Episode 76 – The Mysteries of Melatonin

by | Dec 24, 2018 | Podcast, Reflection + Gratitude | 0 comments

In this week’s episode, I’m talking about the yin to cortisol’s yang – melatonin. In these past few episodes, while I’ve been chatting all about cortisol – our stress hormone, I’ve been planting seeds and painting the picture of cortisol being like the sun, while melatonin is the like the moon.

So, being that the full moon was just a couple days ago, if you are listening to this in real time, we’re going to be chatting all about melatonin.

Links + Resources from this Episode:

 

Meet Your Host:

Michelle Rogers, ND, MSAOM, FDN-P

Over the past several years, I’ve created the most accessible, streamlined and effective virtual practice working with high-achieving women entrepreneurs, go-getters, and other badass women all over the world.

I intentionally blend my background of Functional, Naturopathic, and East Asian Medicine with my extensive experience in the online business world to help provide my clients with the personalized blueprint and strategy they need to get the mental focus, energy and business strategy required to share their gifts, better serve their clients and show up even more for the people they love.

Episode Transcript

Hey there, Michelle here with another episode for you, and today I’m talking about the yin to cortisol’s yang – melatonin. In these past few episodes, while I’ve been chatting all about cortisol – our stress hormone, I’ve been planting seeds and painting the picture of cortisol being like the sun, while melatonin is the like the moon.

 

So, being that the full moon was just a couple days ago, if you are listening to this in real time, we’re going to be chatting all about melatonin.

 

I’m pretty sure most of you are probably familiar with melatonin, maybe even a couple of you are taking melatonin to help you sleep, because a crappy night’s sleep equals crappy energy and mental focus the next day.

 

Right?

 

Those of you who are taking melatonin, and thinking you’re getting a good night sleep, are still waking up feeling a bit groggy – if you’ve been wondering why this is… it’s kinda like a melatonin hangover, which tends to happen if we have sluggish liver detox pathways, because it’s not clearing our of our system in time and is actually suppressing our morning surge of cortisol.

 

To give you a little background on this sleepy hormone – the majority of our melatonin is made in the gut. Melatonin is made from our tryptophan pathway, which includes serotonin, and about 90% of our serotonin is made in our gut – if, of course, our gut is functioning as it should – which means if your gut is inflamed, you have leaky gut or you have imbalanced gut flora, I wouldn’t be surprised if your melatonin production was compromised.

 

Melatonin is ALSO made in our brain – specifically in our pineal gland. BUT this source of melatonin is only stimulated by darkness. This is one of the main reasons why getting off your screens – TVs, computers, cell phones – is SO important to do at least an hour before bed. If we’re on our screens, even with the red light features, we’re not allowing our body to produce the amount of melatonin it’s capable of – essentially suppressing melatonin production.

 

Like cortisol, melatonin is critical for our sleep/wake cycle – a powerful chronobiotic dictating our body clock, BUT it’s also a super important player in our menstrual cycle and reproductive health. Who knew, right?

 

Research has shown that melatonin enhances luteinizing hormone levels in women during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, which means that it’s involved in ovulation.

 

It’s also been shown that melatonin enhances prolactin secretion and can also decrease progesterone and estradiol levels. That being said, it’s definitely important to chat with a knowledgeable practitioner before you start taking melatonin for sleep help.

 

Honestly, I almost never recommend taking melatonin. There’s just SO many things you can do, and various herbs you can take, to improve your sleep quality without taking melatonin directly. If you need tips on this, go back to episode 74, which is ALL about calibrating your biorhythm and improving your sleep cycle.

 

Since melatonin can decrease progesterone and estradiol levels, elevated melatonin may actually interfere with ovulation. It can also contribute to mood disorders and lowered body temperature.

 

It’s very rare that I see elevated melatonin levels on labs, so today, I’ll just be sticking to low melatonin.

 

That being said, low levels typically contribute to insomnia, sleep/wake disorders, mood disorders, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, and cancer.

 

Melatonin is an extremely powerful antioxidant, so it helps to mop up all the cellular waste and toxicity that our body processes overnight. It’s even used in a lot of adjunctive and alternative cancer therapies to inhibit cancer cell growth.

 

The thing is low levels of melatonin, like elevated levels of cortisol, can actually mess with our blood sugar balance and be a large contributing factor to insulin resistance, which is related to weight gain, resistant weight loss, PCOS, diabetes, metabolic issues and so many other chronic conditions.

 

Low melatonin can be caused high cortisol at night – if you remember from my previous episodes, our cortisol should be at its lowest when we go to bed. Women who have elevated cortisol at night will typically have trouble falling asleep, racing thoughts, worry, anxiety – things like that – it’s typically called a reverse curve.

 

Speaking of elevated cortisol, if we exercise too late in the day, we can actually suppress our melatonin production for up to three hours.

 

Melatonin can also be lowered by drinking alcohol, blue light from our screens, genetic variations, low tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid – meaning our body doesn’t produce it on its own, and also some medications, like ibuprofen, Prozac and others can also decrease melatonin.

 

Alright, so if you’re sleep is wonky, some easy ways to naturally boost melatonin production are:

 

FIRST –  Heal your gut! If you know, or suspect, that you have a gut imbalance, please reach out – I work one on one with women to do a comprehensive gut analysis and strategize a personalized 5R protocol for them. I know I’ve mentioned my 5R protocol in the past, but it stands for Remove, Replace, Repopulate, Repair and Rebalance – and, of course, you know I like to test, don’t guess, so ideally, we want to add on that 6th R with is Retest.

 

Healing the gut is not only going to help improve your serotonin production, but it’s also going to help you with overall hormone balance.

 

NEXT – like I mentioned, avoid all screens at least an hour before bed. This is going to help stimulate the production of melatonin from the pineal gland – because, remember, it needs darkness.

 

If you simply can’t avoid screens an hour before bed, which maybe then we need to have a chat about your priorities… get some blue light blocking glasses. These are actually even be helpful to start wearing when the sun goes down to just help your body acclimate to a happy biorhythm.

 

Speaking of which – NEXT – make your bedroom your sleep sanctuary. Seriously. Sleep in TOTAL darkness – get blackout curtains or wear a eye mask, if necessary – whatever it takes.

 

Healthy melatonin levels, means good sleep and good sleep, means that we release adequate levels of growth hormone, which helps to clean and repair all our cells, so we can wake up feeling refreshed and restored.

Alright, so in summary – to boost your melatonin levels naturally:

  • Heal your gut – hit me up if you want to talk about this more.
  • Avoid all screens at least an hour before bed and/or get blue light blocking glasses.
  • And finally, sleep in total darkness.

 

And that’s a wrap for this week – if you found this episode helpful, please share it with someone you love.

 

ALSO, registration for Your Metabolic RESET closes on December 26th, so if you’ve been thinking about it, now is the time – 2019 is the year of transformation!

 

To learn more about Your Metabolic RESET, head to wellthywoman.co/ymr which stands for Your Metabolic Reset.

 

Otherwise, I’d really like to know what you thought about this episode, so hit me up on Instagram, send me a DM or take a screenshot of you listening and tag me @wellthywoman.co.

 

Also, if you’re loving these episodes please leave a review – it helps the growth of this show, allows me to bring more amazing guests on and helps MORE women take charge of their own health.

 

So, tune in next week for more awesome and actionable info! I’m interviewing the amazing Danielle Amos, who is one of Bob Proctor’s top 10 coaches, and she has some SERIOUS gems to share with you.

 

Chat with you then!

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