Getting adequate sleep is critical to good health. Sleep is when our bodies repair themselves and prepare for the next day’s activities. Melatonin, an important antioxidant hormone produced while we’re sleeping, plays a big role in the work of rejuvenating the body each night. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re probably not producing enough melatonin to maintain good health.
Poor sleep often creates a greater risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and more. You may have noticed that when you’re sleep-deprived, you tend to have lower cognition, less energy, and an impaired immune system. Better quality sleep can significantly reduce these conditions.
But for those over 50, it may not be easy to get the sleep your body needs. As we age, our bodies produce less melatonin, which affects the quality of our sleep and our bodies’ ability to repair themselves. If you follow the guidelines I recently shared for practicing better sleep hygiene and you still struggle to get a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, you may benefit from a melatonin supplement.
Fortunately, melatonin is available over the counter in a variety of forms, from liquid to chewables to tablets, so it’s easy to take. Healthy patients who have trouble sleeping can take melatonin at bedtime and review how they feel in the morning. Melatonin can often transform their sleep patterns so they feel more rested and rejuvenated each day.
Melatonin is a safe, natural supplement, but talk to a medical professional before taking melatonin if you’re under 18 years of age, have an autoimmune disease, or take prescription medication for high blood pressure, diabetes, blood clotting, or epilepsy. Don’t take melatonin before driving or operating equipment.
For my patients over 50 who have trouble falling or staying asleep, I recommend taking 60 mg of melatonin at bedtime. If the patient gets better quality sleep from that dose, I suggest gradually raising the dosage over a period of days until the patient is taking 180 mg of melatonin each night before bedtime. Often, the result is a more alert, well-rested patient who’s also helping her body repair its tissues and maintain better health each night.
I’d love to tell you more about how melatonin can dramatically change your health. Call my office to schedule a consultation today.