In the US, melatonin has been a miracle cure for years, and can be found in many food supplements and sleep drinks. The hype regarding sleep hormones is increasing here too. The hormone is said to have not only a sleep-promoting effect, but also an antioxidant effect.
This boom is to be treated with great caution, as the actual effect of melatonin has not been sufficiently researched yet. In fact, melatonin is subject to medical prescription in Germany because even a small dose of artificially added melatonin can have major consequences for the natural sleep-wake cycle. More and more melatonin supplements can be bought in drugstores, usually in combination with medicinal plants such as hops, melissa or passion flower.
Melatonin – sleep’s guardian
Melatonin is a hormone which controls the day-night rhythm. Our body produces melatonin, mainly in the pineal gland in the brain. For this, our body needs serotonin – also a hormone – which is controlled by daylight. Small amounts of melatonin are also produced in the intestine and over the eye’s retina. However, the body needs darkness in order to produce melatonin. If too much daylight reaches the retina, this inhibits the melatonin production.
Melatonin docks on to certain binding sites in the brain and on to several immune system cells, and signals that it is time to rest. We get tired as a result of the rising melatonin level. In addition, several body-internal processes are set in motion: the blood pressure drops, as well as the body’s energy requirement and the body temperature. The hormone not only regulates the sleep-wake cycle, but also other important biological functions, such as the renal function.
At night, the melatonin level is up to 12 times higher than during the day. It reaches its peak between two and three o’clock a.m., slowly decreasing towards morning. However, the endogenous melatonin production decreases with age. This can lead to sleep problems and sleep disorders in old age. On dull and dark winter days, the melatonin level might even remain higher during the day. Winter depression, fatigue, and even sleep disturbances can be the result. People who suffer from these symptoms should therefore spend as much time as possible in daylight during winter, and consider a light therapy.
Melatonin as a miracle cure?
Stress, a hectic pace, lack of exercise, shift work, long-distance travel and time difference – all of these can affect the melatonin production and unbalance the natural rhythm of the body. Thus, it is hardly surprising that every third person in Germany suffers from sleep disorders. The hormone is praised by the various melatonin preparations to be a miracle cure, whether taken as a tablet, as juice or spray. By the additional intake of hormones, the disorder is supposed to be cured quickly. For many people racked by lack of sleep, the preparations are a true miracle cure. However, sleep experts sound an alarm here!
The intake of artificial hormones always means an intervention in the entire organism, including the consequences. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, USA) found that taking melatonin tablets, especially over a long period of time, may cause the following side effects: nausea, dizziness and headache. In rare cases, those affected even suffered from depressive moods, anxiety, trembling or low blood pressure.
Healthy tips: this helps you to fall asleep
Those who suffer from sleep problems should first of all take a closer look at their lifestyle and their sleeping environment: for sleep problems often result from an insufficient sleep routine or an unhealthy lifestyle.
During the day you should get sufficient exercise. This not only promotes fitness, but also contributes to a better sleeping behaviour. But beware: exhausting sports should better be done in the morning or afternoon, but not in the late evening.
Eat & Drink
If you eat a lot in the evening, do not be surprised if you find it difficult to fall asleep. Therefore, it is advisable to eat light meals in the evening. Avoid caffeinated drinks and green and black teas after the late afternoon.
Late powernaps can cause you to be wide awake in the evening. It’s better to powernap just after lunch and no later than 3.00 p.m.
Relaxation & Evening rituals
People often surf until just before bedtime. Better you don’t, because the body needs rest to be able to relax. Also, the blue light is considered to be activating and stimulating. Evening rituals, e.g. a relaxing bath, a walk or evening yoga encourage falling asleep and are an ideal evening program.
It’s best to create a pleasant atmosphere in your bedroom, as you will spend about a third of your time in this room – that is as much as a person sleeps in his life. So it’s even more important that you sleep on a comfortable and healthy bed. The SAMINA healthy-sleep products are ideal. They were developed in close collaboration with doctors and physiotherapists and contribute to the regenerative sleep experience.
Healthy bedtime treats
Currently, sleep promoting drinks are very popular. The SAMINA Night Drink is an ideal healthy bedtime treat. The drink is based on 17 different herbal extracts, various minerals and vitamins and is free of artificial melatonin. The sour cherry aroma gives the drink a fresh and fruity flavour. Many years of know-how and knowledge have gone into product development. The carefully selected ingredients ensure the necessary relaxation of body and mind in the evening. The natural melatonin production is supported and promotes restful sleep.
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