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Melatonin: A Safe, Natural Alternative to Sleeping Pills

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Losing an occasional night’s sleep is no big deal, but losing sleep night after night takes its toll on your brain. New research shows that chronic sleep deprivation causes a build-up of beta-amyloid in the brain, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease. 

Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? It’s a common problem as we get older. Prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids are OK for occasional use, but both have their own brain-impairing side effects with long-term use.

Instead of drugs, you might want to try a natural sleeping aid, melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the body’s pineal gland. It helps to regulate your body’s natural sleep/wake cycle. Research shows that supplemental melatonin can be helpful for insomnia, especially in older people, who are melatonin-deficient compared to younger people. Supplemental melatonin also seems to be helpful for insomnia related to depression, Alzheimer’s disease and hospitalization, including the insomnia termed “ICU syndrome,” referring to sleep disturbances while in the intensive care unit.

Research has shown that melatonin may have other positive effects, such as helping your body fight cancer, reducing symptoms of menopause and helping with some kinds of headaches.

A common 3 mg dose of melatonin, taken shortly before bedtime, is unlikely to cause a “hangover” effect the following day. You should avoid drinking alcohol or taking any kind of sedative if you use melatonin. You can take it just when you need it. You’ll start to feel sleepy in 20-30 minutes. However, most  people find it works better if they take it regularly. It’s fine to experiment to see what works best for you.

The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: Chronic insomnia can hurt your brain, but so can most kinds of pharmaceutical sleeping aids. Melatonin is a natural sleeping aid that can help you sleep without causing harmful side effects.

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5 responses to “Melatonin: A Safe, Natural Alternative to Sleeping Pills”

  1. […] Melatonin is a powerful natural hormone that is well known for its association with circadian rhythms that promote a healthful sleep cycle. Now, researchers from the University of Granada reporting in the Journal of Pineal Research have found that melatonin has another remarkable benefit. […]

  2. […] to be awake during the day and sleep at night. It also encourages an increase in the production of melatonin which helps set that biological clock. More sunlight will help you be awake and active during the […]

  3. […] you have a sleep problem, consider natural approaches to help with your insomnia, and review these tips for improving your sleep. Sweet […]

  4. S Mohan says:

    Melatonin usually works well in the beginning although 3mg is an outlandish starting dose. A start at 0.5mg and titrating that dose to individual needs is the way to go. It may be that all an individual needs is less than 0.3mg, depending on the exposure to daylight. Melatonin is sold in 1mg and 3mg, thus one needs a pill cutter and guestimate the size and hence the dose. It winds up being a variable; however, keeps you from taking too much. Take melatonin an hour before bedtime. Use melatonin with caution to wards selecting the appropriate dose by experimenting with and determining the smallest effective dose over a long period of time. Melatonin poses no health hazard, however, may stop working and exacerbate the insomnia. I am stating this based on my own direct experience over the years.

  5. Spot on with this write-up, I seriously feel this website needs a
    lot more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more,
    thanks for the info!