Sleep is vital to maintaining the health of the entire body. So if you’re having trouble sleeping, you’re missing out on some major health benefits of melatonin. Luckily, you can change that by doing everything you can to get more sleep. But how? Well, one option is to ensure you have enough melatonin in your system, since this hormone is responsible for setting your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain’s pineal gland produces melatonin, but only at night when it’s dark out (it’s inactive in the day). Basically, sometime after about 9 pm, your melatonin levels rise and you start to get sleepy.
But that doesn’t happen when you don’t make enough melatonin, which means you may need to take supplements if you want to get more sleep. Remember that supplements don’t work like a sleeping pill; rather they’re a sleep aid, because they promote sleep when you take them. But did you know melatonin has other perks, besides those associated with sleep? Check out 15 health benefits of melatonin.
Get more help with your sleep by reading: Wrestling the Insomnia Demon
One health issue melatonin can help manage is diabetes, as your insulin level changes throughout the day. So if you want to balance your insulin levels, adding melatonin to your regimen may help. Furthermore, when you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to have insulin issues; therefore, this is one of the major health benefits of melatonin!
If you’re like most people, you have concerns about developing cancer at some point in your life. Know that melatonin can help prevent this. Studies have shown it can block certain receptors that cause cancer growth, and it may also decrease the aggressive nature of cancer cells. So it makes sense that cancer patients tend to have low levels of melatonin.
3. Heart Health
Another one of the major health benefits of melatonin impacts the heart because it has anti-inflammatory properties, improving cardiovascular health overall. Plus, this hormone can help balance blood pressure and cholesterol levels, further improving heart health. You might consider taking more melatonin if you have a family history of heart problems.
4. Acid Reflux
If you struggle with acid reflux, you might be sick of the nausea, heartburn, and chest pain you feel when stomach acid comes up your esophagus. But the good news is that melatonin may be able to help with this, since it can reduce the pressure on your esophagus and therefore relieve your symptoms.
5. Jet Lag
If you get jet lag when you fly, melatonin could be your new BFF! Jet lag interrupts your circadian rhythm, making it hard for you to fall asleep. But melatonin can help return it to normal. That's just one more of the health benefits of melatonin.
If you’re going through menopause, you’re likely experiencing symptoms like mood swings and hot flashes. You might also be losing sleep as a result of these issues. You’ll be glad to know that melatonin can boost your sleep AND relieve your symptoms!
Find out what other nutrients can help you get some relief during menopause: Managing Menopause—What to Eat and What to Skip
7. Hair Loss
Another of the health benefits of melatonin is that it can reduce the amount of hair you lose and even promote hair regrowth. Plus, it can improve the texture of the hair you already have.
If you’re recovering from a recent stroke, you’ll want to take melatonin, as it prevents cells from dying after this medical event. It can also reduce inflammation, which is helpful for staying healthy after a stroke.
9. Alzheimer’s Disease
Another benefit of melatonin is its ability to make the blood-brain barrier a bit stronger. This means it can reduce the chance of Alzheimer’s disease and general brain fog.
10. Parkinson’s Disease
Many people with Parkinson’s disease find it hard to sleep, and that’s something melatonin can combat. Some studies even show melatonin may slow the progression of this disease, so it’s worth getting more of this hormone if you have Parkinson’s disease.
11. Developmental Problems
Many people who have developmental disorders—such as ADHD and autism—have trouble sleeping. Melatonin can solve this problem while also improving some of the behavioral issues associated with such disorders.
If you’re worried about your vision getting worse, you might want to get more melatonin. After all, the cells in the eye produce this hormone, so healthy eyes tend to have a lot of it. Plus, melatonin can reduce the chances that your vision-related nerve cells will die, so you need more of this hormone to preserve the health of your eyes.
Another one of the health benefits of melatonin is reducing the pressure in your eyes. In fact, problems with melatonin levels may be linked to glaucoma, so it makes sense that an increase in melatonin may treat this eye condition.
14. Bladder Problems
If you have an overactive bladder, a lack of melatonin could be making it worse. Increasing your levels of this hormone can help your bladder relax and ensure you get a good night’s sleep—especially since you won’t be waking up as much to urinate at night.
If you hear a ringing in your ears long term, you might have tinnitus. Fortunately, melatonin has been found to reduce the symptoms of this ear issue, as it can reduce the ringing sound while also boosting sleep quality.
Clearly, better sleep is just one of the health benefits of melatonin. If you suffer from any of these conditions and think your melatonin levels are too low, talk to your doctor about taking melatonin supplements.
Check out one sweet way to get more melatonin into your body: The Next Superfood You Should Try: Cherries
More sources on melatonin:
9 Science-Backed Benefits of Melatonin—It’s Not Just for Sleep!
24 Surprising Health Benefits of Melatonin (Sleep, Brain, Gut Health, Antiaging, Cancer, Fertility, Melatonin)