True or false? Melatonin is what makes us fall asleep and stay asleep.
Though it certainly helps, this is false! Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our biological clock. Production of melatonin depends on our exposure to light and dark.
In the daytime, our retina’s photoreceptor cells detect light, sending a signal to the brain, telling us it’s time to wake. The light also suppresses the melatonin production. As it gets darker, the opposite happens. Our eyes detect the waning light and melatonin levels begin to rise, telling our bodies it is time to sleep.
Have you had issues falling asleep? Try creating optimal conditions for melatonin to do its job. Turn off overhead lights, stop using your phone, computer or tablet, and refrain from watching television at least an hour before bed. The light from these devices can neutralize melatonin’s effect.
To keep melatonin at bay during the day, make sure to get some sunshine. Take an afternoon walk, or sit by a window while you work.
Melatonin supplements may help those experiencing jet lag or insomnia. Supplements should not be used in excess of a week. If you are experiencing trouble sleeping after a week, consult a doctor.