Daylight savings falls upon us again, and with it, adjusted sleep schedules. Some people adjust to the change immediately, but for many the time change takes a toll. Our body sleeps in a cyclical manner, correlative to our biological clocks. Just as our clocks sprang forward one hour, so must our biological clocks. Our key sleep hormone—Melatonin—is released in conjunction with our biological clocks, so supplementation has the potential to speed the sleep-adjustment period.
What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in your brain, then released into the bloodstream. Melatonin production is prompted by darkness and stopped with light. Its production is regulated by your circadian rhythm—our biological 24–hour clocks—supporting your sleep cycle. Melatonin is integral in the sleep-wake cycle, working with our circadian rhythm to facilitate habitual, quality rest.
Is Supplementing Melatonin Beneficial?
Melatonin is naturally occurring, but individuals may interfere with production through light exposure. Regardless of light source—overhead to devices—the light triggers our pineal gland to stop producing melatonin, thus inhibiting the sleep cycle. Remedying this cause of insomnia is simple: remove the light source. Insomnia and sleep disturbances can also develop for reasons outside of your control. In such cases, supplemental melatonin may aid in readjusting your circadian rhythm. Studies show supplementing Melatonin may be beneficial in the following causes of sleep hinderance:
- Delayed Sleep Phase: reduces time spent falling asleep
- Insomnia: benefits if the cause is melatonin deficiency
- Blind Circadian Rhythms: improve sleep disorder symptoms in children and adults
- Jet Lag: improve daytime sleepiness, increasing alertness
Studies are not wholly conclusive, but melatonin supplementation is suggested to be potentially beneficial in the above sleep afflictions. Melatonin is typically recommended for short-term use, working as an aid in rewiring natural sleep cycles via your circadian rhythm. Recommended starting doses range from 0.5 milligrams to 1 milligram.
Should You Take Liposomal Melatonin?
Liposomal Melatonin functions on the same basis as all standard liposomal delivery systems. The hormone is encapsulated in a lipid bilayer that withstands travel to the desired biological site. It is delivered to the cellular site with greater bioavailability than standard Melatonin tablets. Metabolization of the hormone is not required with liposomal delivery, increasing the efficacy of hormone absorption.
Now, we beg the big question: is liposomal Melatonin superior to standard tablets? The answer is…maybe! Liposomal Melatonin does offer a greater bioavailability for absorption, but physiological needs differ from one individual to the next.
As always, consult with your healthcare provider if you have explicit needs and/or concerns!