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Nutritional Spotlight: Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland, a teeny tiny gland in the brain. Often referred to as the “sleep hormone,” melatonin is in charge of your body’s sleeping and waking cycles. Natural melatonin levels drop as we get older — so much so that some women over 45 make extremely small amounts or even none whatsoever.

The Benefits

The obvious benefit of a melatonin supplement is pretty great: Since melatonin is in charge of regulating your internal body clock, it’s a natural way to get a full night’s rest sans prescription sleep aids. But underneath that shut-eye is a whole world of benefits associated with what happens when we’re able to really, truly rest.

As we age and it becomes harder to get the rest we need, it’s also harder to get the reparative and restorative benefits of adequate rest. By supplementing with melatonin, you can lessen insomnia and daytime sleepiness and increase your body’s ability to repair itself efficiently, whether recovering from a tough workout or lowering your blood pressure after a stressful day.

The Best Bets

We speak from experience when we say a little goes a long way. Take too much and you could be facing the kind of drowsiness that makes you want to nap all day!

The average woman needs less than 1 milligram to see positive effects, but since most supplements sold are in the 3-to-5-milligrams-per-dose range, we recommend starting with Pure Encapsulations 0.5-milligram supplement and slowly increase to find what’s best for you.

Photo: Tetmc

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