What You Should Look For?
Sleep is one of our basic natural needs and one of the key levers for improving your own performance. The most important role when it comes to “sleep” is played by our sleep hormone melatonin. In this article, you will learn what melatonin is exactly, what it does in your body, and how it can help you deal with sleep disorders and lastly – where you can buy Melatonin in the UK.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is your natural sleep hormone. Melatonin is made from the feel-good hormone serotonin in the so-called pineal gland in your brain. The sleep hormone naturally controls your day-night rhythm and ensures that you get tired in the evening and fall asleep and wake up the next morning. The production of melatonin is controlled by the light or by the absence of light, that is the darkness in the evening. Your natural melatonin level rises naturally as soon as it gets darker outside and reaches its peak in the night between 0 and 2 o’clock. At the same time, deep sleep occurs. Thereafter, your melatonin level drops again, and the more the brighter it gets outside and the more light falls on your eye. As a logical consequence, you wake up the next morning and are fit and ready for the next morning. Disruptions in your melatonin balance can occur accordingly, if your natural biorhythm is confused – for example by shift-work or crossing several time zones, ie; jetlag.
Take-home message # 1: Melatonin is a natural hormone that is produced in the pineal gland in your brain and controls your day-night rhythm. Melatonin makes you tired in the evening and is responsible for your sleep quality.
How does the sleep hormone in your body?
A study by the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at Cambridge in the UK has demonstrated the two key effects of melatonin. On the one hand, it improves the depth and thus the quality of sleep. The higher the melatonin level at night, the less you wake up and the fitter you feel the next morning. But the study in Cambridge also revealed another effect. For the test subjects, it ensured that the time to fall asleep was shortened. Especially the evening fight to finally fall asleep, is familiar to many. No matter how tired you are, your thoughts can not be switched off and sleep just will not come. If that sounds familiar to you, taking melatonin might be interesting to you.
The circadian system – this is how your biorhythm works
But again from the beginning: Our natural sleep rhythm is evolutionary-biological and has not changed for 1000 years. Simplified, you sleep because the two hormones melatonin and cortisol alternate in your body. In the morning at about 7 o’clock the concentration of the stress hormone cortisol is highest. As an antagonist to melatonin, cortisol keeps you awake during the day, steadily decreasing throughout the day. In the evening, the level of the sleep hormone melatonin in the blood rises, which makes you tired and makes it possible for you to sleep.
Humans follow a built-in rhythm that adapts to light and darkness, following our built-in 24-hour clock. The hormones rise and fall for one reason only: they are dependent on light. In addition to sleep, this built-in 24-hour clock, also known as Circadian Rhythm, affects the release of many other hormones, regulating your immune system, blood pressure, mental performance, and more.
To move in harmony with this natural cycle is therefore not only extremely important for a good night’s sleep! Attention, now it gets even more complex: This cycle, is controlled by another hormone, namely the so-called happiness hormone “serotonin”. Serotonin forms the precursor of melatonin and is thus the basis for the sleep hormone. At the same time, the first hack comes into play for you.
You can influence the amount of serotonin in your body and thus the question of how good or bad your internal clock is! Your serotonin level can be e.g. push up through a lot of sunlight.
A recent study by the Amercian Academy of Sleep Medicine shows that people who expose themselves to more sunlight have seen a significant improvement in their sleep.
The more time you spend in the sun, the better you can sleep at night. This cycle is also the reason for the famous “winter depression”. Since we clearly get too little sun or vitamin D in winter, the level of the well-being and happiness hormone serotonin is reduced. Sleep is now clear, but what does the antagonist do cortisol on the day? The “stress hormone” has a much too bad reputation because it is important for your health and physical performance. Cortisol can be understood as the natural caffeine shot. It lets you get out of bed in the morning, makes you alert and alert.
Take-home message # 2: Melatonin is produced from serotonin in the evening. The more sun you use during the day, the higher your serotonin level and thus the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Therefore try e.g. to spend your lunch break outdoors or to work or cycle to work. With this you are on the way to a better sleep!
Why sleep is so important to your health
Sleep is an annoying waste of time for most people and they try to save it as much as possible, because the true achievements are accomplished during the day. You see that as well? Then think about it here: While you sleep, your body performs true miracles. It is not important to stay in bed as long as possible, it is more about good quality sleep. Our sleep quality can be measured, for example, by means of the REM phases (rapid-eye-movement) and the proportion of deep sleep phases. The quality determines whether you wake up full of power or tired and with edges under the eyes. Numerous studies conducted at Oxford University have demonstrated the beneficial effects of adequate REM sleep on brain function, metabolism and immune system. But if you suffer from a deficiency, you are no longer yourself. After only 24 hours without Sleep gets up to 6% less glucose in your brain and your prefrontal cortex. This is important for thinking and decision-making processes, as well as for social interaction. Do you sleep too little, you dull and make wrong decisions. During sleep, the most important information of the day is sorted, stored and your brain is sort of reset. Without it, you will never be able to perform well, because good sleep is your natural energy boost. The data from an American sleep tracking company showed that a lack of sleep can drastically increase your risk for various diseases. For example, if there is a deficiency, the risk of cancer increases by 200% and that of heart disease by 100%. * You are beginning to realize why good sleep is so important? That’s good and it gets a lot better. Your sleep or the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for your sleep-wake cycle, can easily be “manipulated”.
Take-home message # 3: Sleep disorders and lack of sleep can make you sick and confuse your metabolism. Your mindset decreases and you start making wrong decisions
Melatonin as an antioxidant
In research, melatonin is also known as an antioxidant. This is partly because melatonin can increase the production of enzymes (such as hyperoxide dismutase, catalase) ⁵, which in turn reinforce the antioxidant glutathione. On the other hand, melatonin can also bind itself to free radicals, rendering it harmless to the human body. Melatonin binds a free radical, triggering a chain reaction and converting the molecule into other antioxidant compounds. Through this property, melatonin can protect the mitochondria, ie the energy power plants of the body, the cells and just important organs of the body from free radicals and oxidative stress.
How melatonin protects your mitochondria
Mitochondria are the parts of the cell that produce energy. They have their own DNA. As energy power plants of the body, they are vital for survival. The nucleus and mitochondria contain the most melatonin⁶, but mitochondrial energy production leads to the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNA) as a waste product of energy. Finally, ROS and RNA can damage the DNA of mitochondria and proteins, rendering them unable to produce energy. In the worst case, damage of this kind can even lead to cell death (apoptosis). Melatonin can therefore help organs that are most dependent on the mitochondria, such as the brain and the heart.
Use melatonin as a natural sleep aid
To combat sleep disorders, many resort to the use of melatonin to improve sleep. Even those who have to turn night into day, ie working at night or suffering jetlag after long-haul flights, often use melatonin as a dietary supplement to find their way back to natural ryhthm faster. According to current case law, individual special manufacturers in Germany are allowed to sell melatonin as a dietary supplement with a daily dose of up to 1 mg, while higher doses are also available in the US. Particularly exciting: A meta-study by the US elite university MIT has been able to confirm the positive effect of melatonin on sleep in low dosages.⁸ To this end, Prof. Richard Wurtman and other scientists and researchers examined a total of 17 high-quality studies on melatonin. The result: particularly small doses of 0.3 mg to 1 mg of melatonin administered orally can help to reduce sleep time, provide better sleep quality and a better morning feeling. Higher doses of melatonin, on the other hand, seem to be rather counterproductive, as they may go beyond the body’s natural melatonin production and habituation effects and side effects may occur. The background is that the natural production of melatonin starts about 60 minutes before bedtime, rises constantly and drops again about 90-180 minutes before waking up. Higher supplementation of the hormone with e.g. 5 mg, therefore, spins up this process so that you wake up sooner and your sleep quality suffers.
Take-Home-Message # 4: The use of melatonin as a dietary supplement is allowed according to current legislation in the USA and a lot of countries worldwide. Limitations in Europe apply to the UK, Germany, Italy and the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Melatonin can reduce sleep disorders and reduce the time you fall asleep.
Does melatonin help with jet lag?
Many buy the natural sleep aid because of its anti-jet lag effect. Especially in long-haul flights and the associated time shift or shift workers who often have to work at night, the normal sleep-wake rhythm gets out of rhythm. The consequences are sleep problems, disturbed eating habits and difficulty concentrating. Due to a jet lag, the overall performance drops drastically. To understand how jetlag is fought, you first need to know something about the human’s internal clock. The so-called circadian rhythm regulates all important processes of the body within 24 hours. Jet lag messes up melatonin production, leaving many awake while sleeping normally. Buying and taking melatonin will help your body get back into the right rhythm faster and sleep better.
Dosage and Side Effects: What should I watch out for when taking melatonin?
If you decide to buy melatonin, you should pay attention to a few more things. The natural sleep aid should always be taken one hour before sleep, so that the calming effect can develop optimally. Also, you should first start with the intake of low doses up to 1 mg, because as already described, just achieve low doses better positive effects than high doses. The good thing about the natural sleep aid: It has no side effects at this dose. However, if you take the wrong time or if you take too much of a dose, you may experience disturbances in the sleep-wake cycle as a side effect. In children and during pregnancy or breast-feeding, however, should be dispensed with taking the capsules.
For which occupational groups is melatonin relevant?
