By definition, melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in our brain.
However, the pineal gland is not its only source because it is also naturally present in foods such as grapes, olives, and barley as well as in dietary supplements.
Melatonin is known to help insomnia patients get more and better quality sleep. Furthermore, it also helps our body manage cortisol levels, blood pressure, and immune function.
1. Supports Better Sleep
Melatonin is often called the sleep hormone thanks to its sleep-inducing properties — which are backed by multiple scientific studies.
According to one study conducted on 50 insomnia patients, taking melatonin supplement 2 hours before going to bed not only helped participants fall asleep faster but also enhanced overall sleep quality.
Furthermore, a large analysis of 19 studies on effects of melatonin on adults and children concludes that the sleep hormone has the following 3 benefits:
- Increases sleep time
- Improves sleep quality
- Reduces time taken for people to fall asleep
One thing to note here is that melatonin’s sleep-inducing effects are not as strong as any sleep medication. However, using melatonin is less risky because it has significantly fewer side effects as compared to sleep medicines.
2. Can Reduce Symptoms of Seasonal Depression
For those of you who don’t know, seasonal depression, aka seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a common condition that affects up to 10% of people worldwide. (1)
SAD occurs due to many reasons, one of which is changes in your circadian rhythm caused by seasonal changes. (2)
Since melatonin plays a key role in regulating circadian rhythm, it can improve the symptoms of SAD significantly.
According to this study conducted on 68 people, changes in circadian rhythm contributes to seasonal depression, and a daily dose of melatonin can effectively reduce symptoms of SAD.
3. May Increase Levels of Human Growth Hormone
In case you didn’t already know, human growth hormone (HGH) is a type of hormone that is vital for growth and cellular regeneration.
Multiple recent studies suggest that melatonin supports the growth of HGH.
Health Issues Associated With Melatonin Deficiency
As you can probably tell by now, melatonin is vital for proper functioning of our bodies.
Melatonin deficiency can lead to several health problems and diseases, including:
- Severe pain
- Diabetes type-2
- Certain types of dementia
- Certain types of mood disorders
With that being said, cases of melatonin deficiency are rare because our pineal glands produce this hormone on their own. However, insomnia patients can benefit a lot from melatonin supplements.
Daily Recommended Intake
The daily recommended intake of melatonin is 0.5-10 milligrams. However, since there are different types of melatonin, each one has its own recommended intake.
So when you are using a melatonin supplement, it’s a smart idea to check the label for the recommended intake.
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