Because of its function in managing the body´s circadian clock, some individuals take melatonin to aid in treating sleep disorders, which can include jet lag and insomnia. Melatonin supplements are accessible in most health food stores and pharmacies. Nevertheless, the long term influences of melatonin for sleep are not known, and because it is marketed as dietary supplement and not a medicine, it is not subject to FDA approval.
Melatonin in tablet or capsule form taken at night in very low doses (1mg to 5mg) is enough to bring the blood melatonin level up to the normal nighttime levels, leading to drowsiness and sleep that follows the body´s natural rhythms. Synthetic melatonin does not seem to have any of the side effects associated with drugs such as sedatives or tranquilizers, which can lead to a hung over feeling the following morning and may be addictive. There are noted a few melatonin side effects for you to watch out for such as: headaches, dizziness, daytime sleepiness and nightmares.
People with insomnia may find it useful to take other measures to help them sleep besides melatonin supplements, such as sticking to a fixed sleeping routine, drinking warm milk and avoiding stimulants such as smoking, caffeine and exercising just before bed time.
Jet lag happens when people cross time zones too fast, for example on a transatlantic fight. The body´s time clock still believes it is in Los Angeles when the actual time is that of London, eight hours ahead. The body can take several days to adjust. The result of this bodily confusion is a feeling of exhaustion, irritability and lack of concentration. Taking a small dose of melatonin supplement before bed time for a few days in the new time zone can help reset the body´s internal cues.
The truth is that melatonin production falls acutely as people get older. It has been suggested that the pineal gland is not simply a circadian clock but also an aging clock, arranging the body´s natural span of life by decreasing melatonin generation. One manner in which this may perform is that the melatonin deficiency that comes with elderly people has a crucial influence on the thymus gland, which masters the working of the body´s defenses, otherwise known as the immune system. With age the immune system functions less efficiently, exposing the body to diseases and virus including heart disease and cancer, the incidence of which elevates as the body becomes older. Some scientists argue that this reduction in immune functioning can be influenced by improving melatonin levels.
The introduction of melatonin supplements in the treatment of different cancers is also under investigation. Aberrant levels of melatonin have been seen in people suffering from prostate cancer, for instance, and links have been pointed between breast cancer and disruptions in melatonin production. Melatonin supplements have been provided to cancer patients, along with lower than normal dosages of typical chemotherapy with some success.
Melatonin may also prevent or slow the growth of cancer because of its properties as an antioxidant. Both this and its effect on the balance of the endocrine system may have added to the concept that melatonin supplements can have a good role in preventing or treating a range of diseases, including Alzheimer´s disease, diabetes, Parkinson´s disease and high blood pressure.