I hate to say it but you’ve been fooled! Melatonin is a stress hormone! No not a vitamin, not an “all natural” support for sleep, and certainly not a supplement everyone should be taking. Marketing has done a great job at duping us once again! It is a highly profitable supplement bringing in millions per year.
“Many health food stores are now selling melatonin, to induce sleep and “prevent cancer.” They have taken some information out of context, and don’t realize how dangerous melatonin is. It makes the brain sluggish, causes the sex organs to shrink, + damages immunity shrinking the thymus gland. It is the hormone of darkness and winter, and is produced in the pineal gland by any stress which increases adrenaline.” – Peat
But Laura, “it knocks me out.” Sure, it can make you sleepy because it is impairing your brain and putting your body in hibernation mode (not a good thing). Drinking vodka can also “knock you out,” it’s also “natural”, should you be taking it to fall asleep? Eh no.
Melatonin slows your metabolism, adrenaline goes up in response. When adrenaline goes up, so does melatonin which further slows your metabolism, which worsens sleep.
As humans we perceive darkness as stress.
Stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol rise during darkness. These hormones when chronically high reduce metabolism, lower immunity, decrease blood flow to the intestines, and contribute to storage of belly fat.
Excess stress inducing melatonin increases prolactin levels in the body which can cause excess secretion of calcium in urine leading to mineral imbalances, anxiety, and osteoporosis.
On top of that, excess melatonin stimulates the production of estrogen and inhibits progesterone production causing infertility and every symptom that involves estrogen dominance.
The problem is not that your body is not producing enough melatonin. Why are you having trouble falling asleep in the first place? Look at how you spend your day, your stress levels, get light on your eyes upon waking snd balance blood sugar by eating enough during the day.
Here are six ways you can implement some of these sleep strategies before you reach for that stressful melatonin:
- Put devices away 2 hours before + use blue light blocking glasses + red light
- Eat a snack 30-60 minutes before bed to keep your blood sugar stable (make sure the snack has sugar + calcium – think dairy)
- Get to sleep before 10pm to prevent the stress hormone surge that happens after 10pm. Make sure you go to bed at the same time every night + wake up at the same time every morning regardless of the day.
- Stop all caffeine past 2pm
- Make sure your bedroom is a comfortable temperature, dark as possible, + use a fan for white noise. Sleep in light clothing or naked + use blackout curtains
- Try a weighted blanket, grounding pillowcase, + a pillow that supports your neck