Melatonin is known to be a hormone naturally produced in the body. Melatonin helps the body maintain its sleep cycle, what is more commonly known as the biological clock. On an average, humans work/stay awake for about 16 hours during the day and sleep for about 8 hours. This body cycle is regulated by Melatonin.
Melatonin supplements should be taken exactly as per the doctor’s directions. If you are taking Melatonin to help you with a sleep disorder, take it about half an hour before you go to sleep. This is primarily because it takes some time for the drug to become effective. While the supplement may do wonders for some individuals, it may not function as effectively for others. In this case it is best to seek the doctor’s advice.
The most common side effects of Melatonin include frequent headache and an altered sleep pattern. Although very rare, an allergic reaction may occur resulting in hives, itching skin rashes and confusion, in which case a doctor should be consulted right away.
We always think of wearing something cosy to bed to get a good night's sleep. We even dress up kids to be comfortable and bundled up so they can get a sound sleep. Studies have shown that contrary to popular belief, sleeping nude is the best way to a sound sleep. In addition to good sleep, there are other benefits that have been identified too, as listed below:
There you go - a lot of valid scientifically proven reasons to drop those night suits and pajamas off - what is more, there is also a cost saving here! In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
For most of us, our smartphone is the first thing we look at in the morning and the last thing we check before going to bed. But, is it a right practise? Well, it is not. As per a recent study published by the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, using a smartphone right before bedtime actually reduces the overall quality of sleep.
Thus, even if we are spending only some time on our smartphone before going to bed, it affects our overall mental and physical well-being. Want to know more about the problems sleep deprivation can cause or solutions that can help, consult our expert & get answers to questions!
Benefits and uses of chamomile tea
Most of the people have benefitted greatly from chamomile tea, so let’s take a closer look at some of its benefits and uses that impressed them.
1. Skin care
Due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich nature of chamomile tea, it is not exclusively used as a beverage. You can topically apply warm or cold chamomile tea to the site of irritations or skin conditions, such as eczema. Research has shown that this sort of direct application can significantly improve healing and lessen the appearance of blemishes and wrinkles on the face. Eliminating oxidative stress and boosting the immune response in these areas can do wonders for your skin.
2. Boosts immune system
If you want to strengthen your immune system to ward off infections, chamomile tea is the answer. There is a certain amount of phenolic compound in chamomile tea that is specifically linked to fighting bacterial infections in the body. Studies have shown that 5-6 glasses of this tea over a course of two weeks can significantly improve the body’s ability to fight infections.
3. Relieves menstrual discomfort
The anti-inflammatory nature of chamomile tea makes this relaxant a popular choice for women dealing with the symptoms of menstruation like bloating, cramping, anxiety, sweating, inability to sleep, and mood swings. Chamomile tea can directly affect many of these symptoms by soothing the mind and body, and reducing inflammation that may be causing discomforts.
4. Relieves stress
One of the most popular uses of a cup of chamomile tea is in the stress and anxiety treatment. After a long day at work, the warm, soothing nature of this beverage can help to increase the levels of serotonin and melatonin in your body. These levels can successfully eliminate stress and worry, while also slowing down your mind and eliminating the classic symptoms of anxiety. 1-2 cups of chamomile tea per day can do a significant help against chronic stress. Again, while pregnancy can be a stressful time, it can cause an increased risk of miscarriage.
5. Induces sleep
In a similar way that chamomile tea can ease stress and worry, it can also be an overall sleep aid, particularly for people who struggle with restless, non-restful or rejuvenating sleep. Even those struggling with sleep apnea and other disorders may benefit from the effects of chamomile tea. Drinking a warm cup of non-caffeinated chamomile tea can help you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed.
6. Manages diabetes
Research has shown that chamomile tea can be useful for people suffering from diabetes. By helping to lower blood sugar levels and regulating the amount of insulin in the blood, the powerful organic chemicals in it help to eliminate massive drops and spikes in blood sugar.
7. Treats stomach issues
If you are suffering from stomach irritation, ranging anywhere from mild bloating to ibs symptoms, chamomile tea can be a major help. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help to ease the twisting nature of your gut and allow for the passage of gas and smoother bowel movements. A single mug of chamomile tea can make you feel better, but continuous use of this can help to prevent serious conditions from developing in your gut.
8. Hair care
Apart from all of the impressive attributes of chamomile tea, many users claim that it improves the appearance and strength of the hair. While the anti-inflammatory components can help to alleviate irritation on the scalp, the stronger chemicals can fortify the strands of your hair, eliminate dandruff, and generally give your hair a better, silkier look.
