Melatonin – what you need to know

I have been speaking to many of my clients and their families about the benefits of melatonin lately. Many of them have heard (or experienced) the immediate benefits of adding a melatonin supplement for their child or themselves just before bedtime. If you haven’t tried it or heard about the results, it can speed up the bedtime process significantly for some children.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by our pineal gland in our brain in the evenings to help us to relax and drift off to sleep. The production of melatonin in our body reduces towards the end of the night (early hours of the morning) to allow us to wake up naturally as well.

Where can I get it from?

Of course, as soon as scientists discovered the hormone melatonin in our bodies and figured out how it contributes to sleep, they began synthetically replicating it to sell it as a supplement. You can buy melatonin in supplement form from a variety of places including pharmacies and online stockists such as iHerb. It is recommended that you consult a GP or your pharmacist before using any supplements for anything longer than a week or two. It can also be found as in ingredient in some sprays and creams.

What to consider?

I would also suggest that you monitor yourself (or your child) carefully for side effects because some people can have different reactions to the same thing. When you are comparing different forms of melatonin consider the milligrams(mg) included in the recommended dosage and the other ingredients in the product you (or your child) will be consuming. For example some sleep gummies have added sugar and other fillers that you may not want to be consuming every evening. It is not recommended that you take melatonin supplements for a long period of time simply because there haven’t been any long-term studies done on melatonin supplements, and as I said get your GP’s advice for long term use.

How can I increase melatonin production naturally? 

You can increase your levels of melatonin naturally by dimming the lights in the house at least 2 hours before bedtime. This is especially useful if you have fluorescent lights or many downlights throughout your house. Limit the use of screens (including TV, devices such as computers, iPads AND phones) for an hour or two before bedtime. Instead, take the time to have a relaxing bath with magnesium salts or play a board game or read a book. Anything with limited light and limited screen time will help your body increase its production of melatonin and help sleep come more easily when it is bedtime. If you don’t yet, get a couple of the lamps that scoop the light upwards and keep it out of your eyes and use these around dinner time and afterwards in the evenings. Of course use a good reading light for any reading time still.

If you’re interested in learning more ways to improve the sleep of anyone in your family, don’t hesitate to reach out to me and we can arrange a consultation that will suit you and your budget.