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In the news recently there have been lots of articles on melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in your body. It helps control your sleep patterns.

The NHS writes that you can take a manmade version of melatonin for short-term sleep problems (insomnia). It makes you fall asleep quicker and less likely to wake up during the night. It can also help with symptoms of jetlag.

Melatonin is used to treat sleep problems in people aged 55 and over.

It can sometimes be prescribed to help with sleep problems in children and to prevent headaches in adults.

Melatonin is available on prescription only. It comes as slow-release tablets and a liquid that you drink.

However, Penn Live writes that the use of over-the-counter melatonin as a sleep aid is on the rise. But a new study has found some people may be taking it at dangerously high levels.

report by CNN Health cites sleep specialist Rebecca Robbins, an instructor in the division of sleep medicine for Harvard Medical School, who said while overall adult use of the sleep aid in the U.S. is still “relatively low,” the new study does “document a significant many-fold increase in melatonin use in the past few years.”

The study, published in the medical journal JAMA, found “by 2018 Americans were taking more than twice the amount of melatonin they took a decade earlier.”

According to Robbins, who was not involved in the study, there’s worry among experts that widespread reliance on sleeping aids may have further increased as a result of the pandemic’s negative impact on sleep. It’s a cause for concern according to Robbins. In prospective studies, taking sleep aids has been linked “with the development of dementia and early mortality.”

Some things melatonin has been linked to include “headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach cramps, drowsiness, confusion or disorientation, irritability, and mild anxiety, depression, and tremors, as well as abnormally low blood pressure.” Additionally, it’s been known to interact with common medications, and it can trigger allergies,” CNN reported.

While short-term use for some conditions appears to be safe, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the National Institutes of Health, it’s the safety of long-term use that is unknown.

The Mayo Clinic point out that your body likely produces enough melatonin for its general needs. However, evidence suggests that melatonin supplements promote sleep and are safe for short-term use. Melatonin can be used to treat delayed sleep phase and circadian rhythm sleep disorders in the blind and provide some insomnia relief. Treat melatonin as you would any sleeping pill and use it under your doctor’s supervision.

After reading the latest news on melatonin it has certainly made me realise how much you need to check what is in some supplements and to always check with your GP first before taking any to help you sleep. There are of course many supplements available to help you sleep without having melatonin in them. Check the labels first before purchasing.

Source: NHS, Penn Live, CNN, NIH The Mayo Clinic

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Studies have shown that one in four people in the UK has experienced insomnia and other sleep disturbances since the start of the pandemic, (one in six pre-Covid).

The BBC writes that disrupted routines and ongoing uncertainty are contributing to a surge in insomnia. What can we do about it? There’s a problem: the ongoing coronavirus crisis has made getting a good night’s rest significantly harder. Some experts even have a term for it: ‘coronasomnia’ or ‘Covid-somnia’.

Sleep insufficiency – which many health authorities classify as less than seven hours a night – also affects your work; many studies have shown that it makes you more likely to make mistakes, wrecks your concentration, increases reaction times and affects your moods.

Our day by day schedules and conditions have been disturbed, making it difficult to watch out for our circadian rhythms. Ordinarily, our days race to a timetable of morning timers, drives, breaks and sleep times – yet Covid-19 has stirred all that up.

With some of us still working from home, we may be getting less exercise and potentially less exposure to natural light – both of which contribute to better sleep. Some sleep problems will have become chronic and long-lasting because the pandemic has created delays to getting treatment in some cases; people have only sought medical attention in emergencies, while some healthcare facilities have become short-staffed or overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients.

It is important to address the problem before it gets really bad. Maybe try and few supplements but check with your doctor first if on any other medication, to see if they help. The longer you leave it before you get help the harder it will be to sort out. Your sleep issues become a sleep disorder, i.e., insomnia, and unfortunately, there isn’t a quick fix… It’s difficult to break habits that have formed.

Do Not Age write about how important sleep is to us all. Insomnia, whether in a pandemic or not, is difficult to live with. Sleep has interested scientists for many decades, and with ongoing research and advances in technology, several discoveries show that sleep is vital for many aspects of life. Re-fuelling is often considered essential, but good quality sleep is rarely seen as equally important. Getting enough sleep is, in fact, as crucial as a healthy and balanced diet. Not getting enough sleep can result in several health issues, such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart diseases.

