Monday, April 29, 2013

Melatonin - sleep inducer and cancer inhibitor, under threat

Over the years societies have extended their day with electric light, now many of us sleep in a light-infused limbo with text messages and emails coming and going, while a variety of light emitting devices - laptops, computers, TVs, DVD players, alarm clocks, phone chargers and more constantly glow and wink through the hours that Nature designed to be experienced in complete darkness. 

The victim of all these light-infused hours is melatonin - the hormone produced by the pineal gland and responsible for putting us to sleep. But melatonin does much more than make us dozy, it’s a powerful antioxidant, cancer-inhibitor and all round important good-guy in our biological armoury for immune support, hormone balance, and protection against brain-ageing... 

We’re victims of light-filled slumber hours in other ways. Societies who cannot extend their day with electric light (and sadly these are now extremely few in number) demonstrate vastly different sleep cycles. Rising with the sun and retiring at dark, the number of hours slept are much greater (and obviously vary with the seasons) and there are lucid or wakeful periods when the individual processes or makes sense of his dreams.

When was the last time you slept in a completely darkened room? When was the last time you went to bed when darkness fell? When was the last time you "processed" a dream? If your work and leisure habits mean an unwavering commitment to extending the daylight hours, red, orange and yellow light is healthier than blue and white. A salt lamp is a great way to spread a night time glow that leaves melatonin production relatively undisturbed. If you think you could do with a bit of night-time support, best option is the only plant-based melatonin in the world. Options for inducing sleep or preventing jet-lag.

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