Melatonin- For Sleep and More!
By Georgia Tetlow, MD and Jill Maddock, PIM Office Manager
What is melatonin and why is it important?
Our last blog focused on the importance and tips to achieve better sleep. Now we delve into the science behind the specifics of melatonin- a natural sleep remedy. Growing research has indicated many benefits of melatonin. Not being able to produce enough melatonin at night can be a significant long-term health concern.
Melatonin is a sleep hormone that naturally produced in our brains. It’s levels increase in darkness and decrease with light-natural and artificial. Because some of us may have trouble regulating natural melatonin production due to lifestyle or other factors, supplementation may be recommended. Because it is a naturally occurring hormone created by our body, it is safe for most to take and is non-habit forming. PIM always recommends consulting a healthcare provider for any changes in your supplement routine.
What are the risk factors?
Dr. Weil, founder of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine recommends taking melatonin to nullify the effects of jet lag or help get back on track after having a change in your routine. It can be beneficial to those that work second or third shift that are not able to produce enough melatonin naturally. Did you know that women who work at night have a higher risk of health issues including heart disease, obesity and even certain types of cancers? According to Time Magazine, in the lay press, reported that women who work at night have a 19% increased risk of cancer. These trends have warranted further study and we are learning that working a night shift under artificial light suppresses melatonin production and levels may never reach a normal threshold. A disruption to regular sleep and waking cycles can also interfere with the natural process of DNA repair that happens during rest.
What are the recommendations?
Dr. Weil recommends between 2.5 to 3 mg of sublingual melatonin, when clinically indicated. Keep in mind that melatonin is only recommended in small doses because it is a hormone. Always consult a healthcare provider with any concerns or before changing your supplement routine.
In preliminary studies, high doses of melatonin (up to 20mg per night) have been recognized as an aid in reducing chemotherapy side effects and improving 1 year survival after a cancer diagnosis. Because further research is necessary to confirm long term side effects of high doses, some are hopeful that melatonin may help patients who have had less success in conventional treatments. Research has not yet shown the effects of taking melatonin in large doses over long time periods. It will be interesting to follow current and future research on melatonin!
At PIM, we have been asked what supplement we recommend, and most often we use Designs For Health Melatonin 3mg. You can purchase it in our online dispensary and 10% discount is offered for a limited time!
Melatonin is not only helpful for sleep, but it is a powerful antioxidant. This is one reason it works so well for those with cancer. In a recent study melatonin was found to improve blood lipid status and reduce triglycerides leading to an overall reduction in total cholesterol.
Check back next week for a guest blog that will walk us through how to stay true to these tips for better sleep while traveling!
PIM wants to hear from you! Do you have an experience with managing your sleep? Did you find this article helpful? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Interested in connecting with PIM? Register for one of our upcoming events - Deep Dive Classes with Dr. Tetlow at Cabrini College, tickets just $75 at sign up (limited space for individual attention, no walkins, please). Deep Dive offers intensive, interactive, life transforming experiences that include honest self-assessments and multiple keys to help you be and feel different.
If you or your loved one want to improve overall well being or are suffering from a chronic illness, please consider scheduling a 20 minute free consultation or an appointment with Lauren Houser, MS, MSN, CRNP or Annmarie McManus, MMSc, PA-C, PT, IFMCP.