Circadian What??

Fall asleep faster. Sleep better. Awake rested.

We’ve all heard these phrases on commercials for sleep supplements and prescriptions. And we all love the sound of these fantastic promises. But sometimes natural is better. And that answer is …

Melatonin. Mela-what? That sounds like some fancy new cocktail you can order at an upscale NYC bar!

But really, melatonin is a natural hormone that controls our sleep-wake cycles. It is produced in the body’s pineal gland. This gland is inactive during the day but starts working at night. It produces melatonin which gets released into the blood stream, making us sleepy and less active. This is because our circadian rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that responds to light and darkness. Melatonin helps to regulate circadian rhythms so that we can stay awake during the day and sleep at night.

Unfortunately, this rhythm can be interrupted very easily. Our bodies look for the light and darkness as a way to regulate sleep and wake cycles. When we watch TV or use electronics before bed, the light interrupts the natural circadian rhythm and therefore slows or stops the natural production of melatonin. Those of us who have trouble falling asleep could benefit from melatonin supplements. It encourages the body to feel sleepy during the evening when it is a natural time to feel that way. Melatonin can decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and increase the amount of time spent asleep.

Before you start searching for melatonin supplements at your local pharmacy, check out these more natural ways to help your body produce melatonin and get a great night’s sleep.

* Avoid electronics such as TV, cell phones and computers at least an hour before bedtime. They emit a blue light that tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime.
* Avoid using loud alarm clocks that can jolt the body awake. This can create stress on the body.
* Keep the temperature in your bedroom between 60-68 degrees. Feeling slightly cool can signal sleepiness to the body.
* Sleep in complete darkness (or as close as possible). This helps to keep your circadian rhythms on track.
* Make sure you get bright sun exposure regularly. This signals to the pineal gland to stop the production of melatonin during the daytime.

Now that you know some of the great benefits of melatonin, visit us soon to read about other benefits of melatonin!

… sleep happily ever after …