After so many nights in which you can’t sleep, fatigue takes over and, with fatigue, nervousness. Agitation, anxiety about getting into bed, and daytime sleepiness are just some of the consequences of not sleeping.
After a period of insomnia it is normal to lose patience and seek the quickest remedy to rest at night. Many people resort to melatonin. But is it really the solution? We believe not, and here we explain why.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone and for this reason it cannot be taken lightly. On the contrary. This hormone is produced by our body every day – by the pineal gland, to be precise – and serves to regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
So be careful: melatonin does not make us sleep better or earlier, it simply tells our body when it is time to rest and when, instead, to be active. The hormone needs darkness to be synthesized. For this reason, its levels are highest at night – particularly between 2:00 and 4:00 – and lower in the morning when the sun rises.
Does melatonin work against insomnia?
No, melatonin is not used to treat insomnia. And no, it doesn’t even make you sleep better. There are many melatonin-based supplements on the market, but even in this case, don’t abuse them.
This hormone should not be taken lightly, and above all, it should not be taken more than 1 mg per day. Above this quantity, in fact, it is no longer considered a supplement, but a drug. And sleep medications… it’s best not to take them lightly!
What are the side effects of melatonin?
Melatonin is recommended (only for a few days) only to combat jet lag or in the presence of work shifts. We do not recommend using it in all other cases. Because? Because melatonin is not without side effects and can make the situation worse.
If you take melatonin for a long time it is as if you were saying to your pineal gland: “don’t worry, I’ll take care of the melatonin, you may or may not produce it.” This means that when you stop sending it to your body from the outside, it struggles to produce it naturally and your endocrine glands may be affected.
The most common side effects of those who use melatonin for long periods are:
- sleepiness during the day;
- stomach cramps;
On the effects of melatonin, research still has to make many steps forward. Until the consequences of the hormone synthesized in the laboratory are well understood, its use is not recommended:
- if you are trying to conceive a child;
- in pregnancy and during lactation;
- for children;
- if you have diabetes;
- if you suffer from hypertension.
And as if that weren’t enough: is it suspected that taking synthetic melatonin could decrease libido and sex hormone production? Scientific studies are investigating this possibility. Are you always convinced that melatonin is the solution to insomnia?
Melatonin in nature
Unfortunately, the melatonin plant does not exist, but there are foods that contain it even in small quantities. You can find it in cherries, sour cherries, ripe tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds.
There are also plants that are very effective in counteracting sleep disorders naturally, such as Valerian, Escolzia, Hops and Lime.
Unlike synthetic supplements based on melatonin, natural supplements based on plant extracts of these plants can help you fall asleep quickly without inducing addiction or causing side effects: they facilitate the body to regain its natural sleep-wake balance.
Let your body make the melatonin it needs, after all the body is a perfect machine, did you know that?