A good night's sleep. It is something we all cherish, and yet it is something that proves elusive for millions of Americans. A consistent loss of sleep can hinder our productivity in the workplace, to say nothing of hindering our quality of life between the time we get up in the morning and when we go to bed at night (presumably at night).
There is help out there in the form of sleep aids, many of which require a prescription, but help is also available over the counter (OTC). One such choice popularized in recent years is melatonin, available as a dietary supplement believed to be helpful in a variety of health areas, with sleep near or at the top of the list.
Studies have shown melatonin to be effective in reducing the symptoms of jet lag and in dealing with some sleep disorders. The New York Times has described melatonin as an especially popular sleep aid for children as well as for helping with sleep disorders among those with attention-deficit disorders or autism.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland at the base of the brain to help regulate our body's circadian rhythm, our internal clock, so to speak. Beginning from the third month after birth, levels of melatonin go into a cyclical pattern that continues for the rest of our lives, per medicalnewstoday.com.
As part of this cycle, in the late afternoon and early evening our body starts preparing for sleep and then shifts gears during the early-morning hours, preparing us for waking and the next day's activities. All that time, the fluctuating release of melatonin plays a regulatory role. As we age, our periods of sleep tend to gradually decline as does our quality of sleep. Moderate use of melatonin can be beneficial in that regard. According to the National Institutes of Health, "controlled clinical trials have shown that melatonin is effective as a chronobiotic in a number of circadian rhythm sleep disorders."
Melatonin can be found at Wonder Labs on-line store where you will find vitamins, herbs, cold/cough/flu OTC remedies, etc. and more. As always consultation with your personal physician or at least a pharmacist is recommended before purchasing and using.
Melatonin is a versatile hormone, whether in its natural state or synthetic form, Some of its other reported potential benefits:
- Relief of some Alzheimer's disease symptoms
- As an antioxidant
- Preventing the damaging effects of exposure to radioactivity
- Helping the immune system as an anti-inflammatory agent
- Protective role in neurodegenerative disease
- Regulate fat cells and perhaps managing obesity
- Lessening the effects of tinnitus