When it comes to taking care of our general well-being, getting a good night’s sleep is essential. Yet that’s often easier said than done. While meditation can help you fall asleep and a short power nap can also work wonders every so often — nothing else comes close to replacing a full night’s worth of healthy rest.
Melatonin is a hormone that can help support us in our quest for good sleep, and the experts tend to agree. It’s a chemical messenger that could especially help those of us who have trouble falling asleep, as well as those who often wake in the middle of the night and then have trouble going back to sleep.
St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum L.) is a plant that grows naturally in the wild and has been used in herbal medicines dating as far back as the ancient Greeks to treat a variety of conditions, including insomnia. Its yellow flowers tend to bloom in late June, coinciding with the time of the feast of St. John the Baptist, which is where the name allegedly comes from.
How does melatonin work?
Our bodies naturally produce melatonin — specifically in the pineal gland located near the center of the brain — through the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is a fundamental hormone that can stabilise mood, well-being and happiness.
Daylight (or lack thereof) plays a role in how much serotonin is ultimately synthesised into melatonin, generally ramping up production as the nighttime settles in and slowing down as the sun begins to rise. The hormone is then processed in the liver and exits the body through the renal system. Together with other chemical messengers, such as neurotransmitters like cortisol, melatonin helps shape the sleep patterns and Circadian rhythms that power our body’s internal clock.
Yet the chemical messenger melatonin itself doesn’t simply make us fall asleep at the push of a button. As our melatonin levels rise in the evening, they guide us into a state of calm and prepare us for falling asleep.
Who could benefit from herbal melatonin?
Many of us produce enough melatonin for this slumber-inducing process to occur on its own. For others, it can make sense to supplement the body with melatonin. This could apply to those who experience the occasional tossing and turning at night or frustrating jet lag, along with night owls who work the notorious ‘graveyard shift’ and don’t want to miss out on sleep, even when it’s light out.
Yet even if we typically are good sleepers, there are times when we just don’t feel like falling asleep. Like how after a short middle-of-the-night visit to the loo, it’s often hard to glide gently back into dreamland. (Or those times when nature shines us a bright full moon that keeps us awake — but does it really mean to? ) It’s inconvenient how this phenomenon often happens precisely when we have something important planned for the next day… It’s ironic how sometimes even the thought itself — “I could use the sleep right now” — is often what keeps us from going to sleep.
By the way, the amount of sleep we need depends highly on the individual. In general, it’s recommended to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
Remedy through melatonin
Should these issues continue to affect our sleep more often, nature’s own melatonin might be able to help.
Studies have demonstrated that an additional dose of the hormone can reduce the waiting period for sleep onset in those who suffer from insomnia.1 Melatonin has a good safety profile and relatively few side effects, among which most can be avoided by following a traditional sleep schedule. In other words, it’s recommended not to take melatonin right after we get up in the morning, as this risks confusing our bodies and disrupting our natural Circadian rhythm.
Lastly, as with any other supplement, your doctor should always be consulted before you decide to take melatonin. In some regions, it’s not available over the counter and can only be accessed through a medical prescription.
Herbal melatonin in The Good Night
When selecting the raw materials to serve as ingredients for The Good Night cream, quality was our top priority. We decided to use only herbal, plant-based melatonin (phytomelatonin) that’s extracted from highly pure, fermented St. John's wort using only water and refined ethanol and no toxic residues, in a process that’s a bit more cumbersome, yet much gentler than other extraction methods.
In this way, we can be courageous in our convictions that everything we need to lead a naturally healthy life is already available in what Mother Nature provides for us in all her rich abundance. No laboratory in the world can compete with the vital development that comes about almost automatically during the changing of the seasons.
Our mission stems from this belief: We want to (re) seek out the treasures that our planet has so readily made available to us. Both technology and innovation, and especially extraction, shouldn't add anything new — they are simply new tools that help preserve what has already been created by nature.
Sources: Evidence for the efficacy of melatonin in the treatment of primary adult sleep disorders. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1087079216300545