Melatonin is a natural hormone produced in the pineal gland. You may have heard of it a number of times because of its function in improving the quality of sleep that you get. But many people do not understand how it functions and the other benefits that melatonin has to offer. Here are some of the benefits associated with this hormone that you also need to know.
Sleep Boosting Effect
Melatonin is known mainly as a hormone that helps promote sleep in people with insomnia and other sleep problems. The association between sleep and melatonin is based upon the natural sleep/wake cycle. Researchers have found that melatonin levels in the body are higher during nighttime when the body is about to go to sleep. Somehow, the hormone seems to signal the body that it needs to take some rest and induce sleep. People who have trouble sleeping are known to show low levels of melatonin. Taking melatonin about 10 to 20 minutes before bedtime will help restore the levels of melatonin necessary for better sleep quality.
Beneficial Effects On Mood
Melatonin is also seen to have mood-boosting effects. Researchers have discovered that people who suffer from depression also have lower than normal levels of melatonin. In fact, many of the prescription drugs used to treat the condition try to stimulate the body to produce more melatonin.
Melatonin also has some cancer fighting abilities, according to some studies. A study showed that taking melatonin supplements can help women with breast cancer respond better to chemotherapy. Other studies suggest that melatonin may also have a beneficial effect on fighting prostate cancer in men.
There are still a lot of studies needed to know the other benefits of melatonin. Although it is relatively safe, care should be taken when taking melatonin supplements. Generally, melatonin is used in dosages ranging from 0.3 to 5.0 mg, especially in promoting sleep. Since it has a sedating effect, it can make people drowsy and feel sluggish. People should refrain from taking melatonin supplements in the morning. People with professions requiring high levels of focus and concentration should also avoid taking melatonin supplements. General practice is that melatonin supplements should be taken 10 to 20 minutes before going to sleep.