Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body that regulates the circadian rhythm (day-night) of the body, is produced by the pineal gland or epiphysis.
Melatonin can be ingested in the form of medicines produced synthetically in the laboratory, but there are many foods that contain a small amount of this substance.
Melatonin supplements are available in pharmacies in the form of sublingual pills, tablets or drops.
The sublingual pill (orally) is rapidly absorbed.
Melatonin is used to regulate the body’s internal clock.
It is used for jet lag, to regulate the wake-sleep cycle in people who perform specific types of work (shift work disorder) or to help blind people establish the day-night cycle.
Melatonin supplements can also be used for the inability to fall asleep and maintain sleep (insomnia), such as:
– Sleep Phase Delay Syndrome (SAFS);
-Insonia associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder;
-Insonia caused by some medications to regulate blood pressure, called beta-blockers;
– Sleep problems in children with developmental disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy and mental retardation.
Melatonin supplements are helpful after stopping the use of sedative drugs such as benzodiazepines and to reduce the side effects that occur when you stop smoking .
Some people use melatonin for Alzheimer’s disease, depression , chronic fatigue syndrome , fibromyalgia , migraine and other forms of headache , irritable bowel syndrome , osteoporosis , epilepsy, for menopause and as an antiaging product.
Melatonin is also used against some side effects of cancer treatment (chemotherapy), including weight loss , neuropathic pain, weakness, and thrombocytopenia .
It is also used to calm people before anesthesiaduring surgery.
Sometimes applying products that contain melatonin to the skin is helpful in protecting against sunburn.
Melatonin supplements are used to treat sleep problems (insomnia).
Scientific studies are highlighting other possible uses of melatonin, such as:
– Treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
– Regulation of sleep for people who work at night or do shift work
– Treatment for sleep problems after surgery
– The treatment for chronic headache
– The delay in the spread of cancer (the treatment “Di Bella” includes conjugated melatonin)
– Strengthening of the immune system
– Delay in the aging process.
For the latter still more research is needed.
Melatonin helps reduce symptoms in people who stop smoking.
A single oral dose of 0.3 mg of melatonin taken 3-5 hours after stopping smoking appears to reduce anxiety , restlessness, irritability and depression for the next 10 hours.
There are studies that show that melatonin taken at night before bedtime can prevent migraines or reduce duration.
Some research shows that the production of melatonin can be altered in people suffering from headache .
The main function of melatonin in the body is to adjust the day / night cycles or the sleep-wake cycle.
The lack of light causes the production of melatonin that signals the body to prepare for sleep.
On the contrary, light reduces production by allowing the body to stay awake. Some people who have trouble sleeping have low levels of melatonin and it is believed that a dietary supplement can help you sleep.
Is melatonin a sleep hormone?
Most people think that melatonin is a strong natural sleeping pill.
It actually does not induce sleep and is usually effective only in short-term applications.
It is more accurate to think that melatonin helps the person to sleep at night and to properly regulate the transition from summer to winter when the length of the day is shorter.
Can we take melatonin during the day?
If melatonin is used during the day, it can cause adverse effects. It can cause difficulty falling asleep at night, because in this case the ingestion of exogenous melatonin conflicts with our biological clock.
Melatonin is a natural supplement, can it have adverse effects?
Melatonin taken in doses or at the wrong time of day can cause serious health risks.
If taken during the day can also cause depression.
During pregnancy it is prohibited to take melatonin because it can cross the placental barrier and enter the fetal circulation.
It can not be taken during breast-feeding because it is passed on to the child through breast milk.
Do I Need Melatonin For Sleep?
In most cases, insomnia is not caused by a lack of melatonin, so melatonin supplements may mask the true causes of the problem.
Do I need to continue taking melatonin?
Experts recommend taking melatonin for no longer than two consecutive weeks.
Is dosage important?
In commerce it is usually found in tablet form of 3 or 5 mg of melatonin or in drops.
Further studies show that men need only 150 micrograms (μg) while women have 100 micrograms (1 microgram is 1/1000 of a milligram).
Therefore, the melatonin integration is on average 20-50 times higher than the actual need.
People taking melatonin can use the tablet divided into four intakes only if they are not controlled release.
There are long-acting drugs that release melatonin slowly in a few hours, for example Circadin.
Is melatonin important?
Melatonin is an essential hormone to help the heart and vital organs at night.
It also acts as a powerful antioxidant; while we slept it cleanses the toxins and free radicals of the cells.
Lifestyles that reduce melatonin production can be very harmful since this increases the risk of hypertension , heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Studies show that when women work at night they have a greater than 50% risk of breast cancer and men have a 50% increased risk for colorectal cancer .
How should I take a melatonin supplement?
The first thing you should know about melatonin is its very short half-life. It is active in the system for only about 20 minutes.
Therefore it is important to use melatonin in the most appropriate form for the type of problem: those who have difficulty falling asleep can take melatonin for immediate release.
If you have difficulty maintaining sleep, a prolonged-release tablet is best suited.
The most common side effects of melatonin are:
Other less common side effects of melatonin include belly pain , mild anxiety, irritability, confusion, and depression.
In addition, melatonin may interact with various medications, including:
The correct dose depends on the expected use.
For example, sleep disorders are often treated with 0.5 mg of melatonin per day, while doses of 3 to 5 milligrams a day can be used to treat jet lag.
Those who take a melatonin supplement should choose synthetic supplements because those of animal origin may contain many pollutants.
People who are suffering from lactose intolerance should check if there is any excipients.
It is recommended to avoid activities that require attention, such as driving or operating heavy machinery – for four to five hours after taking melatonin.
-0.3-5 mg at bedtime is the most recommended dose.
-5 mg at 18:00 in children with insomnia
-5 mg at 20:00 in children with developmental disorders (including cerebral palsy, autism, and mental retardation).
-0.5-5 mg bedtime for jet lag on the day of arrival at destination, continuing for 2-5 days.
-2 mg of controlled-release melatonin taken at bedtime for 6 weeks at the discontinuation of benzodiazepines in the elderly with insomnia
-0.3 mg orally 3-5 hours after the last cigarette to reduce withdrawal symptoms nicotine.
Eating foods that contain melatonin improves sleep without the side effects of a drug or synthetic supplement.
Foods have a low concentration of this substance, but they can help you rest better.
Among foods with a higher melatonin content are:
In food should not be lacking foods containing tryptophan which is a precursor of serotonin and melatonin, ie tryptophan the body can synthesize melatonin.
- Valerian for insomnia
- Surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Anti-histamine drugs for allergy