Most of us know melatonin as the hormone that helps us get a good night’s sleep. Produced by the pineal gland, melatonin supports our circadian rhythms and alerts us when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up.
While melatonin is incredibly important to regulating our sleep cycles, it also does a lot more for our health. From improving our sleep and reducing our stress to slowing the aging process, boosting immunity, and even preventing cancer, melatonin can be used to treat a wide range of diseases and disorders.
Melatonin and Sleep
Sleep is essential to good health. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from a variety of health problems and illnesses including obesity, diabetes, autoimmune issues, and more. Unfortunately, as we age we produce less melatonin, which often leads to sleep disturbances, thus increasing the likelihood of disease. Supplementing with melatonin has been shown to reverse these issues.
The best melatonin protocol for improving sleep is to start by getting regular sun exposure during the day to balance circadian rhythms. One hour before bed, turn off all electrical devices including cell phones, laptops, televisions, internet routers, and other sources of electromagnetic frequencies. Create a completely dark room by eliminating even minor light sources like night lights if you can. Total darkness increases the release of melatonin and stimulates your desire for sleep.
If these natural methods are unsuccessful, taking a melatonin supplement can help, but don’t overdo it. Taking too much can keep you awake or cause next-day drowsiness. Start at a low dose of .25 mg and increase it as needed, up to 3 milligrams, until it helps with sleep.
Melatonin, Stress, and Aging
One of the most remarkable benefits of melatonin is that it is a powerful anti-stress and anti-aging supplement. Research by Dr. Walter Pierpaoli, a foremost expert in melatonin research, suggests that melatonin can help our pineal glands remain balanced, youthful, and productive rather than slowing us down as we age. Melatonin can also help us better combat the effects of stress, which can cause us to age both physically and mentally.
Melatonin helps us fight stress by regulating our levels of corticosteroids, or stress hormones. When these hormones remain unchecked and levels become too high, they can increase our risk of diabetes and obesity and damage our hearts and bones, as well as our brains and immune system. By increasing melatonin levels, our bodies will become less vulnerable to these stress effects. Melatonin also helps our endorphins perform better, lowering levels of pain and creating a sense of wellbeing.
Melatonin, Disease, and Immunity
Besides the benefits as described, melatonin is an essential hormone for immune support and disease prevention. As we age, our T-cells, which regulate our immune response and fight disease, become less effective; this in turn breaks down our immune systems. According to Dr. Pierpaoli’s research, melatonin increases T-cell activity, which creates a more powerful antibody response and helps us fight viruses. It also supports the thyroid, which bolsters our immune system.
As T-cells also fight cancer, melatonin can help prevent cancers that are hormone-related, including breast and prostate cancers. Since melatonin slows our bodies’ aging process and strengthens our immunity, it allows our bodies to better fight cancer and other diseases.
Melatonin is effective against a wide variety of other health issues including inflammation, autoimmune diseases, type 1 diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, and more. A 2017 study featured in the journal Clinincal Nutrition showed that doses of at least 8 mg of melatonin significantly reduced subjects’ levels of triglycerides and total cholesterol.
Want to get more melatonin? Take a supplement as described above or incorporate melatonin-containing foods like tart cherries, tomatoes, broccoli, and cucumbers into your diet. They can help you reap the rewards of this powerful hormone!
n can also have a positive impact on our physical appearance and wellness. Studies have shown that it can help with weight loss, slow down the aging process, reduce stress, and enhance our endorphins to promote wellbeing.
So, how can you harness melatonin’s powers to make you look and feel better? One of the best things about melatonin is that you can increase your production of it naturally through simple lifestyle changes. Yoga and Meditation when practiced on a regular basis will help the body’s own natural production of Melatonin.