Updated on March 3, 2019
A Natural Sleep Remedy
In 1994, Dr. Richard Wurtman finally discovered the mechanism that caused the human body to resort to sleep as a medium of rest. A few laboratories in MIT formulated supplements that helped older people sleep, since melatonin synthesis in their system had grown rusty.
Eventually, usage of melatonin as sleep supplement garnered a widespread fan following. However, Dr. Wurtman himself was averse to self-medication with melatonin.
In other words, since melatonin supplements are easily available at your nearest medical stores, reaching out for them is extremely easy. The higher the convenience, the greater the risk associated with its intake.
Melatonin is secreted by pineal glands which are situated just above the center of the human brain. The center that signals the glands to release melatonin is known as Suprachiasmatic Nucleus or SCN. Blinkers for secretion go up during times when natural light levels decrease, thus asking the body to rest for the day. This is also a reason why melatonin is called ‘Vampire Hormone’.
This is how circadian rhythms work to keep our bodies in sync. The entire process occurs organically. Yet, there are exogenous reasons that impair natural secretion of the hormone. Increased exposure to devices like smartphones, computers, tablets at late hours, hectic work schedules, etc., are the most common causes for impaired melatonin secretion.
In consequence, resorting to supplements is a viable alternative. Controlled doses within 0.3-1mg are the most preferable for the slight impetus that a disrupted sleep cycle requires.
But, one must look around before taking the plunge.
- Using melatonin for a prolonged period of time can lead to your system becoming immune to its administration.
- Excessive amounts of melatonin in the system can lead to hormonal problems, and in consequence kidney and liver issues.
- Also, prolonged use of melatonin supplements might aggravate insomnia by reducing the secretion of melatonin.
Therefore, like every other medicinal supplement, unsupervised medication with melatonin can be a potential danger, in the aforementioned forms.
However, in situations where, a hectic lifestyle is the prime reason for sleep levels to dwindle drastically,you can buy melatonin uk supplements over the counter in most retail outlets or drug stores. Experts normally encourage supplement usage in conjunction with natural means of increasing melatonin. Sole dependence on artificial induction isn’t not only unwise, but also, injurious to health.
Melatonin as a hormone also has functions other than sleep regulation. It also acts as a defense mechanism for human bodies, in the following ways:
- Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant. It combines with the negatively charged atoms of oxygen and nitrogen, and helps control cellular damage.
- Its properties as an antioxidant also help to control migraine pains.
- Research has also shown melatonin to be destructive to cancer causing cells, owing to its ability as an antioxidant.
- It is also helpful in treating obesity in combination with calcium.
So, undoubtedly melatonin as a hormone is a very important one that circulates in our system. Nevertheless, it is equally important for it to remain present in optimum levels in our bloodstream.
While the working of the system might run into a speed bump at a particular point of time interrupting the circadian rhythm, a slight impetus in the form of artificial supplements can help. After all, everyone needs a good night’s sleep to resume work in their top form.
But first, it is imperative to have a correct assessment of what supplement intake might entail. The drawbacks, though few, can be grave.