If you have never heard of melatonin or have and know nothing of it, then keep reading as you will find out more about this hormone along with the good and bad of it. Melatonin is actually produced by you naturally. The gland known as the pineal gland is the source of your body’s melatonin supply, and it is released every day, around sunset. Melatonin is part of the winding down of your body each day, and it becomes part of your internal clock, the system which regulates your body according to light and darkness. There are also melatonin supplements made, which can assist the body with more melatonin in certain cases as needed, such as with jet lag.
The Connection Between Melatonin and Jet Lag
Jet lag is where you take a flight that involves the crossing of multiple time zones. Your circadian rhythms, or internal clock, becomes disrupted with the rapid crossing of time zones. Insomnia, stomach issues like nausea, difficulty concentrating, and more can all be a part of jet lag, but a melatonin supplement can help reduce the time it takes for your body to get in sync with the new time zone. Several studies have been done and the results confirm the validity of this.
What you would do is take a melatonin supplement about around sunset or your bedtime of the time zone you are traveling to. Start the day before you fly as well as the day of, and a couple of days as needed after you land. This will help your internal clock to adjust to the new time zone faster.
The Connection Between Melatonin and Sleep
Insomnia is often a part of jet lag, but that is not the only time that melatonin can have some benefits for people. Those who work those swing shifts or third shift can also use melatonin to get them sleeping properly for the time they are on those shifts so they can get to sleep when they need to. The supplement is taken about an hour before bed, and it is continued for a few days or a couple of weeks at the outside. Not only that, but sufferers of a condition called delayed sleep phase syndrome have also noted benefits from melatonin supplements.
Melatonin has been tested with other conditions and has been found successful, although testing has not been made definitive as of yet. Hot flashes, stress before a surgery, and anti-inflammation uses have been reported as well as some trials with cancer patients and diabetics with respect to certain symptoms.
There are potential side effects involved with taking melatonin supplements. While there are no major side effects reported, there is a possibility of getting headaches, experiencing nauseousness, and feelings of depression. If you are on certain medications, smoke, or drink alcohol, take caution as melatonin can interact negatively with these. Some of the medications include: blood thinners, antipsychotics, and NSAIDs. If you are on any of these types of medications, talk with your doctor before using a melatonin supplement.