Saturday, February 21, 2009

Stress and Sleep, melatonin and cortisol

Sleep allows an overactive adrenal to rest overnight, also allowing your melatonin to give you a good night's sleep. Cortisol and melatonin are agonists, and fight for dominance. Cortisol is a stress hormone made by the adrenal gland and melatonin is an antioxidant sleep hormone produced by the pineal gland at night, in darkness. Normally melatonin takes over the night, slowing down cortisol production in the adrenal gland and encouraging proper rest and repair cycles. Then it wanes and cortisol and other adrenal hormones take over during the day, giving you energy. They should switch off in a normal daily cycle. If the adrenal won't shut down properly overnight due to stress, one may have inadequate melatonin resulting in an improper rest and repair cycle wearing you down. High cortisol levels are also associated with encouraging the depositing of fat in the abdomen, specifically. So reducing cortisol may also inhibit the formation of abdominal fat.

2 comments:

Ramnika said...

Melatonin is a natural human hormone that influences the body's daily circadian rythm, the 24-hour biological clock that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. As the sun sets, our bodies begin producing melatonin, which in turn triggers drowsiness and a desire to sleep. Taking extra melatonin before bed amplifies this hormonal signal, producing a faster and deeper sleep. Because melatonin works with the body's natural sleep-wake system, it may provide a healthier, more refreshing sleep than sedative drugs.

The body produces less melatonin with age, which may explain why older individuals often have more difficulty sleeping. In fact, middle-aged adults with insomnia tend to have lower melatonin levels than adults without insomnia. For this reason, melatonin may be particularly effective in adults over 40. Research shows that even young children, however, fall asleep more easily after taking melatonin.

Gregory said...

Because of a long history of narcotic (painkiller) use, my doctor suggested that my body was not producing melatonin and that my insomnia might be because of this. Sure enough, the very first night I took the medicine, I slept well, with no after effects. That is the best thing about this medicine. I take it half an hour before I'm wanting to go to bed, I get a bit drowsy and go to bed, falling asleep quickly, but awaking fully rested.