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Melatonin

Transitioning from Wake to Sleep

Having a good night’s sleep is not always easy especially after having a busy day. The constant need to feel connected to the world 24/7 gives people increasing levels of stress and “busyness” which makes getting a good night’s sleep difficult. Thankfully, nature has many cues for us to follow to help us settle down from our busy, stressful lives to a peaceful sleep. At night there is an increase of darkness, decreased activity, and cooler temperatures that all contribute to our bodies feeling sleepy. By increasing these factors in our night routines we can get that good night’s sleep we need.Darkness releases melatonin, the natural chemical that helps put us to sleep. Dimming…

What is Non-24 Hour Sleep Wake Disorder?

Most people have a 24-hour circadian rhythm that is largely driven by light and darkness. Every 24 hours, you make a full cycle, going from being awake, to sleepy, to awake again. And unless you force your circadian rhythm to move earlier or later (like if you are a shift worker), it usually syncs with daylight and nighttime. But this isn’t true for everyone. If you have Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder (a.k.a. “Non-24”), your circadian rhythm isn’t always matched up with daytime and nighttime because your cycle is longer than 24 hours. As a result, you go from being on the same sleep cycle as everyone else to slowly shifting your sleepiness later and…

Is it Bad to Watch TV Right Before Bed?

It may seem harmless to veg in front of the TV before bed. You tune in, relax, zone out, and, eventually, you nod off. Plenty of people do it—as many as two-thirds of adults worldwide. But if your goal is to get a good night’s sleep, your best bet is to turn off the tube. One problem with bedtime TV watching is simply the temptation to stay up late to find out what happens next. Plus, violence, gore, or suspense may leave you feeling anxious and could contribute to tossing and turning. But neither of these is actually the main concern. The biggest problem is that the bright light that your TV screen emits may actually keep you…

Is Your Smartphone Ruining Your Sleep?

Smartphones make it easier than ever to be connected to the Internet at every waking moment. While that might make you feel like you’re always on top of things, that 24/7 connection to technology is actually unhealthy when you’re trying to fall asleep. The problem starts with the fact that 71 percent of people sleep either holding their smartphone, having it in bed with them, or having it on their nightstand. So many people use their smartphones as their alarm clocks, it makes sense that many would want their phones within an arm’s reach. But when your cell is that close to you, the temptation to check social media sites, work email, and/or the…

What Is Melatonin?

How the ups and downs of Melatonin affect your snooze time A hormone that’s made by the pineal gland in the brain, melatonin helps control your daily sleep-wake cycles. Your body’s internal clock (also known as your circadian rhythm) influences how much melatonin the pineal gland makes, and so does the amount of light that you’re exposed to each day. Typically, melatonin levels start to rise in the mid-to-late evening, after the sun has set. They stay elevated for most of the night while you’re in the dark. Then, they drop in the early morning as the sun rises, causing you to awaken.

Get The Facts on Over-the-Counter Sleep Aids

An insider’s guide to sleep aids Does this sound familiar? You exercise regularly, avoid caffeine, and ease into bed with a soothing shower and a good book, yet you still spend half the night counting sheep. If that sounds like a regular bedtime routine for you, chances are you’ve considered taking an over-the-counter sleep aid. But before you browse the pharmacy aisles, get the lowdown on which over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aid does what (and which you should skip) with this guide. Melatonin: Your sleep/wake cycle is partly controlled by a hormone called melatonin, which is available in supplement form. Taking melatonin may help you fall asleep and can be used to recover from…

Three Reasons That the Sun Makes You Tired

Is the sun sapping your energy? How to fight back If you’ve ever felt drained and exhausted after spending a day at the beach, it’s not a fluke. Long hours of sun exposure really can make you tired—but it’s probably not for the reasons that you think. For one thing, it doesn’t mean that you’ve overdosed on vitamin D. But it could mean that the following factors have set you up to feel tired. 1. Your Body Is Trying to Control Its Temperature. Normally, your body works hard to maintain a consistent internal temperature. But when you’re exposed to direct heat while spending time in the sun, your body ends up working overtime to keep you cool….

How Much Melatonin Should You Really Be Taking?

Just the right dose can help you sleep peacefully. For the millions of people who have trouble falling—and staying—asleep, melatonin can sometimes be the solution. The powerful hormone is naturally produced in your brain and sends the message to your body that it’s nighttime and time to hit the hay. You can also take it as a supplement—it’s sold over-the-counter at your local drugstore. People commonly make the mistake of assuming that taking higher doses of melatonin will lead to better shut-eye. But the opposite is true: Too much taken at once can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or irritability, all of which can disrupt your sleep. So talk to your doctor,…