Supplementing With Melatonin – Will it Give You a Good Night Sleep?

One of the most popular, natural, and safe supplements for better rest these days is melatonin. But whether you’re curious about it or you’re actually taking it right now, you might not know very much about it. Some people still don’t understand what melatonin actually is, how it helps people get to sleep more quickly, or why it’s so effective at helping them stay asleep all night long and making them feel refreshed the next morning. If you happen to be one of these curious people, then you’re in the right place. Get ready to learn everything you need to know about melatonin!

Melatonin Is an Important Part of the Circadian Rhythm

Your body’s internal clock – otherwise known as your circadian rhythm – is naturally in sync with sunrise and nightfall. In a nutshell, your circadian rhythm consists of many different physiological responses to not just the time of day, but your eating and exercise habits as well. Your circadian rhythm plays a large part in controlling the balance of hormones in your body, especially those hormones responsible for making you feel sleepy when you need to rest and making you feel wakeful during the day.

The main hormone responsible for helping you sleep and feel groggy is melatonin. Your body is supposed to naturally produce melatonin at night after the sun goes down. The low levels of light – especially bright blue light – send a signal to your brain which flips on the melatonin switch. This is essential because when humans don’t sleep, when we don’t sleep enough, or when we get poor quality sleep, we miss out on the opportunity to repair the damage we sustain from everyday activities.

Unfortunately, due to modern inventions, we aren’t as in sync with nature and with our circadian rhythm as we used to be. For example, we no longer have the luxury of low light triggering normal, healthy amount of melatonin production in our brains. The bright blue light from electronic devices like our TVs, cell phones, tablets, and computers tricks our brain into thinking it’s still daytime. If our brain thinks it’s still daytime, it doesn’t produce melatonin. And without melatonin, you won’t feel sleepy. For a lot of people – especially people who cannot tear themselves away from a glowing screen, regardless of the time of day – low levels of melatonin may be a major factor in why they have trouble sleeping.

Is it Possible to Boost Melatonin Naturally?

Yes, it is absolutely possible to help your body produce more melatonin in a healthy, natural way. All it takes is picking up a few new habits, or changing a few old bad habits for the better. Try starting with:

  • Mindfulness meditation. Meditation, when done correctly, can help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your blood, leaving room for your body to produce more melatonin
  • Expose yourself to more natural light in the morning. This early morning exposure reduces melatonin levels after you wake up so that your body will produce more at night. It also increases hormone levels which induce wakefulness and give you energy during the day
  • Starting at about 2 hours before your bedtime after the sun has gone down, try as best you can to limit your exposure to electronic light. As we’ve already said, little or no blue light at night flips the melatonin switch in your brain to the “on” position
  • Invest in affordable accessories that will block out all ambient light in your room, such as blackout curtains or a thick, comfortable sleep mask. The darker your sleeping space, the better it is for your sleep

If you’re a gadget junkie who cannot turn off the TV or the computer at night, here’s an alternative strategy: blue light blocker glasses. The lenses have a yellowish tint and help neutralize electronic blue light, which helps your brain produce more melatonin when it should. But if you follow all of this advice and still believe you aren’t producing enough melatonin, the next step is to move on to melatonin supplements.

Melatonin Benefits More Than Just Your Sleep

If you really want to argue in favor of melatonin, you have plenty of evidence to back up your case. Some of that evidence isn’t even directly related to sleep. For example: melatonin is a very potent antioxidant. Every single cell in your body naturally produces oxidative damage as the result of its everyday activities. Too much oxidative damage will lead to premature aging and chronic disease. But antioxidants like melatonin help reduce the unhealthy accumulation of oxidative damage. This keeps your cells healthier for longer, delays the aging process, and can even give you tons of energy.

In addition to being an antioxidant, melatonin reduces inflammation, too. It’s especially important to supplement with melatonin in the winter months because it can help boost your immunity when you’re exposed to a virus or a bacterial infection. Lastly, although melatonin is produced by your brain, it can help heal your brain, too. People with certain mental health conditions and/or chronic headaches have reported some symptom alleviation with melatonin supplementation. Just understand that even though melatonin can potentially be helpful, it is not a cure. And it certainly should not replace whatever advice your doctor has given you. But in recommended dosage levels it is safe and healthy to try. It also has few – if any – reactions with other drugs, including prescription drugs.

Sleep Supplements With Melatonin

Here’s the next question: do you only supplement with melatonin by itself? Or do you add other natural sleep inducing ingredients into the mix? If you ask the people who came up with Avinol PM, they will obviously answer the second half of that question in the affirmative. If you don’t believe us, all you have to do is look at the ingredients list on the back of the box to confirm.

Avinol PM includes a potent, highly bioavailable form of melatonin and its formula. It also includes natural ingredients like hops, chamomile, and valerian root. People have used these extracts for centuries in order to relax before bed. You can try and supplement with melatonin on its own first before trying Avinol PM. Don’t let us stop you. But if it’s not enough, or if you’re still struggling with other sleep issues, we highly recommend you give Avinol PM a try!

REM Sleep – It’s Good for Your Brain!

