More than sleep: Enjoy these 5 health benefits of melatonin and discover how to naturally boost your levels
(NaturalHealth365) When you hear about melatonin benefits, the first thing you probably think about is sleep. But did you realize that melatonin can help you in far more ways than just boosting your night’s sleep?
In this article, we’re going to talk about the many benefits of melatonin, how to boost your levels, what melatonin overdose looks like, what the research says about melatonin for kids. We’ll also answer a common question we hear about this popular supplement: how much melatonin is too much?
Melatonin benefits that go way beyond better sleep
Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by your body in the pineal gland within your brain.
The levels of melatonin in your body rise and fall throughout the day in accordance with your biological clock, aka circadian rhythm. Concentrations in the brain are highest at night, with a peak around two a.m. At this time, you can expect to have about 10 to 100 times more melatonin in your system than during the day!
Melatonin essentially helps you relax and become sleepy.
But studies have also found this compound can help in other ways, too:
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- Regulates mitochondria function, suggesting a potential disease-protection benefit
- Helps reduce symptoms of jet lag
- Promotes anti-aging thanks to its powerful antioxidant capacity
If you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s possible (though not yet conclusively proven by research) that melatonin supplements may help you fall asleep faster and get a better night’s rest. Of course, we can never forget the importance of reducing our exposure to EMF pollution – especially at night – for a better night’s sleep, as well.
But, how much melatonin is too much? It can be hard to say. In the United States, there aren’t any specific dosages, but standard suggestions range from 2 mg to 5 mg about 1 to 2 hours before bed (taken with food).
If you’re new to melatonin and interested in trying it, check with your integrative physician (first) and start with a smaller dose before gradually building up until you get your desired effects. This helps to ensure you’re responding to it properly and avoid the unlikely but annoying issue of melatonin overdose – which can lead to symptoms such as crankiness, anxiety, irritability, dizziness, upset stomach, headaches, joint pain, and diarrhea.
A word of caution for parents: Supplementing melatonin for kids has been studied before, and some data suggests it can help kiddos fall asleep. But these studies are short-term only, meaning the long-term effects of melatonin for kids is less known.
Your best bet is to check with your pediatrician and avoid giving your child melatonin for a long time.
Boost your melatonin levels for better health – here’s how
In addition to supplements, you can also make sure you’re getting enough sunlight exposure during the day – especially in the early morning hours. This helps regulate your circadian rhythm – which is closely tied to melatonin regulation.
For example, take your first superfoods drink out for a morning walk.
Additionally, reduce your exposure to light at night, especially (artificial) blue light emitted from digital devices like cell phones, laptops, and televisions. Too might nighttime light can throw off your body’s circadian rhythm and “trick it” into thinking it’s time to stay awake instead of power down.
This (along with stress and other issues) may leave you with chronically depleted levels of melatonin.
So, about an hour or so before bed, dim the lights in your house, power down your digital devices, and do something relaxing instead like reading or playing music. And if you really can’t imagine a relaxing evening without your favorite television show or social media feed, do your melatonin a favor and install a blue-light blocking app or filter.
Lastly, certain foods can help boost your body’s natural production of melatonin.
Tart cherries and foods rich in an amino acid called tryptophan provide the building blocks needed to create the melatonin hormone. For a better night’s sleep, be sure to eat some organically-raised eggs, turkey, chicken liver, chickpeas, bananas, oats, honey, pumpkin seeds, spirulina or almonds.
Sources for this article include: