How many times have you taken melatonin for sleep, yet still didn't feel like you got any rest? Well, it turns out you might not need melatonin at all. In fact, it could be harming your sleep cycle. You see melatonin isn't a sleeping pill, but a hormone produced by the pineal gland which regulates your body's natural sleep cycle. It works with your brain and tells it to 'power-down' for the night, but it is not a sleep inducer.
According to Dr. Michael Breus, aka, The Sleep Doctor, "Melatonin is not an herb, vitamin or mineral. Because hormones are naturally produced by your body it is very unlikely that someone has a melatonin deficiency". He calls it the " 'Vampire Hormone' because it is produced primarily in darkness and inhibited by light. The levels of your melatonin increase in the middle of the night and gradually fall as the night turns to morning..." So in cases where people experience sleep disorders due to jet lag or shift work (meaning working graveyard shifts and sleeping during the day) melatonin might be an appropriate therapy.
Self-prescribed Hormone Therapy?
Essentially, if you've been popping melatonin at night, then you're most likely unknowingly using hormone therapy to treat your sleep. This is not recommended to do on your own. It's important to know what exactly is out of balance to bring it into balance. There could be a variety of factors causing your insomnia, diet, stress, adrenal health, or other hormonal imbalances. It's important to visit a practitioner well-versed in hormone therapy before administering this on your own.
It ain't natural!
The melatonin pills we pop are not like the natural hormone we produce. Therefore it doesn't work the same as our own melatonin production. Melatonin pills charge the brain with rapid bursts and just as quickly leave your system rather than the slower progression your body experiences with natural production.
Because we live in a 'more is better' society, then we tend to dose up on the melatonin. Dr. Breus recommends proper dosage to be 0.3-1.0mg, although many over the counter forms of melatonin are 3-10x the amount your body actually needs. He goes on to say that in Europe, they even prescribe high doses of melatonin to be used as contraception..note to you ladies trying to get pregnant!
Find 30min somewhere in your day to do a bootcamp, walk, yoga, shake your groove thang, whatever works for you..just do it!
Kitchen Closed at 7pm:
Your body needs a 12-hour detox period, so have a lighter meal at dinner and try getting your last morsel in by 7pm so your digestive system can let you sleep soundly. Also making sure your blood sugar is balanced is a great way not to tap out the adrenals. Here's a great article to see how.
Strike a Pose:
Great yoga poses to help decompress the physical and emotional body. Check out Yoga Journal's poses for Insomnia
Finally, try my Mindful Rest Meditation to help you power-down and retrieve your energy from the day.
Healing modalities like Reiki, massage, acupuncture, even talk therapy can help release tension and ease stress in the mind & body.
Flower Essence Remedies:
I love flower essence remedies because they are 'vibrational' medicine, meaning there is no plant material ingested, just the energy or 'essence' of the plant. Sleep remedies like Bach Rescue Sleep and Flora Sleep help to restore emotional balance so you can rest easier.
Have you used melatonin? Tell me about your experience with it in the comments below.
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