Switch Off Those Night Lamps and Sleep Well
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Switch Off Those Night Lamps and Sleep Well

Sleep is essential for maintaining normal health. Melatonin is a hormone secreted from the pineal gland of the brain and plays an important role in the phenomenon of sleep. The secretion of this hormone peaks at midnight. The most important factor which can interfere with melatonin secretion and sleep is the presence of light in bedrooms. Hence, it is essential to sleep in near total darkness.

A large number of people in the world are suffering from sleep problems. There are two reasons for this. The first one is manmade. Through our nocturnal habits we are contributing to our own sleep loss. Losing out on sleep could also be due to some preexisting medical condition. For example, sleep apnea is a condition where an individual stops breathing for a few seconds. This disturbs sleep. Poorly controlled diabetes may also disturb sleep. This is because of the condition of polyuria present in diabetes when people urinate frequently. Thus, regular toilet visits at night may also disturb sleep. Arthritis is another clinical condition which may interfere with sleep because of the pain factor. Conditions like gout worsen at night. Stress is another sleep robber.

How to Overcome Sleep Loss

Several methods have been tried to overcome the problem of sleep deficit. Sleeping pills are available, but the sleep produced with their help is anything but natural. Another term which is very popular in this regard refers to melatonin supplements. Unlike sleeping pills, melatonin is a natural substance formed in the human body. It is formed from the amino acid tryptophan. The seat of production of this hormone is the pineal gland, a pea sized gland located in the midbrain region. The primary function of this hormone is to promote sleep.

Hormone of Darkness

Melatonin has also been called the hormone of darkness. There are two reasons for this. This hormone promotes sleep at night. Moreover, in keeping with the role of this hormone, the secretion of this hormone peaks at midnight. Thereafter, it starts falling and in the morning, the levels of this hormone are very low. This produces wakefulness.

Melatonin is an Antioxidant

Antioxidants are compounds which are able to protect the body from disease-causing free radicals. The presence of free radicals in the body is not unusual. These are highly reactive fragments produced during aerobic metabolism. The high reactivity of these reactive species is due to the presence of unpaired electrons. The free radicals are capable of destroying the membranes and vital molecules present in the body. In fact, many of the diseases which are coming under the classification of lifestyle diseases are believed to be due to the attack by excessive free radicals present in the body. The body possesses defense against free radicals in the form of antioxidants. Bilirubin, HDL and glutathione are examples for such compounds. Melatonin also has antioxidant properties. Thus, factors which interfere with melatonin production also produce sleep loss coupled with decreased antioxidant capacity.

Melatonin Prevents Cancer

Melatonin secretion is profoundly influenced by the presence of light. Light inhibits the secretion of melatonin. Any source of light present in the bedroom can interfere with sleep. Also, it is important to avoid watching TV and using computers at night as the light which is present would block melatonin release. Even the light from a bedside clock can counter sleep. Hence, it is important to sleep in total darkness. Therefore, switch off those night lamps. Another interesting aspect about melatonin is its ability to fight the onset of certain tumors. Hence, optimal release of melatonin should be ensured by sleeping in total darkness.

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Comments (3)

My husband takes melatonin every night. He cannot get to sleep without it.

Thank you Thiru. Satakopan for this nice article on sleep. Modern man has lost sleep with all his technology. Hope to see more articles from you. please write.

Voted this useful article, thanks

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