), the hormone melatonin begins to be produced, thus preparing various body systems for a quick retirement.
It is the production of melatonin (and its sufficient level in the blood) that are the main signals of the transition of the brain to the deep phase of sleep. With a low level of this hormone, sleep becomes superficial and “non-restoring,” and insomnia appears. In addition, inadequate levels of melatonin production often lead to poor mood and the development of depression.
When is melatonin produced?
As we noted above, the concentration of melatonin in human blood has a noticeable circadian rhythm associated with daylight hours. In healthy people, the maximum production of sleep hormone is observed between midnight and 5 o’clock in the morning - this period accounts for up to 70% of the total production of melatonin by the body (approximately 20-30 micrograms).
At the same time, the natural production of sleep hormone melatonin is stopped not only by bright daylight, but also by the use of electronic devices with a luminous screen. That is why people with chronic insomnia are strongly discouraged from using a computer, mobile phone, or even watching TV 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Melatonin in food
Natural melatonin is found in some foods (see table below), but its amount is negligible and is not able to have any noticeable effect on sleep. For example, in the richest melatonin food product, in walnuts, it contains about 300 ng (or 0.0003 mg) - while the minimum dosage of melatonin in tablets is 1 mg.
Since melatonin acts as an antioxidant in food products, it performs the same function in the human body. In fact, during sleep, it penetrates the tissues and organs of the body, successfully neutralizing the effects of oxidative processes and protecting DNA (2) . In simple terms, melatonin is an important tool in preventing the aging of the body.
Melatonin Content in Products
|Food product||Melatonin content per 100 g|
|Mustard seeds||190-220 ng|
|Ginger root||140-160 ng|
|Pearl barley||80-90 ng|
|Oat groats||80-90 ng|
Melatonin deficiency and the development of depression
The site of melatonin production in the body is the pineal gland (pineal gland located in the brain). In addition to the sleep hormone, the pineal gland also synthesizes serotonin, called the hormone of good mood. At the same time, the same substances are the source of raw materials for both hormones - insufficient synthesis of melatonin is always associated with insufficient synthesis of serotonin.
In turn, a deficiency of serotonin leads to a slowdown in thinking processes, a deterioration in mood and the development of depression. Traditionally, a lack of serotonin is treated with antidepressants, but before you start taking them, it is much safer to try melatonin in tablets - there is a great chance that this will help solve the problem.
Where to buy melatonin tablets?
Knowledge of the chemical formula of melatonin allows you to release it in the form of tablets. Moreover, in most countries of the world (including Russia), melatonin is sold without a prescription, since it is considered as a dietary supplement, and not a full-fledged drug. The most popular brands of melatonin in the Russian market are Melaxen, Sonnovan and Circadian.
When buying tablets with melatonin, first of all pay attention to the dose of the active substance - start with 1 mg, proceeding to 5 mg exclusively in case of inefficiency of lower doses. Melatonin is taken about 10-15 minutes before bedtime, on an empty stomach, while in bed with dim light. It is important to remember that bright light destroys its effect.
Why take melatonin?
Often, melatonin in tablets is the best way to treat a jet-leg - a sharp change in time zones after long flights. In fact, in this case, a manual reconfiguration of sleep and wakefulness modes is performed, and the brain receives a direct signal that it is time to sleep - regardless of what time the body’s biological clock “shows”.
Melatonin is also recommended for use by people with moderate forms of insomnia and women during menopause - in both cases, the sleep hormone will help to fall asleep faster, and improve the overall quality and depth of sleep. That is why melatonin in tablets is one of the main drugs for "biohacking" - optimizing the body using dietary supplements.
Melatonin: contraindications and harm
In rare cases, taking melatonin in tablets can disrupt the ovulation process, so this substance is not recommended for women who want to become pregnant (3) . Since the hormone melatonin is able to make a person a little sleepy and inhibited, its use is contraindicated in driving vehicles or when working with moving mechanisms.
Among other things, melatonin tablets are not recommended for people suffering from any kind of internal bleeding (including stomach ulcers), as well as for people with high blood pressure or for diabetics taking drugs to normalize blood sugar levels. Co-administration of melatonin and antidepressants may also be harmful.
Sleep hormone melatonin is the most important regulator of body biorhythms. In healthy people, melatonin is produced primarily at night, contributing to the transition to the deep phase of sleep. Reception of melatonin in tablets can help fight against mild forms of insomnia, as well as facilitate acclimatization with a sharp change in time zones.
Scientific sources :
- Melatonin and Sleep, source
- Foods With Melatonin, source
- Melatonin: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning, source