As research continues to demonstrate the links between sleep deprivation and serious health concerns, we’re also learning exactly what defines quality sleep.
Essentially, we need to do more than simply get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, which can be a challenge on its own. We also need to sleep in complete darkness.
The reason is melatonin. Produced by the pineal gland, this master hormone helps regulate the body’s relationship with light and darkness, day and night. Our bodies produce melatonin in response to darkness, as a precursor to sleep.
New data published in the Journal of Pineal Research shows exactly how melatonin induces sleep. According to the study, melatonin works by suppressing certain neurons that stimulate the brain to wake up. The research singled out one receptor, MT1, as the mechanism via which melatonin acts to inhibit the specific neurons that wake us up and keep us awake.
Melatonin is also a potent antioxidant, immune modulator and master rejuvenation hormone. It actively promotes cellular health, and as an antioxidant, is well regarded for its ability to scavenge free radicals. It’s both water and fat soluble, so it moves easily through cell membranes and has been shown to support cellular mitochondria and DNA.
There are several fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and grains which naturally provide extra melatonin as well as the precursors that support the body’s own melatonin production. These include tart cherries, grapes, mushrooms, and others.
Adding a small amount of melatonin supplementation to your health program can also be beneficial in many ways. First, it’s an excellent and gentle way to encourage sleep. It can also help travelers who contend with jet lag, supporting their efforts to adjust to time zones. It can benefit people who work the late shift and must get their sleep during the day.
Rejuvenate Your Sleep
For restful, rejuvenating sleep, ecoNugenics recommends ecoSleep®,
which contains a very small amount of melatonin to help support the body’s own production, rather than replace it. EcoSleep
also contains HonoPure® 98% pure honokiol
(a traditional Asian medicine extract from magnolia bark), and other extracts such as lemon balm and passionflower for relaxation and healthy mood. The formula also contains specific amino acids and vitamins to promote energy during the day.*
What makes this formula so unique, however, are the traditional Asian herbs that work to support vital organs and promote optimal repair and rejuvenation during sleep, particularly in areas of liver health, circulation, cognitive health and energy. The result is a feeling of restfulness and renewal upon waking
, without the morning grogginess common with other sleep aids.*
To support optimal melatonin production, maintain a regular sleeping schedule in total darkness and avoid bright light before bed. Add some melatonin-rich foods to your evening meal. If you live in the city, or a place that has all-night lights outside your windows, invest in blackout curtains. Cover up those blue lights, present on rechargeable toothbrushes, phones and computer screens, as this light especially can interrupt melatonin production.
By taking these measures, we can help balance circadian rhythms and regulate our biological clocks, ensuring dedicated time for optimizing our long-term health.
Source: Sharma R, Sahota P, Thakkar MM. J Pineal Res. 2018 Apr 14:e12498.