Do you need 8 hours of sleep with melatonin
Doc's Opinion. It explains why we may feel energized or sleepy at around the same time each day. We all know that sleep is crucial for our health and wellbeing. But, sadly, millions of people suffer from sleep disorders. It is believed that about one-third of Americans suffer from some sleep problems.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need?
How Much Sleep Do I Need?
You might think having difficulty sleeping is just a part of getting older. With a never-ending to-do list, increased stress, and the advent of new aches and pains that seemingly…. But often, having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep is the result of a series of lifestyle choices that snowball together to yield night after night of tossing and turning.
Over time, that can add up to all kinds of problems. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine , chronic sleep disruption can cause fatigue, trouble concentrating or remembering, moodiness, low motivation or energy, and an increased risk for errors or accidents. Regularly skimping on sleep can also lead to depression, high blood pressure, and weight gain.
So how can you nip your sleep problems in the bud before they end up wrecking your health—and your life? There are all kinds of things that can disrupt your sleep. Certain medications, an uncomfortable sleep environment, or changes to your normal sleep schedule like jet lag or a different work schedule can make it harder to nod off, too. But if those issues stick around—like in the case of depression or anxiety, chronic stress, or chronic pain—your insomnia might take on a life of its own and stick around long term.
Sleeping trouble can be the result of some medical issues, also, like asthma, allergies, hyperthyroidism, or acid reflux. And of course, sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome are other common culprits. Together, you can figure out a plan to manage your condition more effectively—and in turn, make sleep easier to come by.
If you spend any time watching TV, you might think the answer to your sleepless nights lay in a pill. In other words, you might not feel much better than if you had stayed up half the night. As a result, most doctors and sleep specialists only recommend taking them for a few weeks, tops. This is why developing naturally healthy sleep habits consistently practicing good sleep hygiene is so important. You can try a crash diet in an effort to drop 10 pounds in a week—and you might get results.
But in order to keep that weight off and reap the long-term health benefits, you need to make permanent changes to the way you eat that you can sustain for the rest of your life. Need proof? When U. Establish an appropriate bedtime that allows you to get enough sleep to feel well-rested when you wake up, said Wolfe. Experts like Wolfe know that your body needs consistency—not endless hours of being awake coupled with occasional long bouts of sleep—to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle and function at your best.
Like a puppy who learns that he gets his walk every morning at , your body will adapt to your new schedule. Sure, it might sound crazy now—but it can happen! Experts have long known that active people tend to sleep better than their sedentary counterparts. In a Mental Health and Physical Activity study of more than 2, men and women ages 18 to 85, getting minutes of exercise per week meant feeling much less sleepy compared to those who worked out less or not at all.
According to behavioral sleep medicine expert Dr. Jade Wu, Ph. Wu says. Exercising helps to fill your balloon—the more, the better. Both studies looked at people who participated in moderate aerobic exercise, like walking, jogging, or riding a bike. Oh, and one other thing. You might think that working out in the morning is a must, since exercising after work could amp you up and make it harder to fall asleep. One poll suggests, there is no harm at all to exercising in the evening, despite the conventional wisdom.
In fact, one study found people snoozed better when they went to sleep 90 minutes after a vigorous workout session. Considering the fact that we snooze in the dark, you might not think that exposure to light has much, if anything, to do with the quality of your sleep. During the day, you produce less melatonin so you feel energized and alert. At night, you produce more melatonin so you feel sleepy. When Brazilian researchers compared workers who had windows in their offices to workers whose offices were windowless, the results were striking.
Compared to windowless workers, workers with windows had lower levels of melatonin at A. And guess what? They tended to sleep better and report fewer depressive symptoms than their windowless counterparts. Of course, the opposite is also true. If darkness signals your body to produce more sleep-promoting melatonin, too much exposure to light at night might leave you tossing and turning. Using heavy curtains or blackout shades in your bedroom can block outdoor light and cocoon you in a shroud of sleep-friendly darkness.
