Melatonin is a naturally produced hormone in your brain when you expose yourself to darkness. The hormone allows your brain to transition from wake to sleep and helps maintain the body’s circadian rhythm.
However, these days, with people getting less exposure to the sun and our homes being sources of artificial light that affect sleep. And we, instead of heading to bed, choose to watch TV and gaze into our smartphone screens.
A great many people suffer from poor sleep hygiene, and this leaves them feeling lethargic during the day when productivity is required.
All of these have affected the quality of sleep and affected optimum melatonin production.
Melatonin is available these days in the form of a sleep aid. It is available in various forms, either online or at pharmacies, including capsules, tablets, sprays, gummies and even in the liquid form.
How Does Melatonin Help You Sleep?
Melatonin in the body manifests itself at dusk, with the levels slowly increasing and peaking between 2 and 4 am. Levels drop around sunrise. Thus, Melatonin levels in the body are in sync with the sleep schedule of an individual.
Melatonin positively affects circadian rhythm and acts as a catalyst that causes healthy sleep through many biological processes, including lowering our body temperature.
Factors Affecting Melatonin Production:
Shared are some factors that can get in the way of the body’s ability to know when to release melatonin. These can result in difficulty trying to sleep:
The ability of the body to produce melatonin changes as we age. The time of the night when the body releases melatonin is further affected by age as well.
We are all hooked on our smart devices these days. Exposure to constant blue light emanating from screens of smartphones, television, laptops, etc., has been known to slow down the release of melatonin.
When the body senses any form of light, it is tricked into thinking that the melatonin levels need to be suppressed. This is observed often in children as they use nightlights in their rooms to help them fall asleep.
The stress hormone cortisol plays an essential role in regulating our circadian rhythms. By the time we wake up in the morning, the cortisol levels are already rising to get us ready to face the day. At night the reverse is expected to happen. Cortisol levels should fall, and melatonin levels are expected to rise.
However, when stress manifests itself, the body could be producing an excess of cortisol which actually inhibits the release of melatonin, thereby affecting the quality of sleep.
If you or your family are having trouble sleeping, it will do well to set right the problem naturally. Steps to be taken would include following proper sleep hygiene, eliminating the use of technology before, and avoiding the use of nightlights, among others.
Melatonin Gummies to the Rescue:
For individuals suffering from various sleep disorders, melatonin gummies are a boon, thanks to their better taste and texture. Melatonin gummies can also be used as a sleep aid for alleviating conditions like insomnia, delayed sleep phases, restless leg syndrome, and REM sleep disorder. Melatonin gummies can also aid in sleep indirectly by inhibiting pain disorders such as migraines or fibromyalgia.
Age-related sleep disorders require an increase in melatonin levels to combat them through oral administration. The melatonin levels in older adults diminish, with the time of secretion also seeing changes. These changes in melatonin can be countered by consuming melatonin gummies or sleep gummies as they are also known as.
Ingredients Used In Melatonin Gummies
A majority of melatonin supplements tend to have melatonin as their primary ingredient. However, there may be some melatonin gummies that use additives, including botanicals, to enhance sleep quality or provide other health benefits.
These ingredients may include:
- Citric acid for flavour
- Sodium citrate
- Coconut oil
- Carnauba wax
For any melatonin supplements to be truly effective, they should include melatonin and a negligible amount of other ingredients. Try to consume melatonin gummies that use few or no preservatives, artificial flavours/colours or any sweeteners.
Some popular brands of sleep gummies could even pose an allergen risk. Look out for ingredients that melatonin gummies use like:
- Crustacean shellfish
Each of these could cause allergic reactions in specific individuals. Always read the back of an over-the-counter supplement to make sure it’s free of allergens.
How to Increase Effectiveness of Sleep Gummies:
The effectiveness of sleep gummies or melatonin gummies can be extended by following these simple steps.
Have A Set Bedtime And A Set Wake Time:
Try to set and follow a regular bedtime and wake time. As much as possible, do not deviate from it, even on weekends. Sleeping late on weekends makes it challenging to sleep on schedule as the weekend winds up. This would lead to fatigue on the next day.
