Chemical of the Day: Melatonin!

Another past Facebook post that will definitely be discussed with further research and sources in a future blog post!

Let’s say after a trip overseas, or an abnormally long, hard day of work, you have trouble getting a proper night’s sleep- you might consider taking melatonin just before you hit the sack the following night(s). Melatonin’s job is to regulate your body’s sleep-wake cycle, i.e. the timing of sleep. You can purchase melatonin at drug and health stores, which may be useful when you’ve changed your bed time routine. It’s often advertised as a sleeping aid, like the brand in the photo shown here, but it’s technically not a sleep aid. Melatonin is not a drug or medication because it is a hormone that is naturally produced in your brain! There are articles out there that suggest eating different foods before bedtime that contain melatonin, like apples, strawberries and spinach. Unfortunately, only sour cherry extract may be the only food that is high enough to have an effect on your sleep cycle. You should eat these foods because they are good for you and full of nutrients, but they will not help you sleep! Melatonin is also produced in other parts of your body, such as your retinas, but the only melatonin that affects your sleeping pattern is released in your brain. Do you know why you have trouble sleeping when it’s light out? It’s because your body stops producing melatonin once it is light out!

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