The hormone Melatonin is part of the circadian rhythm, a biorhythm our bodies are built to follow. The circadian rhythm is our internal clock. Among other things, it tell us when it is time to sleep and when it’s time to get up for the day. By producing Melatonin, our brain regulates this sleep clock. The environmental cues to the brain to produce Melatonin are dark and light. As evening draws near, our brain begins to increase Melatonin production, and as daylight approaches, that production decreases.


Sometimes this naturally occurring circadian rhythm is disrupted or doesn’t fit our schedule, and the result is an inability to sleep when we need to or the need to sleep when we shouldn’t. This is often caused by jet lag, illness, shift work, or even poor vision. Some studies show that as we age, our brain produces lower amounts of Melatonin, which could be why many elderly people struggle to sleep through the night.


Many have found that the use of a Melatonin supplement can help restore this cycle, or adapt it to their needs. I started taking Melatonin when I worked graveyard shifts and struggled to sleep during the day. Even though I tried to trick my brain into thinking it was night by making my environment as dark as possible, I eventually had to look for other means. Over the counter sleep remedies containing antihistamines had opposite effects for me. I would be very drowsy, but my brain activity seemed to increase.


Finally, a friend suggested I try Melatonin. It worked like a charm. I used the sublingual form that came in 1 mg tablets. I would use 1 to start, placing it under my tongue as I went to bed. Within 15-20 minutes, I was asleep. I noticed that I built up a resistance and had to increase my dosage, but I learned to control this by not using it on my days off.


When my graveyard shift days were behind me, I continued to use Melatonin. I have had bouts of insomnia for years, and found that Melatonin helped me through those periods. I also found that when I did not use Melatonin, I craved it, so I encourage it be used with caution and only when necessary.


I know quite a few people who have used Melatonin, but not all had the positive effects that I had. For some, it caused a fuzzy, hung-over feeling in the morning. For others it seemed to have no effect at all. I believe the reactions individuals have can be controlled by the dosage. If you find yourself feeling groggy in the morning, lower the dosage. If it’s not helping, increase the dosage. You may find that any negative effects aren’t worth the benefits. I personally have never had any negative effects from its use.


It is available in the form of a tablet or capsule, a lozenge or sublingual pill, and in liquid drops. Melatonin is considered an herbal supplement and is therefore not regulated by the FDA, but it can be found in health food stores and the vitamin section of many pharmacies. Pharmacies generally only carry the tablet or capsule form, and the liquid and lozenge varieties may be more difficult to find. Recommended dosages vary by brand, but usually fall within the 1-5 mg per day range.


Sleep with Melatrol


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