What Is Melatonin & How Can It Help You Sleep?
There’s nothing like getting a great night’s sleep and waking up feeling fully rested and refreshed, ready to attack the day, no matter what happens. But, unfortunately, it can often be easier said than done to get the rest we need - and insomnia can be very distressing, making us feel tired, irritable and far less like ourselves than we would otherwise.
We need our eight hours each night to really fire on all cylinders and there are lots of ways in which we can work towards getting consistently good sleep, everything from temperature and light control to establishing a bedtime routine, complete with the perfect pair of red satin pyjamas!
But if you’re really struggling with your sleep, you might want to look into the whys and wherefores of melatonin, a hormone that occurs naturally in the body and which helps us to control our sleep patterns.
There is a manmade version of this hormone that you can take to address insomnia and other sleep issues, with tablets available that can help you fall asleep quicker and be less likely to wake up at night.
The hormone itself is made by the pineal gland, which is a pea-sized gland in the brain that tells the body when it’s time to go to sleep and when you should wake up.
The body usually makes more of this hormone at night time, with levels increasing after the sun goes down and then dropping again when the sun goes back up in the morning. The amount of melatonin produced by your body will be based on your internal body clock and the amount of light you get every day.
The tablets are only available on prescription in the UK, so if you are finding yourself experiencing sleep problems, chatting to your GP is a good idea, as they’ll be able to advise you as to the best course of action for treating your symptoms.
Other ways you can help improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep include getting regular exercise each week, meditating 15 minutes or so before bed, going for a nice hot bath, reading a good book and staying away from screens for at least two hours before bedtime.
Your bedroom environment is also key and this is a great place to begin with treating your symptoms if you are finding it hard to sleep. A good temperature to maintain is between 15 and 22 degrees C and you should aim to have it as dark as possible, so your choice of curtain is quite important.
Keeping it nice and tidy can also help you sleep, so if it is a bit on the messy side you might find a quick clean-up before getting into bed each night could make a big difference!