Back to Back Issues Page

Sleep Well With Sleepezy

Does Melatonin Help You Sleep?
August 08, 2006

A warm welcome to our new subscribers and a big "Hello" to all our loyal readers :-)

Melatonin - Does it help us sleep?

Melatonin is a hormone that is manufactured by the pineal gland in the centre of the brain. One of the major functions of melatonin is to control the "circadian rhythm" that 24 hour body clock that controls when we feel sleepy among other things.
This is because melatonin release is stimulated by darkness and suppressed by strong light.

Melatonin requires a substance called serotonin (a neurotransmitter). For melatonin production to work properly, serotonin must be present.
And this is where the problems lie for some of us.

Shift workers in particular have a raw deal here. They try to sleep during the day when melatonin levels are low and have to wake up and work at night, they are virtually working against their natural rhythms.
Frequent travellers have a similar problem. Changing time zones often can completely confuse the body clock and can have a chronic effect on sleep patterns.

Women going through menopause can experience hormonal fluctuation and hence a messed up body clock (yeah, don't I know it, I'm right in the middle of this myself - it's horrible!)
Elderly people may be lacking in melatonin as the production of this hormone decreases with age

Even just having the light on at night can affect melatonin release. Our ancestors used to go to bed when darkness fell and wake up with the sunrise, it's a safe bet those guys never suffered with insomnia!

How do you know when your body clock is our of whack? Simple, you'll take ages to wake up in the morning and you won't feel sleepy at night. You'll probably feel half alive during the day too waking up properly when it's bed time!

Can we reset our body clocks by taking melatonin?

Some people have had good results by taking melatonin directly, others have noticed no benefit whatsoever (including me!) 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, (there's no harm in trying it however)

If you're thinking of taking melatonin, start with a low dose (1 mg) and work up to 3 mg. If this doesn't work it probably means lack of melatonin isn't the problem and you're better off trying something else.

What did I do? Several things actually but what worked best was (1) eating tryptophan rich foods (turkey, bananas, eggs...) These form serotonin in the body from which melatonin is formed.

(2) Kacper Potawski's Powerful Sleep. Particularly the sections on "The Chalk Board Method" on page 42 and "Sleeping Pills - The Death Rattle" It's written in an amusing style but the concepts are serious.

Actually I've had Powerful Sleep for a while but I had to brush up on a couple of things - you know how you get lazy......Powerful Sleep is the best sleep book ever written. I'm not saying that because I'm promoting it I'm promoting  it because I've used it and it's helped me beyond measure.

Email me on iseowen at bigpond.com (replace at with @ ) for a bonus if you purchase Powerful Sleep. This is in addition to the bonuses already provided with the program.

Article of the month

More information on melatonin here  Melatonin - help your sleeping

Next Month

We'll have a look at sleep problems due to an overactive mind and I'll give away a report on an simple exercise that helps deal with this. I can't put it on the site because of copyright.

 The March of Dimes is a leader and pioneer in the fight to save babies. We have an outstanding track record of success and we are prepared to accomplish even greater things in the future to solve the problems of prematurity, birth defects, and low birthweight. Help us save babies – donate today. Details on the baby sleep page.

As always if a link doesn't work, copy and paste into your browser.

Until next time, my very best wishes to you.

Wendy

www.just-natural-skincare.com (new)

Back to Back Issues Page