One of the biggest issues that bring clients in to see me is their sleep. It seems many of us are struggling to maintain healthy sleep. Not only does chronic lack of sleep leave you feeling grouchy and tired, it can cause serious health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke. One remedy many of clients find helpful to improve their sleep is melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body to help control the circadian rhythm of our body. Melatonin is one of the hormones released by the body in the early evening that begins to tell our body it is time for sleep.
The first step in improving client’s sleep is looking at their sleep hygiene but if clients are still struggling with sleep after making positive changes to their sleep routine, I will often suggest melatonin. Studies have shown that melatonin helps improve sleep duration, reduces the time taken to fall asleep and decreases the number of night-time awakenings.
Taking .5 mg to 5 mg of melatonin daily before bedtime has been found to be safe in studies of up to 6 years but consult your doctor for proper dosing.
Other ways to increase melatonin naturally is to regulate your sleep wake cycle by getting natural light or using a “happy light” first thing in the morning. Melatonin is also found naturally in some foods. Eating these foods before bed could help with sleep.
- Porridge oats
- Sweet corn
- Red wine
Melatonin is safe for most adults as a sleep aid but check with your doctor before introducing any new medications. People with depression, bleeding disorders, high blood pressure and diabetes should check with their doctor for possible side effects.
Photo from flickr.