But these days, the problem is less likely to be a sliver of moonlight or street light streaming into your room. More often, the snooze-stealing nighttime light is coming from computers, smartphones, tablets, and even some energy-efficient lightbulbs. But the light that comes from your electronic devices suppresses the production of melatonin, so you end up feeling energized when your head hits the pillow rather than sleepy.
To increase your odds of sleeping better, experts recommend maximizing your exposure to daytime natural light and minimizing your exposure to nighttime short wavelength light i. You can start by lifting the shades or blinds in your bedroom as soon as you wake up, and by sitting near windows or spending time outdoors during the day.
As for avoiding stimulating blue light? Harvard sleep experts suggest powering down your electronic devices two to three hours before bed, which will give your body enough time to wind down before turning in for the night. Or, consider wearing blue light-blocking glasses. Sure, it might seem weird to wear sunglasses indoors, but research suggests that doing so really can make a difference.
In a recent study , Chinese researchers looked at the sleep quality of elderly patients who had received blue light-blocking artificial lens implants during cataract surgery. Two months after receiving the lens implants, the patients were sleeping longer and more soundly, and felt less tired during the day. Another study , conducted by researchers at the University of Toledo, compared adults who wore blue light-blocking glasses for three hours before bed to those who wore regular UV-blocking sunglasses.
Over the course of three weeks, those who donned the blue light-blocking glasses reported sleeping better and being in a better mood. The other folks? Not so much. But it can boost your mood and alertness, as well as give you the energy that you need to get through the rest of day. Short naps minutes earlier in the day can be a tool to help keep your sleep cycle from getting thrown out of whack.
When you come home exhausted after a tiring day, you might be more likely to crash on the couch and fall asleep in the early evening. But that can lead to waking up in the middle of the night or waking up too early, which will only leave you feeling tired the next day. The main key is to keep your nap relatively short. A to minute snooze is enough to leave you feeling refreshed and recharged without making you groggy, experts say. But keeping your siesta even briefer could be better.
In a study published in the journal SLEEP, a minute nap was shown to be the most effective at reducing daytime sleepiness and boosting cognitive performance. If you worry that turning in for a midday nap could turn into an all-afternoon snooze fest, set an alarm.
Another important tip? Avoid napping too late. Most of us typically experience a lull in the mid-afternoon, usually around 2 or 3pm—which is exactly when you want to power down. Experiment with different times and lengths to find the naps that leave you feeling refreshed and replenished, but that still let you sleep at bedtime. Certain edibles can actually help you sleep even better, like these:.
You already know that waking up at the same time each day makes it easier to fall asleep. And to bring on that feeling of sleepiness, it helps to have a quiet bedtime routine. It is so soothing and relaxing, [it can] stimulate serotonin and quiet the mind. Bedtime routines serve two important purposes. Second, they form a behavioral association. If you want to light a bunch of candles and meditate for an hour, by all means, go for it.
But simple activities like these work just as well:. And once you crawl into bed, make sure that your environment is comfortable. Sure, it might sound a little high maintenance, but it can really make a difference.
Pain issues often flare up at night, making it harder to reach dreamland and stay there. And by sleeping better, you could actually end up feeling a little bit less uncomfortable the next day. Here are some adjustments to try before seeking advice from an orthopedic or pain doctor:. For deeper relief, it might make sense to take a look at your mattress. What kind of mattress should you get? That depends on how you like to sleep.
If you sleep on your stomach, a firmer bed might be best, since it can help keep your upper body from bowing down. Considering your personal preferences and sleep needs will steer you towards the best mattress for you. This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.
Marygrace Taylor is a health and wellness writer based in Philadelphia. About the author Marygrace Taylor is a health and wellness writer based in Philadelphia. View all posts Follow Marygrace Taylor:. Modern Health. Discover the ultimate sleep system Choose your mattress Shop top-rated mattresses with proven sleep-boosting materials. Browse Mattresses.
