I don’t know about you, but my life is full of stress! Just making it through my daily routines is enough to run me ragged — working, dealing with family and friends, raising my son, trying to maintain my health, paying bills, handling pet problems, you name it, by the time I get to bed it’s no wonder I have trouble falling asleep.
To come down from the day, I try to have a peaceful dinner hour, maybe watch a little TV, read a good book, perhaps even meditate, then maybe, just maybe, I’m lucky enough to shut out all the thoughts from the grinding day (not to mention what I need to accomplish tomorrow) long enough to go to sleep. Ah, yes — sleep! One of the greatest healers. To be able to go to sleep whenever I’d like, undoubtedly would be a great gift.
Well, the answer for people like me could be melatonin. It’s been called the master hormone because it helps set and control the body’s internal clock or “circadian rhythms” which cycle approximately once every 24 hours. Circa in Latin means around and dies means day. This is how our internal body clock is set up. But how it works is what you need to know.
When nighttime rolls around, our brain’s pea-sized pineal gland produces melatonin (a neurohormone) causing us to fall asleep. However, the level of secretion is greatly influenced by sunlight. Just as darkness triggers the release of melatonin, sunlight suppresses it. That’s why when I was a musician on the road during the 70’s, working all night until 4:00 a.m., sometimes 6:00 a.m., I’d get back to my hotel and was totally hyper. Once the sun was up, there was no way I could get to sleep. I wished I had known about melatonin then.
And have you ever suffered from jet lag? I have. It’s not fun. The symptoms include irritability, difficulty concentrating, headache, depression and fatigue. Melatonin can provide a quick readjustment of the body’s internal clock, thus relieving the symptoms of jet lag. The secret is to take the melatonin the night you arrive and you’ll recover faster — alert and full of energy the next day.
For people that don’t have a sleeping disorder, melatonin also offers an abundance of other benefits. It’s now recognized by scientists world-wide as a potential anti-aging substance that could prolong lifespan by preventing the killer diseases of aging. If your so-called “biological clock” is ticking, and whose isn’t, wouldn’t it be nice if you could shut it off for a while! As we age, the pineal gland produces less and less melatonin. Studies have shown that elderly patients have only half as much melatonin as compared to young adults. This is also why so many older people have trouble falling asleep at night.
Melatonin also has the capability to act as an antioxidant by neutralizing one of the most dangerous of all free-radicals, the “hydroxyl radical,” and freely enters and protects all parts of the body’s cells. Unlike other antioxidants, it fine tunes the cells, making whatever adjustments are needed to keep the body running efficiently. Research suggests that if the body doesn’t manufacture enough melatonin, it simply gets old and dies. That’s why people over 40 years of age may want to consider supplementing with melatonin. Slowing down the aging process also slows down the chance of heart disease, cancer and brain damage.
One of the physical problems of getting older is that the hormones that keep us young and supple begin to slow down, including melatonin, and the body has to constantly struggle to boost its immune system. Less and less hormones reach the DNA or genetic code, telling the body that it’s getting older. Even worse, a gradual depletion of melatonin may cause “diseases of the aged and subsequent death.”
Animal studies have shown that melatonin supplementation increases lifespan by an average of 25%. This is comparable to 20 extra years in human terms. Other studies show that melatonin helps prevent both the initiation and promotion of cancer, and when the production of melatonin is reduced, it leaves the cells of the body in a vulnerable state and susceptible to cancer-causing agents. This is especially important for people who live in and around electromagnetic fields caused by overhead power lines, computers, microwave ovens, household appliances, and cellular phones. Avoiding such exposure is virtually impossible because electromagnetic fields are everywhere.
Although melatonin is a very safe and natural supplement, it’s essential that it’s used properly. More is not always better. Take what you need and let the body do the rest. They say the appropriate dosage should be between 3 to 6 mg 1 hour before bedtime. Ironically, I really like the melatonin I’m getting from the UPTIME company (known for years for its ability to energize professional athletes with their herbs and vitamins).
They’ve come up with a sublingual formula that hits the blood stream almost immediately — a mixture of B-6 (pyridoxal5 phosphate), B-3 (niacin), chamomile, hops, passiflora, kava, valerian, skullcap, pure peppermint essence and other natural flavors. I dissolve in my mouth the three tablets that come in a packet the minute I want to go to sleep, and it’s not more than 10 minutes later that I can barely keep my eyes open. However, if I have to get up early, I can do so without any kind of drag or hangover. It’s really amazing. For people like me who go! go! go!, this is a real healing aid. And it’s nice to know that while I’m sleeping, I’m not getting older!
Give UPTIME a call at 800/441-5656 and tell them Spice sent you. Or ask your local health food store if they carry it. If not, I’m sure if you like it as much as I do, they’ll order it for you. UPTIME also has a website. You can link to it at www.up-time.com . Well, that’s all for now and sweet dreams…