Did you know that your sleep is not just one static, monotonous state? Sleep is actually a very dynamic process. You go through many different stages of sleep while you rest through the night. REM sleep is one of those stages. You may be more familiar with it as the part of your sleep where you dream. But REM sleep is a lot more complex and important than just a few crazy images flashing through your brain. In this article, you’re going to learn all about REM sleep and just how essential it is for human health and well-being.

Defining REM Sleep

The acronym REM in REM sleep is shorthand for rapid eye movement, which is one of the most telltale signs of this particular sleep stage. Back in the day when scientists began to research human sleep cycles, they noticed patients and study subjects experiencing patterns of rapid, random back and forth eye movement during certain sections of their sleep. Aside from the eyes, though, nearly every other skeletal muscle in the human body is paralyzed during REM sleep. Scientists refer to this as atonia. Experiments on animals have shown that when REM sleep atonia is interrupted in any way, the animals walk around and move as though acting out their dreams, despite being completely asleep. It is strongly believed that the same thing happens in humans, i.e. sleepwalking. It seems like atonia is a natural defense mechanism to save us from ourselves when we dream.

Thanks to advanced technologies these days, we can empirically observe exactly what happens in the brain during REM sleep. For starters, brain wave activity changes dramatically. Throughout a REM cycle your brain can change from emitting alpha to theta and all the way up to high frequency beta waves. Scientists were puzzled by this at first, because high frequency beta waves are usually only observed when someone is fully conscious and undergoing complex mental tasks. Some scientists even like the joke that REM sleep is paradoxical sleep, because of the brain is behaving almost the same way it would if it was conscious – despite being completely asleep.

The Importance of REM Sleep for the Brain

It’s not just that your brain waves are more active during REM sleep; certain parts of your brain also get a good workout that they can’t get at any other point in your sleep cycle. Without REM sleep, your brain cannot consolidate, process, or store long-term memories of your experiences from the previous day. Your brain also goes through an emotional rollercoaster while in paradoxical sleep because the emotional sectors of your brain light up and become much more active. This helps explain why dreams have such a powerful effect on us.

Scientific studies show that people who try to take a lot of information in or perform many complicated tasks on a given day will spend a significant amount of time in REM sleep that same night. Science has also discovered that in all stages of childhood – from infancy all the way into a person’s teenage years – REM sleep takes up the biggest chunk of the human sleep cycle. Your brain uses REM sleep to prune the tree, so to speak. It breaks down neurons it doesn’t use and redistributes those resources to the parts of your brain you use the most. So the phrase “use-it-or-lose-it” as just as true for the brain as it is anywhere else in your body (or life, for that matter).

Negative consequences of disrupted REM Sleep

If you don’t get enough REM sleep, the consequences can be more severe than you would think. For example:

  • Poor REM sleep reduces your ability to cope with emotional stress
  • Poor REM sleep has been linked to more frequent, more painful migraines
  • Waking up tired and groggy is a common side effect of little or no REM sleep
  • Lack of REM sleep contributes to unwanted weight gain
  • Lack of REM sleep will eventually force you into rebound REM sleep, which is characterized by vivid dreams, night terrors, and delirium tremens in rare cases
  • Insufficient REM sleep leaves your brain vulnerable to chronic and age-related brain diseases
  • Poor REM sleep dismantles your ability to store long-term memories

As important as REM sleep obviously is, you’d think that it would be the easiest to get, right? Unfortunately, no. When your body isn’t getting quality rest, one of the first sleep stages to get sacrificed is REM sleep. But if you put in a little effort, you can make sure that your body dedicates a healthy chunk of its sleep cycle directly towards getting all the REM sleep you could possibly want.

How to Get More REM Sleep

There are certain substances you need to avoid if you’re having trouble getting the REM sleep you need to stay healthy. These include:

  • Cannabis
  • Alcohol
  • Antihistamines
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Certain antidepressants – especially MAOIs, SSRIs, and TCAs

Avoiding these substances is easier said than done. Alcohol and weed are more obvious, but can be hard to avoid depending on how you relax socially. Other things can be more insidious. Most people don’t know, for example, that the main ingredient in most over-the-counter sleeping pills is an antihistamine. Furthermore, most doctors won’t tell you that certain antidepressants can have a negative impact on your REM sleep. The sad truth is that most doctors don’t even know themselves that this is the case. It’s up to you and your medical practitioner to weigh the pros and cons of sacrificing your REM sleep for the potential benefits of taking a particular antidepressant medication. We can’t give you any medical advice on that subject here.

Before you reach for the drugs, prescription or otherwise, try to improve your sleep hygiene. Even changing small behaviors, such as avoiding electronic light before bed or taking an evening walk after dinner can have a pretty big impact. But if you must take something, make sure it’s a natural sleep aid like Avinol PM about half an hour before bed. The natural extracts and safe ingredients won’t interfere with REM sleep. On the contrary – it’ll help you get to sleep naturally so that it’s easier for your body to get all of the REM sleep it needs. So don’t just do it for better sleep; do it for better REM sleep.