Basically, anyone can take the natural sleep aid and that without hesitation. Thus, it will be interesting for anyone who has to fight through their profession with an irregular sleep-wake cycle. Above all, it affects shift workers, who get into a kind of permanent jet due to their job. These include:
Pilots or stewardesses, for example, have to cope with extreme working hours on long-haul flights. In particular, the large time shift at the point of arrival and the required performance during a night flight, when the body is actually set to sleep, may in the long run cause a disturbed sleep rhythm. It also happens to another professional group, for which the intake of melatonin can be interesting. Shift workers, such as hospital staff, are not only struggling with nightly work, they also have to cope with extreme stress and always remain fully resilient. There is a restful sleep elementary. Also taxi drivers are affected. Those who get tired behind the wheel quickly risk not only their own lives but also those of many others. Thus, it is extremely important for taxi drivers to be fully efficient during the night and to sleep well during the day. For all those professionals who have an irregular work schedule or need to work at night, taking melatonin can be a good remedy for sleep disorders.
Where can I buy melatonin?
The purchase of melatonin is possible without a prescription in Germany in the form of melatonin-containing foods. In the form of medicines, however, melatonin is a prescription in Germany and can only be obtained with a prescription at the pharmacy. The non-prescription products also include Dr Backhaus melatonin sleeping tablets which contain 8 mg of melatonin per daily dose and other plant substances that have a relaxing effect. This makes it one of the dietary foods that can be purchased without a prescription. In combination with the natural substances such as passion flower and lemon balm, Dr Backhaus melatonin sleeping tablets is the perfect way to significantly increase your sleep quality. Dr Backhaus melatonin sleeping tablets is manufactured in the UK under the strictest of guidelines and has no animal ingredients. This makes it 100% vegan. The passion flower, as a natural ingredient, has a calming and anticonvulsant power, which has a positive effect against nervousness and anxiety. Lemon balm works against evening restlessness that disturbs falling asleep. Dr Backhaus also helps to turn off the light in the evening, to reduce stress and to recover better.
Naturally hack the melatonin level
We now know that your melatonin level determines your sleep quality. You can also boost your natural melatonin production in the pineal gland of your brain. With the following 3 tips you will improve your sleep and chop your melatonin.
1. Eliminate light sources and use Blueblocker
Light off, is the motto. Did you know that there are also light receptors in your skin that send signals to your brain? Therefore, it is not enough to wear a sleep mask. It is best to sleep in as dark a room as possible. Studies by Harvard University have shown that the level of melatonin in the blood may be as much as 50% lower when it is lit while sleeping. Definitely not recommended and certainly not relaxing! You still read the latest news in bed and watch a series on the laptop? You better take care not to expose yourself to artificial, blue light at least 1 hour before you go to bed, because the blue light is stimulating and makes you awake. Another study from Harvard University found that devices in the bedroom emitting the blue light can confuse the sleep-wake cycle and reduce the number of REM phases. The blue light inhibits the production of melatonin and enhances it Production of cortisol. It makes the feeling of tiredness disappear and ensures that your sleep time increases. Risk as no sleep disturbances by blue light, but use Blueblocker or just grab again to a book. Learn more about blue light in our sleep guide.
2. When and not how long sleep
If you want high-quality, good sleep, you should make sure to go to bed early. The so-called “royal sleep” is between 22-2 clock. During this period, the most beneficial hormone secretion takes place – in other words, the hormone melatonin is the most concentrated during this period. Research has suggested that kings sleep is a natural function of nature to adapt to the rhythm of light and dark. For example, a study by the National Cancer Institute at Oxford University shows that nurses who work regularly at night and live against the natural rhythm of nature have a greater risk of disease.¹⁰ When it gets dark on Earth, we go in and out of our inner self Watch sleep too. Immediately after falling asleep, the secretion of the growth hormone Somatropin is highest. It positively influences the regeneration of your body cells and is a natural makeover. King’s sleep is, in a sense, the best anti-aging program you can get and will make sure you have the power right the next morning!
3. Eat smarter, sleep better
Eating and good sleep are related, because the stomach and intestines are not just there to digest your dinner. There are about 30 different neurotransmitters in the gut, about the same as in the brain. Did you know that 95% of your hormones are produced in the gut? That is why the digestive tract has been given the name “The second brain”. In addition to the many neurotransmitters, the intestine can produce one thing above all else: melatonin, and many more than the brain! For an optimal production of melatonin, your gut must be fine and the colonization of your gut with good intestinal bacteria is important. You can achieve this by probiotics or by the right diet. In principle, every industrially manufactured food contains harmful substances. The more natural and rich in vitamins, the better for the balance of your intestines and thus for your good sleep. Particularly good foods containing melatonin are e.g. Pistachios or cherries. It is still important when it is eaten. If we eat late and above all a lot of carbohydrates before going to bed, insulin levels rise massively. A study from Sydney University shows that about 4 hours before sleep, no large amounts of carbohydrates should be eaten, otherwise there is an increase in the time to fall asleep and a reduction in the REM phases
Take Home Message # 5: Light, Sport, Food, Time … There are plenty of ways to improve your sleep and melatonin production. The changes do not necessarily have to be huge. However, any small improvement can help your sleep quality improve step by step. Just try it out and test sleep as the secret ingredient for more power and performance!