The most basic question that one must first ask is: What is jet lag, and how does it interrupt one’s sleep schedule.
Again, the answer deals with disruption of the biological clock. While one travels from one time zone to another, it is this clock that gets disoriented, which in turn results in sleeplessness.
Hence, we must bring our biological clock back in sync. To do this, melatonin, or the sleep-inducing hormone has to be induced. In this situation, sleep is necessary at a time when the gland that produces the hormone, called the pineal gland, is normally inactive.
Which is why, we use medicinal supplements of melatonin. Here are the two basic ways in which melatonin proves helpful in sleep-induction.
- It tells the brain to sleep at a time other than its normal schedule.
- It helps to synchronize the timing of the body clock.
However, one must consider the following factors before using these medicinal supplements.
- Avoid using melatonin sleep remedy without medical advice.
- Attempt intake of the supplement in a safe environment, before your first trip.
- Stay away from alcohol and caffeine.
- Children and pregnant women must not consume the supplements.
One must consider these factors while taking melatonin. As mentioned earlier, melatonin intake has to be properly timed as well. An early intake of the supplement leads to undue lethargy. This in turn delays adaptation to the time zone that one is changing to. Overdose of melatonin supplements, like any other medicine overdose, can be injurious to health.
Also, melatonin supplements can contain an abnormally high level of the hormone which may cause side-effects.
The exhaustion caused due to long hours of travel has nothing to do with one’s sleep schedule getting disrupted. Thus, sleep disruption is one amongst a host of other causal factors of exhaustion during a long flight.
Therefore, a close monitoring of the amount of melatonin køb intake is of utmost importance. One must strictly follow dosage routines to get just the right amount to melatonin to re-synchronize the biological clock.
Which is why, medical recommendation is necessary for administration of melatonin supplements. Thus, always consult your doctor when you think of using these supplements. With proper guides for usage of melatonin as a supplement, users have given a positive feedback.
To understand how melatonin works, and how important it is in our physiological system, let’s have a look into the biological clock functions.
As already stated, pineal glands, placed right above the brain center, secrete melatonin. When natural light decreases, the glands receive their signal for hormonal release. This signaling center is termed as Suprachiasmatic Nucleus or SCN. It is actually SCN that acts as the biological clock which regulates the rest and activity states of a person.
Reduced light triggers the activities of the pineal gland. Hence, melatonin secretion is maximum during the night. Which is why, we call it the ‘Dracula of Hormones’. Light levels are vital in melatonin secretion.
We had earlier spoken on how a switch of time zones disrupts the biological clock. The reason why this interruption happens is due to variation in light levels. This ultimately sums up in lowering sleep levels of a traveler who ends up switching time zones.
Or choose a more natural approach
Medical professionals recommend natural intake of the hormone than the medically induced ingestion. Increasing intake of fruits like oranges, strawberries, tarts, etc., increases natural melatonin. However, in cases where sleep patterns go awry due to induced conditions, like jet lag for example, a slight medical intervention is acceptable, as pointed out earlier.
So, monitor your melatonin intake, under medical supervision. Nothing produces better results than an optimum medical routine.