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Melatonin for sleeping: What effect does melatonin have, and how to use it correctly

Let’s talk science07.04.22 8 min. read

We toss and turn - night after night. It seems impossible to find a comfortable sleeping position. Our thoughts are circling and we are annoyed. Sleep is a long way away. A glance at the clock shows we have less and less time to get up. Yes, sleep disturbances are grueling - for the body as well as for the mind. That's why we have prepared a lot of important information for you in this article. In addition, we cover the topic of melatonin for sleeping, and how the power of nature can help you fall asleep.

At a glance: Melatonin for sleeping

 

 

Melatonin used to help you sleep and to help against insomnia

Do you also belong to the group of insomniacs? Do you find it difficult to fall asleep? Are you afraid of going to bed? Then you are not alone with these worries. For many people, problems falling asleep are a permanent condition.

The good news is: This Place wants to support you. But first we will deal with topics such as sleep disorders, what consequences they can have, and whether the "sleep hormone" melatonin can be a sleep aid for you.

Let's start with the question of what insomnia is.

Problems falling asleep: Definition, Symptoms & Causes

Sleep problems fall under the category of sleep disorders (insomnia). According to the German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine (DGSM), six to ten percent of people in Germany alone are affected [1].

On the one hand, you may feel some relief that you are not the only person suffering from a sleep disorder. On the other hand, it probably won't help you solve your problem.

Let's move on to the question of how insomnia is defined in medicine.

Doctors speak of a sleep disorder when a person needs more than 30 minutes to fall asleep after going to bed. If you can answer the following questions with a "Yes.", you are most likely one of the many people affected:

  • Do you go to bed tired but not fall asleep for a long time?
  • Do you lie awake for a long time and ponder?
  • Do you need a long wake-up phase until you feel awake after waking up?
  • Do you lack the drive to get up in the morning?
  • Do you worry about poor sleep?

Now there is always the question, at what point a disease value arises. If you only have problems falling asleep from time to time and perhaps sleeping through the night, you don't need to worry.

A visit to a doctor is recommended if you have difficulty sleeping at least three days a week within four weeks and the quality of your sleep is severely impaired. 

What are the consequences of sleep disturbances?

Restful sleep is essential for our health. After all, our body is hard at work when we sleep. For example, it secretes growth hormones to help regenerate muscles, bones and internal organs. At the same time, the immune system is strengthened by the increased presence of antibodies, defense cells and killer cells. The metabolism is also running at full speed. This forms new proteins to replenish energy stores, and metabolic products are removed from the brain.

Sleep disorders and a disturbed sleep rhythm cause a lack of sleep, which can have serious consequences for the body. Especially when we have trouble falling asleep for a long period of time, and do not sleep through the night. Symptoms of a lack of sleep can be

  • decreased concentration
  • decreased ability to react
  • forgetfulness (e.g. difficulty finding words)
  • lack of drive
  • blood sugar fluctuations (increased blood sugar levels)
  • increased blood pressure
  • susceptibility to infections
  • headaches/migraines
  • mood swings
  • pale skin color
  • impure skin
  • dark circles under the eyes

In addition, the risk of various diseases also increases, for example, diabetes, depression, obesity (overweight), heart attack as well as cardiovascular diseases.

 

What are the causes?

For most people, sleep disorders are caused by stress, worry, anxiety or other psychological problems in their professional and/or private lives. In addition, certain medications (e.g., high blood pressure/asthma medications or antidepressants) as well as external circumstances (e.g., noise pollution) can severely disrupt sleep.

What helps with problems falling asleep?

In most cases, the causes of difficulties falling asleep are known to everyone affected. However, the knowledge about it does not automatically dissolve the difficulties in falling asleep into thin air. Now, of course, there are many rules and tips for falling asleep that should help. Among these are:

Bedroom: in this room should be quiet and dark. A temperature between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius should further assist in falling asleep.

Bed: A mattress is recommended that is not too soft so that the spine is not curved when sleeping.

Relaxation: The bedroom is a place where smartphones, tablets, notebooks and televisions have no place.

Exercise before bedtime: Excessive sports sessions are to be avoided. On the other hand, an evening walk can help you wind down.

Meals: No sumptuous meals, alcohol, caffeinated beverages or nicotine should be consumed about four hours before bedtime.

Bedtimes: If possible, you should always go to bed at the same time and get up in the morning.

We can't promise you whether following these rules will help you. But it is certainly worth a try - but only if you feel comfortable doing so.

Sleeping pills: Yes or No?

Sleep medications are divided into synthetic and herbal medications. In the case of the former, with a few exceptions, all preparations require a prescription. These are also prescribed by a doctor only under certain conditions for the treatment of sleep disorders. For example, if the health is seriously endangered.

In addition, there are sleep-promoting phytotherapeutics (herbal preparations) that are available without a prescription in the form of capsules, tablets, tinctures, sprays and teas. They are said to be able to exert a sleep-inducing effect.

The question of whether medications are a viable means of sleep support is not an easy one to answer. If a drug is being considered, it is certainly a good idea to talk to a doctor before taking it and to obtain extensive information about the effect as well as possible side effects and risks.

What therapies are available for sleep disorders?

If the difficulties in falling asleep or sleeping through the night have no identifiable causes, the treatment approaches are usually based on behavioral therapy, sleep therapy as well as improving sleep hygiene. The use of medications may also be indicated. In addition, there are alternative healing methods, such as acupuncture or hypnosis.

If, on the other hand, an illness or the use of medication is the cause of the sleep disorder, the focus is on treating the illness or switching to other medications.

Find a relaxed sleep with This Place

Our article promised you a possible solution at the beginning and maybe you will have a positive experience with it. We have developed The Good Night sleep cream especially for your problem. The melatonin it contains plays an important role here.

Melatonin: What is it?

Melatonin is a hormone that the body produces itself and regulates the sleep-wake rhythm. That is why it is often referred to as the "sleep hormone".

The pineal gland (epiphysis), a tiny gland in the brain, is responsible for producing the hormone. This produces melatonin from the tissue hormone and messenger serotonin ("happiness hormone"). A small amount of melatonin is also produced in the intestine and in the retina.

As soon as darkness falls, the pineal gland releases melatonin into the bloodstream. We then feel tiredness. Around midnight, the melatonin level in the blood continues to rise.

In the early morning, only a little melatonin is released. When daylight then falls on the retina, the formation of the hormone is inhibited. At the same time, the stress hormone cortisol is increasingly released into the blood from the adrenal glands. We then become awake. Cortisol levels continue to decrease throughout the day, so that the hormone melatonin makes us tired in the evening.

It is also interesting to note that the sleep hormone is involved in other processes in the body. Melatonin lowers body temperature and boosts our immune system. It also influences the release of sex hormones as well as memory and learning.

What factors lower melatonin levels?

There are several unfavorable habits that inhibit melatonin production, or reduce melatonin levels. These include:

  • Serotonin deficiency
  • Stress
  • Medications (e.g. ASA, beta blockers or cortisone preparations)
  • Drinks containing caffeine (coffee, black and green tea)
  • Working in shifts

A study also suggests that blue-green colored light from smartphones, tablets and notebooks promotes sleep problems and lowers melatonin levels [2] .

For information, there is currently a prescription drug containing melatonin in Germany. However, this drug is only prescribed to patients over 55 years of age. In addition, it is unclear how long-term use of melatonin affects the body.

Evening Ritual with The Good Night

Each of us performs smaller or larger rituals every day - consciously or unconsciously. Because these give us structure and security. This is especially important in hectic, stressful or emotionally charged times. At the same time, rituals help you to connect with yourself.

We would therefore like to recommend a ritual with the This Place sleep cream The Good Night. In addition to the hormone melatonin, which is derived from highly purified, fermented St. John's wort, we have added the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) from the hemp plant to the cream. Various studies suggest that CBD can provide an anxiety-relieving and calming effect [3] .

To optimize the unique formula in The Good Night, the sleep cream also contains birch extract and a pleasantly scented composition of lavender, palo santo and blue tansy.

Try the evening ritual with The Good Night now!

Allow yourself to take time for yourself before going to bed. Go to your favorite place in your apartment or house. Play some soothing music or try meditation. Perhaps light a scented candle or incense and sit cross-legged.

If you like, prepare a tea beforehand, for example a lavender tea, and enjoy it in peace. Then proceed as follows:

Step 1: Concentrate only on your breathing. Most likely, many thoughts will be circling in your head. Notice each thought briefly, but do not judge it. Then imagine how you exhale the thought. With each inhalation you will receive fresh energy.

Step 2: Now take some of our herbal sleep cream and spread it between your palms. Feel the consistency of the cream on your skin and breathe in the pleasant scent.

Step 3: Begin applying the cream to the back of your neck in gentle circular motions, then to the inside of your forearms. Feel the pleasant sensation that rises inside you and notice the relaxation.

Step 4: Sit for a moment and reflect. Breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth.

Repeat this wonderful ritual every night before going to bed. We hope this will help you shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and wish you a healthy and restful sleep.

FAQ

How does melatonin work for sleep?

The hormone melatonin controls the day-night rhythm and is responsible for us getting tired and eventually falling asleep. Melatonin preparations start here. They are supposed to tell the body that it is now time to sleep. In this respect, melatonin can have a supporting effect. However, an actual effect has not been sufficiently proven scientifically.

When should melatonin not be taken?

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use melatonin preparations and CBD products as a precaution. So far, there are no studies on this, as it would be unethical to administer CBD and melatonin products to pregnant and breastfeeding women and observe the effect or side effects. While melatonin and CBD are considered safe, pregnant and breastfeeding women should still consult their doctor before taking them.

Is melatonin dangerous?

Taking melatonin is generally considered to have few side effects. However, depending on the melatonin preparation and any additional active ingredients, side effects or interactions cannot be ruled out. For this reason, such capsules, tablets or sprays containing melatonin should not be taken without consulting a doctor.

Sources:
  1. ärzteblatt.de 2016, "Sleep disorders: Frequent - and clearly underestimated" More Info
  2. Annette E Allen, Esther M Hazelhoff, Franck P Martial, Christian Cajochen, Robert J Lucas, Exploiting metamerism to regulate the impact of a visual display on alertness and melatonin suppression independent of visual appearance, Sleep, Volume 41, Issue 8, August 2018, zsy100 More Info
  3. Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. More Info