What's the Deal With Melatonin

Melatonin truly is one of the miracle hormones that the human body produces and has multiple benefits. It is a major antioxidant that goes after 2 of the most dangerous free radicals, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radicals that can cause poor health.
People who work at night in lighted areas, can often have low levels of Melatonin; making it difficult for them to sleep. When they leave work, it is daylight and their bodies are still not producing enough of the hormone. Remember, melatonin is primarily produced when there is darkness or very little light. So, if someone spends a greater portion of their day in daylight, their melatonin levels will be reduced.

Some people have had good results by taking melatonin directly, others have noticed no benefit whatsoever If you're an older person or a shift worker, melatonin may be the way to go. For younger people I would say probably not.

Helping with sleeping and waking up is the chief benefit of melatonin. When this hormone is released in higher levels in the body, it triggers readiness of sleep. During the night, levels remain high. But as dawn approaches, the level of melatonin decreases steadily. This is how a healthy body works, but some people suffer from insomnia because their body clock, or their circadian rhythm, isn't functioning properly.

Melatonin transmits signals to the body by chemically causing drowsiness, lowering the body temperature causing sleep. The production of melatonin is reduced in light but increased during the night or in darkness, it is thus considered a darkness hormone. The brain reduces the melatonin production during the day and helps induce sleep at night by increasing the production of melatonin.

The proper melatonin dosage varies greatly from person to person. It is generally recommended that a person begin with a small dose (around 1mg) and work their way up to larger dose if necessary. Pills are commonly available in doses ranging from 1mg to 3mg.Some studies suggest that smaller doses (for example 0.3 mg as opposed to 3 mg) are equally effective as the larger doses. Studies conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found that melatonin supplements have three to ten times the amount needed to facilitate sleep.

Melatonin overdose is a lot dangerous and the patient should at all times be vigilant when it is about the dose. Another research has shown that melatonin overdose, besides for being very vicious for the health, it also has no effect on those who take it to fight their sleeping disorders. Regularly, 0.3 mg of melatonin has proved to be too successful and any more than that can only lead to complications.

Ramelteon, a prescription drug similar to but more powerful than natural melatonin, is an alternative. But its track record at keeping people asleep at night is mixed. Circadin, a time-release formulation of melatonin, is available by prescription in several countries outside the US. But in studies of this drug, too, improvements on sleep maintenance have been shown to be modest.

It is a relatively safe drug and can be purchased over the cover at many health food stores and in your pharmacy. The few side effects that have been reported from taking melatonin are headaches, nausea and excessive drowsiness. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take melatonin because the effect of melatonin on babies and unborn children is not known. It is also recommended that people with autoimmune diseases should not take melatonin.

It may lower seizure threshold and increase the risk of seizure, particularly in children with severe neurologic disorders. However, multiple other studies actually report reduced incidence of seizure with regular use of it. Hence, this remains an area of controversy.