|By Jonathan Roseland||Connect|
The hormone of sleep aka the "Dracula of hormones", one of the essential ingredients in your personal recipe for grandeur. Melatonin levels increase and decrease cyclically throughout the day to meet our biological needs for rest and activity. Things like stress, jet lag and anxiety can cause your Melatonin levels to drop resulting in insomnia and other sleep problems. Personally I enjoy drinking some tasty hot Melatonin tea ($15) before bed time.
Melatonin supplemention is increasingly relevant in our technology addicted society, when we spend time after sunset staring at glowing screens screws up the circadian rhythm, it blocks the natural release of Melotonin, which allows us the get tired and fall asleep. This is what is happening if you've ever stayed up into the early morning playing video games or watching TV, then couldn't fall asleep even though you where obviously tired. Melatonin supplementation is important if you are burning the midnight oil working on your computer or hanging out in dark rooms. It's also a good idea to install F.Lux on your computer or iPhone so the bright lights (blue colors especially) don't effect your sleep cycle.
Sources: Melatonin is produced in the Pineal Gland, common food sources of Melatonin are olive oil, wine, tomatoes, walnuts and even beer. However, Metatonin comes in food sources in much smaller amounts so supplementation is the best option even if you have a good diet. Metatonin is most commonly taken in tablet form with monthly supplies starting at $5.
About a year ago I went through a bout with insomnia where I just couldn't seem to fall asleep unless I downed 3-5 glasses of red wine. I was able to replace my restless nights with seriously refreshing sleep with this bedtime regimen: 2-3 tablets of Melatonin and a glass of Chamomile tea.
Melatonin is also a favorite supplement of Lucid Dreamers, as it promotes the kind of deep REM Sleep that enables vivid dreaming experiences.
Chemically referred to as N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, Melatonin is also a potent antioxidant which protects DNA according to "Free radical-mediated molecular damage. Mechanisms for the protective actions of melatonin in the central nervous system". According to University of Maryland Medical Center, Melatonin promotes a healthy immune system. Melatonin also regulates the female menstrual cycle. People also use Melatonin supplementation to prevent cancer (since it is a good free radical scavenger), depression and sooth headaches. Some studies even suggest that Melatonin is useful in fighting infectious viral diseases like HIV.
Anti-Aging: A Czech study suggests that Melatonin helps to prevent oxidative processes that result in an aging mind and diminished cognition.