Ah sleep. It eludes me – often. From late night party hang-overs and early am work to the late night dinner or even later chirps from the baby’s room – I never get enough. I used to pop a xanex and conk out but since turning unemployed, hippie, homemaker my life (and my ‘prescriptive connections’) have changed.
Studies as cited in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute have shown that if you don’t have enough melatonin, a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer or a man’s chance of getting prostate cancer increase significantly. They have also found that melatonin is the number one anti-cancer hormone produced in the body and acts as a powerful antioxidant.
But what is melatonin and why is it so important to anti-aging?
· Melatonin has been identified as one of the greatest free radical scavengers in the body. It has been shown to powerfully suppress tumor growth in the body.
· Melatonin is considered one of the most effective anti-oxidants in the body due to its ability to very easily diffuse across cell membranes and the blood brain barrier. Melatonin is a direct scavenger of metabolic byproducts such as OH, O2-, and nitric oxide.
· Melatonin is one of the bodies’ most powerful protective agents against DNA mutations. Therefore it is one of the greatest natural cancer remedies. It plays a very important role in protecting against inflammation and free radical damage in the brain due to its ease of flow across the blood brain barrier. It has also been shown to increase the average life span of mice by 20% in some studies.
· Healthy melatonin levels and good sleep cycles are also known to influence human growth hormone (HGH). HGH is known to influence the body to burn fat, build and regenerate healthy lean body tissue, to repair collagen which is necessary for healthy skin formation, to improve bone density and to enhance immunity. Good sleep cycles improve HGH secretion and utilization.
· It is produced only in the dark and only during sleep. Because of this, melatonin is also known as “the hormone of darkness”. In the past, humans followed the seasons without artificial lighting. During the winter months, daylight was only about six hours long. However, in current modern times, artificial light disrupts the body’s natural ability to produce melatonin since it is inhibited with any blue light absorption
If you want to increase your body’s production of Melatonin naturally, do the following:
1. Go to Sleep Early: Hormone secretion, body temperature, digestion and tissue restoration are governed by 24 hour cycles linked to natural light exposure. Up to 80% of human growth hormone secretion takes place between the hours of 11pm and 1am. Individuals that are in bed by 10pm are maximizing this restorative hormone`s ability to heal and regenerate body tissues.
2. Practice intentional quiet time before you go to bed: Utilizing present moment mindfulness or meditation helps boost melatonin. This process speeds up the time from lying down to falling asleep and boosts the quality and satisfaction of the sleep. Take 15-20 minutes before bed and relax your mind and concentrate your breathing.
3. Reduce sugar, artificial flavorings & preservatives, processed foods, caffeine and any other sort of stimulant. These reduce melatonin and growth hormone secretion in the body.
4. Hydrate effectively: Dehydration causes chronic stress responses in the body that minimize healthy melatonin and growth hormone secretion.
5. Keep Your Room Dark: Any sort of light stimulation will inhibit the pineal gland from forming melatonin. This will disrupt sleep and minimize melatonin`s beneficial effects in the body.
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