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What's the Deal With: Melatonin

What's the Deal With: Melatonin

Lack of sleep getting you down? It seems like a fair amount of you don't feel like you get enough sleep. That is a bit worrisome since a good night's sleep is a vital ingredient for good health. So if you're plagued by insomnia, you might want to know about melatonin. It is a hormone that helps to control the sleep wake cycle, and it is derived from the amino acid we most commonly associate with sleep, tryptophan. Since darkness triggers the release of melatonin, natural levels of the hormone are highest just before bedtime. While melatonin has been proven only mildly effective as a sleep aid for insomniacs, it may play a stronger role in overcoming jet lag.

Melatonin comes in a synthetic supplement form, however, it can cause a few side effects, which can include: daytime sleepiness, dizziness, headaches and abdominal discomfort. The optimal dose of melatonin has not been determined, and its long term effects have not been tested either. I did find the sleep aid drink Dreamerz, which contains melatonin, tasty and effective.

Fit's Tip: If you are using melatonin to fight jet lag, you should take it on the first day of travel close to the bedtime of your destination. You must take it every 24 hours for several days for it to help alleviate the symptoms of jet lag.

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