Melatonin, Official, Olympics discussed on Fresh Air - 'Why We Sleep'

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

And by the time you're in your 50s you've perhaps lost almost forty two fifty percent of that deep sleep that you are having for example when you were a teenager by aged seventy you may have lost almost ninety percent of that deep sleep for people who have trouble sleeping whether it's a function of age anxiety or pain are just they're not very talented at sleeping a lot of those people turn to pills of one sort or another to helps said the pill might be an ambient kind of power melatonin or innocent mother over the counter erber or whatever so let's talk about some of these options and see what you think of them let's start with melatonin i want you to describe what melatonin is and what it's good for and what it's really not going to be very helpful with melatonin is actually a hormone that is released when darkness begins and so during the day melatonin is actually suppressed and is at low levels within the brain and the body but as dusk starts to occur normally melatonin levels will start to rise and melatonin as a consequence is being called the hormone of darkness or the vampire hormone i think i've even heard people call it and melatonin is designed to help you regulate the timing of your sleep so melatonin does not actually participate in the generation of sleep itself and it slightly misunderstood many people think that it helps them fall asleep more quickly or stay asleep the touchy not true if you look at the cuff lee controlled studies so perhaps one way to think of melatonin is a little bit like the starting official in the hundred meter race at the olympics but official with a gun the official melatonin actually organizes the great sleep race and then begins the race but that official does not participate in the race itself and that's the case for melatonin and sleep there are a whole set of different chemicals and brain mechanisms that actually generate sleep and get you into sleep melatonin simply times when sleep is going to occur nought the generation of sleep itself.

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