Melatonin is a hormone which acts as an antioxidant. It is produced in a pineal gland, in our brains, and in complete darkness. Melatonin levels start to rise while we sleep, and they drop when the sun rises. The hormone is dependent on the rhythm of night and day. When we feel stressed and can't get enough sleep, our melatonin synthesis drops and this speeds up the aging process and also increases the chances of other degenerate states. Among other things, melatonin synthesis drops due to high levels of cortisol, electronic radiation, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
If we want to encourage the natural production of this hormone, we need to go to sleep early and sleep in complete darkness, and with respect to nature - wake up when the sun rises and rest when the sun sets.
In the case of melatonin deficiency which we can find in most patients with chronic diseases, specialists may prescribe melatonin supplement in the form of a capsule. It is also advised to take melatonin supplement when you are regularly taking certain drugs (e.g. for high blood pressure). Furthermore, melatonin levels lower with age and unhealthy lifestyle. But let's not forget: if we move with the rhythm of nature, our body, in most cases, provides us with adequate amounts of melatonin.
Am I lacking melatonin?
We can see if we lack melatonin by: dreamless sleep, unbalanced biorhythm, chronic fatigue syndrome, signs of early aging of skin and hair, hyperpigmentation, restlessness, etc. We can measure if we have adequate amounts of melatonin with saliva or urine sampling.
How do we increase melatonin levels?
We must sleep in complete darkness as well as spending time outdoors in natural light. This contrast between dark and light boosts production of melatonin in the pineal gland. We should spend the time before we go to sleep relaxed, with the help of meditation and breathing techniques. We should remove all electronic devices in our bedroom and clearly separate the time between the start and end of the day. If we follow these tips we won't consider sleeping as a necessary evil but as a health and beauty treatment.