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Melatonin and Sleep

Melatonin is released by the pineal gland, found within the brain. Melatonin is a ‘neurohormone’ which can be used to regulate sleep-wake cycles and help with the timing of your circadian rhythm (24-hour internal clock). Production and release of melatonin is activated by darkness and depressed by external/environmental light sources, so falling asleep while watching Netflix isn’t helpful ;o). Being exposed to light at night can block melatonin production. Melatonin can be supplemented to help with certain conditions, such as jet lag, delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, and some sleep disorders in children. If the dosage is too high it can cause side effects such as headache, dizziness, nausea, abnormal/active dreams and sleepiness. But BEFORE supplementation should be considered, LIFESTYLE is even more important and there are ways to moderate your melatonin levels.

  1. REDUCE AND LIMIT EXPOSURE TO BLUE LIGHT AT NIGHT-Setting ‘night shift’ on your iPhone & iPad, f.lux for Macs, ‘night light’ for PCs. Try blue light-blocking glasses or get a filter put directly into your prescription lenses. It’s even better if you can avoid screens as much as possible in the evenings.

  2. BRIGHT LIGHT EXPOSURE DURING DAYTIME USING SAD LAMPS-Some individuals have abnormal melatonin levels. Some have increased daytime melatonin and delays in night-time release of melatonin such as those with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). And some have compromised daytime light exposure such as night shift workers and frequent travellers.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health discourages the use of melatonin without medical supervision. It is important to have someone guiding you through melatonin supplementation as it is of significant importance to be properly informed and supervised on dosage and type (immediate vs. extended release). Melatonin is NOT indicated for everyone and does have a number of interactions with common pharmaceuticals.

There is more than one way to help sleep, melatonin is only one of them.

Need help sleeping better, book an initial appointment online with me to discover what the best approach is for you.

Best in Health!


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