The Dracula Hormone!
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain’s pea-shaped pineal gland and is responsible for helping you to fall asleep.
Because of its sleep inducing abilities it is known as the Dracula of hormones, ‘hormone of darkness’ or ‘sleep hormone’.
Melatonin should be at its highest at night to help us fall asleep. Excess caffeine, staring at computer, TV or other electronic screens too late can negatively affect melatonin production.
Melatonin is at its highest at night and it should follow that cortisol (our waking hormone) is at its lowest. In the morning cortisol is high to enable us to start the day. Melatonin should be low in the morning otherwise we’d still want to sleep instead of grabbing the day. If they are out of balance then by putting on music that you can dance to for a few minutes or get sunlight (not stare at the sun) for 15 minutes on rising should help to lower melatonin production. In balance melatonin if high then cortisol should be low and vice versa.
You can supplement with melatonin but in Ireland, and rightly so, this is only possible by prescription. Pharma Nord stocks their new melatonin product in chemists so worth asking your doc about that one and is it preferable to the other ones they can prescribe.
I tried melatonin but it gave me night terrors, but my GP and I decided that was down to interactions with the medications I’m taking. Your GP should be able to guide you on whether it is suitable for you or not.
If you’d like to learn tips on how to sleep better by implementing nutrition and lifestyle changes to enhance your sleep efforts, or want to learn more about the sleep and wake cycle to help optimise your sleep, check out my sleep masterclass.