There are several reasons why melatonin secretion may not be high enough at night, which can interfere with awakening and problems falling asleep properly. Learn what are the causes of melatonin deficiency, how to increase melatonin levels and avoid its consequences.

Melatonin, as an important factor in our biological clock, is essential to control the rhythm of sleep . Because the production of melatonin is controlled by the light entering the retina of the eye, in case of difficulty falling asleep, the effect of the light should be reduced not only at bedtime but also 30 minutes before.

Melatonin deficiency problems

Melatonin production increases during the night and peaks 1 to 2 hours after falling asleep.

Melatonin promotes falling asleep, while melatonin deficiency can lead to sleep disturbances .

While peak melatonin production is reached in childhood, production in young adulthood is reduced to 20-30% of maximum and continues to decline with age. As you age, the sleep time curve changes.

Since high melatonin levels are important, especially when starting to fall asleep, sleep problems can occur even if there is sufficient overall production. If memory and concentration problems occur, you should not forget to consider a melatonin deficiency.

Not only a melatonin deficiency can be the cause of sleep disorders, but also an overproduction of melatonin affects the body’s own cortisol. Other causes of insomnia include changes in the daily rhythm of the thyroid.

Additionally, a deficiency of estradiol and a deficiency of progesterone can cause significant sleep disturbances, such as those that occur especially with adrenal weakness – adrenal fatigue.

It is not uncommon for hormonal balance disorders to occur at several of the following levels:

  • Melatonin deficiency
  • Both cortisol deficiency and excess cortisol.
  • Disorders of the daily rhythm of the thyroid.
  • Estradiol deficiency
  • Symptoms of Progesterone Deficiency.

A relative melatonin deficiency is not uncommon when stress is high due to increased cortisol levels. Therefore, it is recommended when performing a hormonal test for insomnia parallel to melatonin and opposite to determine cortisol.

Consequences of melatonin deficiency

Melatonin deficiency symptoms include

  • Sleep disorders and difficulties in getting a good night’s rest.
  • Light sleep with frequent waking.
  • Drowsy state
  • Depression and lack of motivation.
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Migraines and frequent headaches.
  • Heartburn.
  • Memory impairment
  • Premature aging of the skin.

Melatonin deficiency can also be associated with serious conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and many more, especially chronic degenerative diseases.

Insomnia causes other derived problems, such as that one feels frustrated during the day, cannot concentrate and is not really efficient in his daily tasks. Also, a poor night’s sleep can lead to very different problems in the long term, such as poor bone health and an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.

Of course, many of these symptoms and illnesses can have other causes as well, so they don’t necessarily have to be linked to melatonin deficiency. Therefore, it is recommended that you first check for a melatonin deficiency before taking specific steps to increase melatonin levels.

How To Naturally Increase Melatonin Levels

It is necessary to modify certain habits if we want to reverse melatonin deficiency.

1. Avoid viewing screens at night

Limit computer work during the day. The best thing during the hours before the break, instead of being in front of the monitor or the cell phone light, is reading a book. During one or several nights without a screen, be it a TV, computer, tablet or smartphone, your melatonin level can return to normal.

How about an audiobook that you can entertain even by candlelight? Otherwise, glossy screens prevent enough melatonin from forming.

2. Avoid caffeine

Limit your morning coffee consumption if you want to increase your melatonin levels. Caffeine has long been known to have an extremely negative effect on the amount of sleep and the quality of sleep.

For example, in a 2015 study, scientists found that a dose of caffeine equivalent to a double espresso reduces the melatonin level to a 40-minute delay in the sleep-wake cycle, even drinking the espresso three hours before going. to the bed.

3. No alcohol and no cigarettes.

You must stop drinking alcohol if you want to avoid melatonin deficiency. Also, don’t smoke or take any other stimulant medications. If you cannot stop smoking, you should stop smoking at least 4 hours before going to bed, and try to quit this bad habit permanently.

4. Reduce stress

Those who suffer from chronic stress have greater difficulty resting. Hardly anyone who worries can easily stop thinking at night. On the contrary, when you are lying in the small and quiet room, the thoughts literally jump on you and they do not let go of you as quickly.

If your frequent anxiety problems have never been treated, it is necessary that you start today, not only to improve the quality of melatonin in your body, but to ensure that your health is preserved for longer, since the effects of chronic stress they are very dangerous for health in general.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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