Can you recall a time when you are lying in bed or in a dark room starting at your mobile phone screen or your laptop? Maybe you have an email to send just before you head to bed, or you have to finish that last stage of Candy Crush before you retire to bed?
The light that is emitted from your phone or your computer is called 'blue light' and it is harmful at night. Let's see why.
Your Normal Circadian Rhythm
For millions of years, the sun has been the primary source of light for all creatures on earth, including humans.
It is rare for us to require any artificial sources of light during the day, unless we are in a closed space that lacks windows. While daytime is great for light, night is a different story. How many of you can recall a time when we did not have mobile phones, advanced electronic gadgets or energy efficient light bulbs (compact fluorescent lights, or CFL), and relied on good old tube lights or low voltage light bulbs to illuminate our houses?
Our body has an internal clock that makes it active in the day time and sleepy at night. This circadian rhythm is responsible for keeping us alert and attentive, and relies heavily on external light. The average length of one circadian rhythm is 24 and one quarter hours (24 hours and 15 minutes). This varies in people who have late nights or those who work night shifts.
Our circadian rhythm depends on the release of melatonin, a hormone released in the brain that helps us sleep. In the daytime, the hormone levels are very low, while at night they are high and help you fall asleep. However, if you are exposed to light for long hours at night by staring at your phone or computer or even when sleeping with the light on, your melatonin levels will remain low. This could alter your circadian rhythm, confusing your brain and keeping you awake for longer.
Blame The Blue
There are various wavelengths of light emitted from electronic gadgets and energy saving light bulbs. However, blue light seems to be the most notorious one. Interestingly, CFLs contain about 25% of harmful blue light and LEDs contain about 35% of harmful blue light.
In one experiment that was conducted at Harvard University, it was found that exposure to blue light for 6.5 hours suppressed melatonin release for twice as long as the same duration for green light. It also shifted the circadian rhythm by 3 hours. In another experiment conducted in Toronto, people who were exposed to bright light but were wearing blue-blocking goggles had the same levels of melatonin compared to those who were in a dimly lit room.
Another study looking at teenagers using their mobile phones or gadgets in the night found that just one hour's exposure to blue light reduced melatonin levels by 23%. In two hours, it reduced further to 38%.
Similarly, red light seems to have almost no effect on the circadian rhythm as compared to blue light. Some people even advise using a dark red light as a bed light as it would not interrupt sleep patterns.
The Harmful Effects Of Blue Light
So what effect does blue light really have on the body? Sadly, it is not just about it affecting one's sleep. Excessive exposure to blue light has now been linked to weight gain, heart disease, depression and even some forms of cancer.
Melatonin has anti-cancer properties, and low levels of it at night can increase the risk of cancer. In one study, women who worked night shifts had low melatonin levels and a 50 - 75% greater risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime.
People who are exposed to blue light at night have a lower level of insulin production. This means that any snacks eaten when staying up late are not broken down into glucose and used by the body. Instead, they are converted to fat and increase body weight. Not just that, the low insulin levels mean that diabetes can be a complication of blue light exposure.
Lack of sleep can make you feel tired, worn-out and less productive the next day. However, it might not be your fault entirely because the brain tends to become active when the body is at rest, which could be a reason why you aren’t getting enough sleep at night.
Here are a few tips which might be useful for you to sleep at night:
Keep your room dark: Even the faintest light from your mobile is enough to disrupt your sleep. Thus, try and switch off all your lights and gadgets before going to sleep. If doing that doesn’t help either, use an eye mask to keep the light out.
Carefully select your dinner: Don’t go to bed hungry or overstuffed because either of them might cause discomfort while sleeping and lead to a disruption in your sleep. Also, limit your alcohol consumption at night to refrain from making numerous trips to the washroom. Avoid consuming nicotine and caffeine before going to bed as they take a long time to wear off and can cause havoc in your sleep routine.
Don’t exercise before going to bed: Exercising daily is a necessity as it keeps your body healthy and in shape, but exercising right before going to bed can be disruptive as it might make you more pumped up due to the adrenaline rush. Thus, you should avoid exercising heavily right before going to bed.
Plug out all your devices: Create a technology free zone by plugging out all your devices one hour prior to your usual sleep time. The blue light radiated from your devices can trick your brain into believing that it is daylight and cause a disruption in circadian rhythm (which is an ongoing 24-hour physiological process which is regulated by external factors such as sunlight and temperature).
Consume snooze food: Certain food items can be classified as snooze foods as they ensure better sleep at night. Warm milk contains ‘tryptophan’ which is a precursor to melatonin (hormone that is responsible for the onset of sleep) and ensures better sleep or you could have a spoon of honey which releases ‘orexin’ (a chemical that affects wakefulness and appetite) that reduces alertness levels.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!