The Health Benefits of Melatonin
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that is often taken in a pill form as an over-the-counter supplement to aid sleep. Melatonin is frequently taken to alleviate difficulty falling or staying asleep, characteristic symptoms of insomnia , and there is a strong body of evidence support its use as a sleep aid in several populations including children and the elderly. It is believed to be safe and effective for long term use with fewer side effects than commonly prescribed sleeping pills.
Are you taking too much melatonin to help you sleep? Find the answers to questions that pique your curiosity in our series, The Short Answer. Ann Pressler, CNP, fields this one. A: Taking the sleep hormone melatonin is recommended to help induce sleep, but there is a good deal of confusion about how much to take. It is sold over the counter in a range of doses, from 1 mg to 10 mg and higher.
Understanding Melatonin: How Melatonin Can Help Sleep and Bio Time
Learn about our expanded patient care options for your health care needs. Melatonin sleep aids are growing in popularity, with 3 million Americans using them in , according to a nationwide survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Buenaver, Ph. Turn off bright overhead lights too. Take a walk outside or sit beside a sunny window. But if he has to work in the evening or answer emails, he uses filters to screen out the blue and green wavelengths of light emitted by his smartphone and computer. A filter can help. Take 1 to 3 milligrams two hours before bedtime. To ease jet lag, try taking melatonin two hours before your bedtime at your destination, starting a few days before your trip. Also, get outside for natural light exposure.
How to Sleep Better
The pattern of waking during the day when it is light and sleeping at night when it is dark is a natural part of human life. Only recently have scientists begun to understand the alternating cycle of sleep and waking, and how it is related to daylight and darkness. A key factor in how human sleep is regulated is exposure to light or to darkness. Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the retina in the eye to an area in the brain called the hypothalamus.
Melatonin is a very popular sleep aid. But is it as effective and safe as we think? It should not be used for general insomnia.
The Truth About Taking Melatonin to Help You Sleep
You might think having difficulty sleeping is just a part of getting older. With a never-ending to-do list, increased stress, and the advent of new aches and pains that seemingly…. But often, having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep is the result of a series of lifestyle choices that snowball together to yield night after night of tossing and turning. Over time, that can add up to all kinds of problems.
When I travel—which I seem to be doing a lot of these days—I use melatonin to help with jet lag 0. Based on the answers to these questions, jet lag can affect us all differently—but it seems to effect almost everyone. Melatonin plays an essential role in keeping our bodies functioning on our best bio time. This, in turn, has broad effects on our overall health. What is melatonin?
How to Use Melatonin for Better Sleep
Melatonin can be a very effective way to help your body sleep better — not just longer, or faster, but better , giving your brain the rest and cycles it needs to work well. Melatonin is not a sleeping pill, so taking it just before bedtime will make things worse, not better. The wrong approach, then, is what most people mistakenly do: taking it shortly before you want to fall asleep. In the US, we tend to think that if a little helps, more is better… definitely not so in the case of melatonin dosage, where less is more. I cringe when I hear that people have been taking 10mg doses. Psychotherapy can be highly effective for helping with sleep and related mood problems, and there are also excellent results from CBT-I Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia.
Waking up in the middle of the night is called insomnia, and it's a common problem. Mid-sleep awakenings often occur during periods of stress. Over-the-counter sleep aids rarely offer significant or sustained help for this problem. In some cases, insomnia is caused by a medical condition such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome or chronic pain, or by a mental health disorder such as depression.
Sleepless? Five Things to Know About Using Melatonin Correctly
Healthy UH. View more from this blog. By UHBlog.
Sleeping well directly affects your mental and physical health. Fall short and it can take a serious toll on your daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance, and even your weight. Yet many of us regularly toss and turn at night, struggling to get the sleep we need. Just as the way you feel during your waking hours often hinges on how well you sleep at night, so the cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine.