Are you getting enough sleep? If so — how's your sleep quality? A little bird (a recent study from the CDC) told us that our snooze time might a bit neglected in the US. It makes sense, because so many factors can throw off your sleep cycle; anything from a busy schedule to a little extra light can mess with your levels of of melatonin, the natural hormone created by the pineal gland, which regulates your circadian rhythm.
So what's the solution? You might need to start taking melatonin supplements. With one simple step each night, you can improve your sleep, which will help your body naturally regulate your hormone levels and stress levels and improve your physical performance.
Related: Tips For Getting Quality Sleep
Melatonin as an oral supplement can be a potent natural sleep aid, as it helps your body know it's time for some zzz's. But it's also a special kind of antioxidant — it can scavenge free radicals (particularly hydroxyl radicals and hydrogen peroxide, which are very dangerous) and protect your cells from damage. Since it's something your body makes — and therefore is already familiar with — it can easily and seamlessly diffuse into your cells and cross your blood-brain barrier (not an easy feat).
What does this mean? Melatonin works well, it works quickly, and it can help you with more than just sleep in a major way. Because of its take-no-prisoners attitude toward free radicals, in some cases, melatonin is being used in conjunction with chemotherapy and different types of cancer treatment. Some patients have used it for headache treatment and others have used it for the prevention of GERD. Taking melatonin supplements can also significantly improve your health in your later years.
Determining just how much you need is dependent on your goal, your body, and what your doctor tells you, but most pills are between three and 10 milligrams. Try a nightly tablet, or talk to your doctor and find out what works for you.
B vitamins can also help melatonin's efficacy. While B6 can bolster your sleepy time efforts at night (it's found in some melatonin tablets), if you're looking to take things to the next level, a nightly melatonin paired with a morning B12 is a natural force to be reckoned with for your circadian rhythm, sleep, and overall health.