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Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, November 7th, 2021.

Why am I bringing this up?

Are you aware that this twice-a-year desynchronization of your body clock has been linked to increased health risks such as depression, obesity, heart attack, stroke, and even car accidents, in the days following the shift?  

The time change can temporarily confuse your internal clock (circadian rhythm) in a way that can disrupt your awareness until you adjust. Every cell in your body keeps track of the time, and changes in daily patterns can trigger stress in your brain, often causing sleep deprivation, disorientation, and memory loss. This unnatural shift in time can also contribute to difficulties with learning, social interactions, and overall cognitive function.

Did you know that a healthy amount of sleep is vital for “brain plasticity,” or the brain’s ability to adapt to input? If we sleep too little, we become unable to process what we’ve learned during the day, and we have more trouble remembering it in the future. Researchers also believe that sleep may promote the removal of waste products from brain cells—something that seems to occur less efficiently when the brain is awake.

Your body has its own way of telling time.

Specifically, your body responds to cues from the light to help to become (and stay) alert during the day and prepare your body and brain to experience regenerative sleep at night. Light is directly related to your quality and quantity of sleep, which has an impact on many systems in your body and brain.  

In the Fall, losing an hour of evening light can markedly affect your mood – and for some, signal the beginning of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression associated with a lack of sunlight. 

Prevention—Melatonin to the Rescue!

Melatonin is the hormone produced by the pineal gland in the center of your brain that tells your body when it’s time for bed. Melatonin levels start to rise in your body when it gets dark, signaling to your body that it’s time to sleep. People who do not make enough of it can have trouble falling asleep. 

By now, you likely know that (like so many other natural processes and hormones) melatonin levels naturally decline gradually over the human lifespan and may be related to lowered sleep efficacy, very often associated with advancing age, as well as to deterioration of many circadian rhythms. Supplementation of this vital hormone is shown to offer a plethora of benefits. 

Amazing Benefits of Melatonin 

  • Melatonin has powerful antioxidant effects that may help to lower risk of eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration. Studies shows that it seems to protect the retinas, and delay damage from AMD. 
  • Melatonin has shown potential to aid stomach ulcers and heartburn symptoms. 
  • Melatonin exhibits immunomodulatory properties. A remodeling of immune system function is an integral part of aging. 
  • For some, melatonin supplementation reduces the loud ringing from tinnitus (after several weeks of use), which may otherwise impair sleep. 
  • Melatonin helps regulate your body temperature, your blood pressure, and levels of some other hormones. 
  • Melatonin supplementation helps reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improves overall sleep quality. 
  • Melatonin is commonly used for jet lag, nicotine withdrawal, winter depression, tardive dyskinesia, chemotherapy-related thrombocytopenia, and insomnia-- including for those with total blindness who are unable to respond to light cues.  
  • Melatonin has free radical scavenger, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. It scavenges reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and increases antioxidant defenses; thus, it prevents tissue damage and blocks transcriptional factors of pro-inflammatory cytokines. There is strong evidence that melatonin can strengthen the immune system against damage from viruses. 
  • Even one night of missed sleep can create a prediabetic state in an otherwise healthy person. Melatonin supplementation can help prevent this. 

Melatonin Dosage Guidance for Seniors: 

It is better to start off with a small dose, and slowly work up to the dose that’s effective for you. A standard dose for older adults can range from 1mg. to 5mg. This is why we made Purefect Sleep Soft Chews so convenient for you: Each delicious passionfruit-flavored gummy delivers 1mg. of melatonin so you can easily fine-tune your dosage for best results. Try to take melatonin 3-4 hours before bedtime, and no later than 9:30 pm. 

Steps for Optimal Sleep and Improved Health 

  1. Maintain a consistent sleep and wake schedule. Your body craves routine. Set times that allow you to get around eight hours of sleep and stick to them. If you get in the habit now, you’ll have an easier time readjusting when you lose an hour when we “spring forward” next Spring. 
  2. When it is dark, the eyes send a signal to the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls circadian rhythm) that it’s time to feel tired. The brain then tells the pineal gland to release melatonin, the hormone that induces sleepiness. However, exposure to bright light suppresses secretion of melatonin, so be sure to turn down the lights as bedtime nears and avoid exposure to blue light from electronic devices and TV. 
  3. Sleep scientists have learned that it is ideal to be asleep before 10 pm, since most of the restorative activities of sleep happen when you are sound asleep between 10 pm and 2 am.  
  4. A warm shower or bath before bedtime will support relaxation. 
  5. Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet, and as dark as possible. Wear a sleep mask or earplugs if necessary. 
  6. If you are not already sleeping the recommended 7-9 hours per night, make sure to do so leading up to the weekend of the time change.  If you are already sleep-deprived, the transition will be even harder. 
  7. Aim for 8 hours of sleep nightly during the weeks after the changeover to reset your body clock. 
  8. Lack of sunlight suppresses the production of melatonin and the “happy chemical” serotonin—which plays a key role in mood balance. Spend time outdoors during daylight hours (without sunglasses) or sit by a window or try light therapy.  
  9. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, eating, and exercise near bedtime. Exercise in the morning whenever possible. 
  10. Enjoy Purefect Sleep Soft Chews before bedtime to benefit from everything melatonin has to offer. 

We recently uncovered a selection of research studies showing evidence of melatonin as a first line of defense against viral attacks.  

Melatonin for the Early Treatment of COVID-19: A Narrative Review of Current Evidence and Possible Efficacy

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8190272/

Conclusion

Due to its demonstrated efficacy as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulator, the effects of melatonin can reduce the severity of symptoms and cellular damage induced by viral diseases when started as an early treatment. The strategy melatonin offers is to slow the cytokine storm observed in COVID-19 and reduce the oxidative damage to enhance the resistance of individuals and provide additional survival time. With melatonin’s high safety profile, abundance of availability, and low cost, the administration of 2.5 to 10 mg of melatonin at night should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis for all adult patients. 


Related Studies:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32493475/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32893686/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32615182/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32347747/

Cautions:

  • Melatonin may increase the risk of bleeding, so it should not be used by people using warfarin (Coumadin®) or other medications that influence blood clotting, or by people with bleeding disorders. 
  • You should avoid taking melatonin if you take corticosteroids to suppress your immune system response for conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. It should not be taken by transplant recipients. 
  • Melatonin supplements may worsen the symptoms in people with depression, so people with depression should only use melatonin under the supervision of a healthcare provider.  
  • It may also increase the risk of seizures in people with seizure disorders.  
  • Melatonin is broken down by the liver, so people with liver disease may choose to avoid melatonin. 

matt

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