Friday, April 19, 2024

Deep dive into your sleep journey

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Humans on average spend close to about one-third of their life sleeping. Regarded as an essential part of our daily routine, sleep plays a vital role in the survival of human beings.
In the early 1950s, sleep was usually perceived as a passive activity during which the body and brain remains dormant. But that wasn’t the case. Multiple studies conducted over the years have revealed that our brain is engaged in numerous activities that are essential for our life.

According to sleep researchers, Circadian rhythms play a huge role in our sleep cycle. The biological clock that regulates circadian rhythms is housed deep within the brain and is known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus site (SCN]. The SCN controls our sleep by forwarding day-night circadian signals to the brain and body.

Dr YongChiat Wong, Group Scientist, Medical & Technical Affairs, P&G Health, Asia Pacific, India, Middle East, and Africa, discusses with us one of the crucial factors that allow us all to embark on our sleep journey.

The beauty sleep signal:
Do you know that a substance produced by our human body coordinates our entire sleep cycle? This natural product found in plants, animals and humans is well known in the sleep health space. It’s nothing but Melatonin.

Melatonin is a central body substance to coordinating sleep. Melatonin is produced mainly by the pineal gland. Darkness stimulates the synthesis of melatonin and hence about 80% of Melatonin is produced at night.

How does melatonin work?
Imagine an Olympic race where runners are ready to begin their journey towards winning the cup. Melatonin is an office that says, “Runners, on your mark!”, and fires the pistol for the body to race to sleep. Interestingly, Melatonin is found also to be a potent antioxidant, with proven antihypertensive and lipid-regulating effects.

The wondrous benefits of Melatonin:
Melatonin has other benefits beyond sleep such as below:

It has been demonstrated that melatonin, among other things, has anti-inflammatory properties. Through a variety of mechanisms, melatonin lessens tissue damage during inflammatory reactions. Melatonin lowers macromolecular damage in all organs via its capacity to scavenge harmful free radicals.

Cardiovascular health:
Melatonin has been studied in numerous studies as having essential roles in cardiovascular disease and possibly possessing anti-ageing characteristics. Melatonin can regulate platelet physiology and protects the vascular endothelium which in turn contributes to preventing cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that Melatonin could reduce heart rate and blood pressure.

Melatonin is shown to have neuroprotective effects and influences neuroplasticity, indicating potential antidepressant benefits.

Metabolic and immune health:
The antioxidant properties of Melatonin are linked to a decreased risk of infection and weight gain in obese patients through the modulation of the immune response.
It has a significant positive impact on inflammation and, consequently, on the metabolic state.

But with time what happens to our body’s hero substance? Melatonin production peaks during childhood but sadly decreases as we age. After our 30s, we may produce less than half the melatonin we did as a child. This may increase the prevalence of sleeping issues as we age together with our lifestyle changes.

Apart from age, other factors too affect the production of this hero substance. Melatonin production is reduced with blue-light-emitting devices. Since melatonin synthesis is stimulated by darkness, just 2 hours of exposure to blue-light-emitting devices may result in a measurable reduction in Melatonin production.

Is it possible to supplement your Melatonin level?
Melatonin is a naturally occurring product found in dietary sources and has been detected in over 250 types of foods like pistachios, eggs and salmon. Yes, consuming Melatonin-rich food can aid sleep.

Food supplements containing Melatonin can provide a standardised source to increase the amount of Melatonin in your body when you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep during the night.

Sleep supplements containing 1-2 mg Melatonin work naturally with your body to support sleep, shown to help regulate your sleep cycle without next-day drowsiness.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions about sleep supplements with melatonin and/or herbs. If you are experiencing long-term sleep difficulties, consult a healthcare professional to identify and treat any underlying causes.

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