Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain during sleep time. It has a critical role to play when it comes to health and wellness. If the circadian rhythm is uninterrupted and healthy, the pineal gland in the brain starts the release of melatonin as darkness happens.
In other words, light and darkness regulate melatonin release. During daytime when the light is abundant, it inhibits the release of melatonin. On the other hand, darkness stimulates the pineal gland to release this hormone. As the release starts, it promotes sleep. This is why we get drowsy and eventually goes to sleep.
Powerful Antioxidant and Anti-Cancer
Melatonin has a powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer property. And, since this it is released only while sleeping, having a quality sleep and making a habit of having regular sleep is important for overall health and wellness. Hence, do what you can do avoid those things that can disrupt your sleep cycle.
Today’s most notorious sleep disruptor is the blue light emitted by LEDs used in smartphones, computer monitors and even LED bulbs. It does mean these technological advancements is totally bad, as a user, be responsible on using such gadgets. Turn them off or avoid using them 1 to 3 hours prior to bed.
Hopefully, you’re aware of the sunlight health benefits. However, the cycle of day and night is normal and has been occurring since the beginning of time. So, there’s no need to worry about sunlight but enjoy its benefits. On the other hand, blue light is man-made and when used irresponsibly, a user can use it until late night disrupting the sleep cycle or circadian rhythm, which is also known as the body’s internal clock system.
It is vital to maintaining the regular cycle of sleep and the release of this particular hormone. Experts say that melatonin is 5 times as powerful as Vitamin C and twice as powerful as Vitamin E. Do you recognize the benefits of melatonin by these facts alone?
During sleep, it does it work replacing damage cells and sweeping out free radicals. These free radicals are leftovers or spare electrons from the process of making the energy the previous day. Through this process, melatonin is also considered an antiaging hormone.
Low Melatonin Level Side-Effects
On the other hand, a low level of melatonin can compromise the body’s immune system making it less capable of responding to threats inside the body.
- Compromised and less competent immune system
- Vulnerability to disease due to weak immune system
- Sleep disorders happen like insomnia
- Heart complications
- Higher risk of developing breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men
- Increased risk of autism in children
People who are working on night shifts have a high risk of low melatonin level. As a matter of fact, the IARC(International Agency for Research on Cancer) classified working on night shift is a probably Class 2 carcinogen. The American Cancer Society also listed it as among the probable human carcinogens.
Brain Cleansing Occurs During Sleep
Another important thing about having and maintaining a normal sleep cycle is that the brain performs its cleansing process while we’re sleeping. This particular system in the brain is called the glymphatic system. It flushes out the protein left as wastes while the brain processed information during the day.
Role of Melatonin For Cancer Prevention
We’ve just learned that low level of melatonin can compromise the immune system. On the other hand, having normal level boosts the immune system. A good and healthy immune system can suppress cancer.
Russel J. Reiter of UT Health Science Center talks about melatonin’s role in cancer prevention. Interestingly enough, the blue light is mentioned and it’s this light bandwidth that inhibits melatonin production.
Studies4 have show that melatonin supplementation works in certain situation such as jet lag. In that study, supplementation also improve insomnia on healthy adults.
Should you choose to take a supplement, consider talking to a qualified individual or a healthcare provider for appropriate guidance. As always, aiming to stay healthy is always a good idea. When you live and practice a healthy way of life, it always supports everything the body needs to stay fit and healthy.