Sleep disorder can be caused by higher stress levels and can even amplify existing difficulties faced when attempting to turn in for the night. Do some yoga before you start the day to help manage stress.
Avoid Alcohol Near Bedtime:
Alcohol may help you feel drowsy or even help you get some sleep, but it is known to interfere with deep sleep. The disruption to your sleep cycle happens as your liver enzymes metabolise alcohol.
Keep Electronic Devices Away:
Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom as any notifications will affect your sleep. The phone is the worst offender with its endless alerts, mainly if you are a light sleeper.
Avoid Screen Time At least 30 minutes Before Bed:
Ideally, unplugging an hour before your head hits the pillow is better. The light emanating from screens messes with sleep quality by discouraging the brain from releasing melatonin, known as the sleep hormone, as it signals the body that it's time to fall asleep.
Even answering a few emails on your device would be enough to disrupt your sleep patterns.
Wear an Eye Mask:
This will block any slivers of light seeping into the room from the edges of the curtains. Light sleepers are prone to what is known as light contamination. Even a tiny bight of light could affect the quality of sleep.
Studies have shown that using an eye mask can help sustain more prolonged periods of REM sleep, and this encourages elevated melatonin levels.
Use Earplugs or Noise-Cancelling Earbuds:
Earplugs or noise cancelling earbuds will help drown out ambient noise, especially if traffic noise gets into your bedroom via the window. An alternative would be to listen to soothing sounds that could help you fall asleep faster.
Watch What you Eat as Bedtime Approaches:
Avoid snacks with excess sugar as they could cause an energy spike. Also, avoid caffeine or nicotine, which are both known supplements. Spicy, acidic foods are also to be avoided as they cause heartburn or acid reflux, both of which can interfere with quality sleep levels.
What is a Safe Melatonin Dosage Level?
The appropriate dosage level for sleep gummies will vary among supplements. Most over the counter melatonin gummies contain between 0.5 mg to 5 mg of melatonin per gummy.
Taking more than the recommended dose is not advisable as you could experience extreme drowsiness in the morning.
It would also be a good idea to speak to your doctor before consuming any sleep gummies so that they can evaluate you and work out the required dosage you need from melatonin gummies.
Side Effects of Melatonin Gummies:
While melatonin gummies can effectively curb insomnia, it’s also essential to pay attention to any potential side effects that a supplement could cause.
There is an outside chance sleep gummies could cause some side effects like:
- Morning fatigue
That said, these side effects usually occur only if you overdose on melatonin or if you have been consuming sleep gummies for far too long.
When Should You Avoid Sleep Gummies?
It would be a good idea to avoid sleep gummies even if you have trouble falling or staying asleep. Synthetic melatonin may have unintended side effects.
Some groups of people who should avoid sleep gummies or at least consult your doctor before having one:
Pregnant or nursing mothers should be prudent when consuming sleep gummies as extra melatonin could affect the sleep-wake cycles of the mothers or their unborn offspring.
Anyone on blood pressure or blood-thinning medications should reconsider the option of sleep gummies. The melatonin may exacerbate the effect of any blood-thinning medicines, which could lead to dangerous situations.
People with existing health conditions would do well to avoid sleep gummies and look into herbal remedies as an alternative. Chamomile and Lavender Tea help relax you and are a great way to fix your sleep-wake cycle.
Melatonin gummies are a great way to help you fall asleep quicker and cure those phases of insomnia and also help you sleep more soundly through the night.
While products like melatonin gummies can help you sleep better, consider working on better nighttime routines. Cutting back on spending time with sources of blue light, such as your phones, TVs, tablets etc., for at least thirty minutes before bedtime would help immensely to preserve the circadian rhythm.
Reading an e-book before sleeping would be acceptable till the melatonin effects kick in. Follow these tips and hints for a better night of deep sleep and extend your REM phase. Also try Auric Mind rejuvenation drink
Authored by: Bhavishya Pahwa
About the Author: Bhavishya Pahwa is a budding writer who has always confided in a pen. He believes that art is a cure-all and that introspection followed by writing can add to the sanity of the world.