Our body is continuously repairing itself, and resting gives it a chance to catch up with the work we did throughout the day. Our mind is also in need of time to consolidate what has been learnt, store memories, and remove the unnecessary neurochemical by-products. A period of unconsciousness is necessary to store information gathered through the day and move those “files” from a temporary location to a more permanent one. Sleep is often considered as a period of inactivity, but this couldn’t be further from the truth; while asleep, our brain is highly active, and it’s changing to ensure optimal functionality. Our bodies are converting food into energy and providing the brain with the compounds needed to transmit the signals.

Most adults from the age of 18 to 60, need on average 7/8 hours of sleep per night. As well as adequate sleep, we also need good quality sleep. 

I have tried every trick in the book to help me sleep and can now go off quite easily by sticking to certain rules. My amazing sleep of 7/8 hours after my recent injections for pain relief was short-lived. Some of the pain is already back and my nights seem to be very disturbed again. At least that was in fact until I tried the Do Not Age Sure Sleep. SureSleep® promotes high-quality sleep and naturally raises your melatonin levels.

I was told to take two tablets before bed and that it would probably take a few weeks to kick in. I started taking them a couple of weeks ago and over the last three nights have slept much better. I am still waking up with pain problems but now I seem to be able to soon go back to sleep again which was where it was going wrong before.

Do Not Age say that Supplementing long term directly with melatonin can prevent your body from creating its own melatonin, so not what we want. Do Not Age has spent a lot of time and effort to create the perfect product to ease you into a great nights sleep, and leave you feeling refreshed the next day.


Source: BBC, Do Not Age BPB Health Disclaimer

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Last Sunday I wrote about The Daily Mail which was running an exclusive series about how to beat insomnia with renowned consultant neurologist and sleep expert Professor Guy Leschziner who told the Mail that the pandemic has been driving another global health crisis – an epidemic of sleep problems.

On Monday they wrote an article with Ten Steps to a Peaceful Nights Sleep which was set up as ten simple rules to get your body ready for a good nights sleep.

  1. Set a wake-up time, even set this at weekends as the brain loves routine and will ensure you have a solid bedtime and wake time.
  2. Exercise, as daily exercise will help tire your body and send more oxygen and endorphin-rich blood to your brain, which will boost your mood and leave you less anxious.
  3. Get outdoors, even if its just a short walk. The key, apparently, is to absorb natural light during daylight hours as it tells the cells in our body that it is daytime, then it recognises that when the light dims it is night-time.
  4. Eat less before bed as a rich carbohyydrate meal in the evening can cause uncomfortable acid reflux and can also produce more insulin to mop up the sugar from your blood. This can then have a knock on effect and encourages rebound low blood sugar at night which then releases stress hormones and can be detrimental to sleep.
  5. Pack in your afternoon cuppa as caffeine after lunch keeps you awak. Half of the caffeine you drink stays in your system for up to six hours so keep it for the mornings only.
  6. Try and meditate as any sort of relaxation technique will help to settle your mind and help you sleep.
  7. Avoid alcohol in the evening as you will get drink-induced slumber which is not a good quality sleep.
  8. If you haven’t already done so then GIVE UP smoking.
  9. Another important one we all should know is to no have our screens on at night. Light exposure at night inhibits the secretion of the hormones melatonin. This can delay your sleep phase making you sleep later and wake later.
  10. Do not spend time in your bedroom unless you are going to bed to sleep. Keep the lights low until you pull the quilt up then turn all the lights out.

In the final article from The Daily Mail they had a quiz you could take to find out if you could have a hidden sleep condition. Check it out here.

Do Not Age (DNA) remind us that sleep is important for mental wellbeing as well as physical. Those lacking in sleep are more likely to be overweight, have disrupted appetites, lose empathy, have more inflammation, have a low immune system, be depressed and suicidal, have impaired brain function and are more susceptible to heart problems. Those sleeping for less than 7 hours per night have up to 26% higher risk of death.