Melatonin Benefits – More Than a Sleep Aid

Melatonin Benefits

Melatonin Benefits

More Than Just A Sleep Aid!

We’ve all had sleepless nights. We’ve all felt tired in the morning and unable to concentrate at school or work. In our busy lives, we could all sometimes use a sleep aid to make it easier to fall asleep. Melatonin has exploded in popularity as a potential sleep aid for many different situations, whether to help with occasional sleep problems or help prevent jet lag.

But did you know that melatonin does MORE than just improve your sleep quality? In this article, we’ll be going over 5 incredible melatonin benefits for your overall health and wellness – although this isn't even a complete list!

But first, let’s go over:

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is known as the "sleep hormone" and sometimes it's also called the "darkness hormone".

It is synthesized by the pineal gland, located in the center of the brain. Although the pineal gland is usually inactive during the daytime, it will actively start to produce and secrete melatonin at sunset, or while in an artificially dark environment. From there, melatonin for sleep is gradually released into the bloodstream.

Numerous studies have shown that melatonin has a great number of sleep benefits:
• Puts you into a state of drowsiness to get you ready for sleep
• Helps you fall asleep quicker
• Extends your total sleep duration
• Enriches your overall sleep quality
• Enhances your alertness in the morning
• Treats sleep problems caused by insomnia or jet lag

During a normal night of sleep, your blood levels of melatonin will stay elevated for a period of about 12 hours. 

As the sun rises and daylight comes, the pineal gland will become inactive again, and your blood levels of melatonin will decrease to a point that they are barely detectable.

Now that we know what melatonin is, let’s get into melatonin benefits, above and beyond helping you sleep.

Melatonin Increases Levels of Glutathione

Melatonin has both a direct and indirect effect on improving levels of glutathione in the body. It does so directly by upregulating the activity of enzymes involved in glutathione synthesis, maintenance and recycling. Indirectly, melatonin helps increase glutathione levels by doing what it's famous for: promoting restful sleep. Recent research has indicated that the body is able to naturally produce more glutathione while sleeping. Additionally, researchers have found evidence of a positive correlation between higher glutathione levels and better sleep. Numerous animal studies have shown that sleep deprivation leads to a significant decrease in glutathione levels. 

Melatonin Supports Reproductive Health

Melatonin has been shown to help regulate the timing and release of female reproductive hormones. This includes the frequency and duration of menstrual cycles. In pre-industrial times the body would be exposed to more light during the full moon and more darkness during the new moon, which would inversely impact the amount of melatonin in the system. This would explain one of the mechanisms by which the female reproductive cycle is often linked to the lunar cycle. By extension, melatonin is responsive to the amount of light the body is exposed to during summer months versus winter months – helping not only humans but many animals sync their fertility cycles, and therefore the birth of their young, to the season when food will be most available to support new life. Pretty cool, right?

Melatonin also supports fertility in males. Melatonin supplementation has been shown to improve sperm quality in men with infertility issues. It can increase sperm count, motility, and morphology, which by extension increases fertilization rates.

Lastly, melatonin has shown potential in helping improve sleep quality in both perimenopausal and menopausal women, as well as decrease the severity of their negative physical and emotional symptoms. One study focused on providing a 6-month course of daily melatonin supplementation to perimenopausal and menopausal women, aged 42-62. The findings of this study were that most of the women reported an overall improved mood, and their depressive symptoms were significantly decreased.

Melatonin Optimizes Immune Function

Melatonin influences the recruitment of immune cells and facilitates their movement to the appropriate locations in the body where they are needed to mount a response against infection. Specifically, melatonin enhances the activity of macrophages, neutrophils, and lymphocytes. These cells play crucial roles in defending the body against pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, and cancer cells. Melatonin has also been found to regulate the production of cytokines, which are signaling molecules that behave like messengers or coordinators for the immune system. Melatonin can both enhance the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines and suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, helping to maintain a balanced immune response.

Melatonin Reduces Inflammation

Melatonin is a potent antioxidant that scavenges free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated during inflammation. By neutralizing these harmful molecules, melatonin helps to reduce oxidative stress and prevent tissue damage associated with inflammation. Melatonin may also promote the resolution of inflammation by enhancing the activity of anti-inflammatory molecules and promoting tissue repair processes. It helps shift the balance from pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory responses, facilitating the resolution of inflammation and restoration of tissue homeostasis.

Melatonin Regulates Gallbladder Function

As we know, bile is produced by the liver and then stored in the gallbladder until it is released into the intestines, where it plays a crucial role in digestion and nutrient absorption. Melatonin influences this entire process, firstly by regulating the activity of liver cells and bile duct cells during the production and excretion of bile. Secondly, melatonin receptors have been identified in the smooth muscle tissue of the gallbladder, suggesting that melatonin modulates the contraction of gallbladder muscles, which regulates the storage and release of bile. Lastly, by scavenging free radicals and reducing oxidative stress, melatonin protects the gallbladder from inflammation that can lead to the organ's injury and dysfunction.

Believe it or not, some researchers have stated that the long list of known melatonin benefits are just secondary effects of a more fundamental, not-yet-identified action of melatonin in the body.

If you are looking for ways to increase your melatonin blood levels, you should consider a liposomal melatonin supplement. Liposomal technology uses micro-sized fluid-filled liposomes to protect and deliver nutrients directly into the cells and tissues of the body, so that they do not get destroyed during the digestive process. These liposomes are very similar to human cells, which makes it easier for them to be transported within the body. As a result, nutrient absorption is greatly increased, and there is less potential for digestive discomfort than with using standard oral supplements.

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