Sleep, so necessary for proper functioning of the body and mind, can sometimes be elusive. Melatonin is one of the tools you may turn to in the quest for a good night’s sleep. The National Institutes of Health reports that melatonin use doubled between 2007 and 2012. Approximately three million people have turned to this substance with the desire to fall asleep faster and get a more restful night of sleep. It is important to know and understand how melatonin works in order to determine if this is the right sleep aid to use.
13. Melatonin Is a Natural Hormone in Your Body
Your body naturally manufactures melatonin on its own. Melatonin is a hormone released by the pineal gland in your brain. The human body associates the darkness of the evening hours with sleep and the brightness of daytime with wakefulness. When the sun sets and the light grows dim, melatonin production is stimulated. Melatonin begins working about two hours before bedtime by helping your body relax and prepare for sleep. It works along with your circadian rhythm, which signals your body when it is time to eat, sleep, or awaken. Melatonin also helps with the regulation of body temperature, blood pressure, and levels of other natural hormones.
12. Melatonin Doesn’t Have an Immediate Effect
Taking a melatonin supplement right before bedtime will not induce immediate sleep. Melatonin needs to be taken about two hours before bed in order to induce the calming and relaxing effects that will help you transition into sleep. You can increase the effectiveness of your body’s own melatonin production by dimming the lights about two hours before bedtime as well. Avoid drinking caffeine, and switch off your smartphone or laptop. These devices emit blue light, which stimulates your brain and prevents the production of natural melatonin.