If you have trouble sleeping, sooner or later, you may consider taking melatonin.
What is it?
Melatonin is a hormone made by a small gland in the brain; when it is dark, this hormone is released into the bloodstream and tells our body that it is night and time to start winding down for sleep. Melatonin release causes physiological changes such as slower heartbeat and lower blood-pressure, and many people fall asleep within 1-3 hours of melatonin release. One key function of melatonin is to help regulate our sleep and wake cycles.
Further, melatonin is an antioxidant and is thought to protect against cancers, diabetes, and even to slow brain aging. Our bodies produce melatonin naturally and we also get melatonin in our diet from some foods that we eat, such as tart cherries. As we get older we are thought to produce less melatonin, which is why melatonin is sometimes referred to as the “hormone of youth.” For this reason, some people recommend melatonin supplements to those 55 years and older.
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