Melatonin Explained: What alternatives can I take?
Melatonin is a hormone, a chemical messenger, produced naturally in the pineal gland in the brain. It is also present in certain foods, such as; sour cherries, pomegranate, sunflower seeds, rolled oats and broccoli, to name a few.
Melatonin is secreted during hours of darkness, and is thought to regulate sleep and other body processes. And, for this reason a medicinal form is used to alleviate insomnia, but also to mitigate the symptoms of jet lag following a long-haul flight and help regulate the sleep patterns of shift workers.
Here in the UK, a synthetic form of melatonin is only available on prescription from a health professional, and is prescribed for short periods only, usually for people from 55 years of age. Prescriptions come with strict doses and need to be taken within specific time intervals. There are side effects however, one of which is fatigue. And taking an incorrect dosage can exacerbate the original symptoms.
When suffering with disturbed sleep patterns changes in diet and exercise should be the first consideration. If you are looking to soothe your symptoms while you make those changes then you may wish to consider some natural alternatives.
Valerian root extract is traditionally used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances and mild anxiety. Each tablet contains 300mg of extract, equivalent to 1,500mg – 1,800mg of Valerian root.
Cherry Max is a highly concentrated sour cherry juice, which is naturally sweetened with apple juice and red grape juice. Sour cherries are a natural source of melatonin and may be helpful for a restful night’s sleep.
Theanine is an amino acid which can be found in a soothing cup of tea. Theanine has the calming properties of tea but without the caffeine.
Magnesium is natures muscle relaxant. This mineral is essential in regulating the body’s stress response and encourages relaxation.
Lavender Essential Oil is known to have a soothing and calming effect, and is often used to relieve the anxiety related to disturbed sleep.