The Dracula Hormone: Melatonin for Great Sleep, Anti Aging and More!

The Dracula Hormone, Melatonin, Comes Out at Night

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The "Dracula" Hormone

As opposed to other classes of sleep-inducing medications, melatonin isn't a drug at all. It is produced naturally within the body. Created within the pineal gland, the "Dracula" hormone comes out at night to induce sleep.

The problem is that as we get older, melatonin production decreases. We do need less sleep as we age, of course, but we do need sufficient sleep to carry on the tasks of daily living, like working and raising families, in an alert fashion.

The "Change," and the Awful Changes Wrought

Women on the wrong side of menopause suffer a double whammy where melatonin is concerned. Not only is the amount of melatonin produced on the decrease, but estrogen goes sharply down as well.

As a result, women going through "the change" are prone to suffer the night sweats and hot flashes estrogen loss brings. On top of that, cruelly, we now tend to miss out on the restful sleep that adequate melatonin confers. Yet we still have bills to pay and mouths to feed. We need good sleep now more than ever!

Surprising Benefits of Melatonin

Melatonin to the Rescue

It makes sense to supplement one's dwindling supply of natural melatonin, then, with its pharmaceutical replacement. Keep the garlic on hand for other stuff!

Please note that how much melatonin to take, when to take it and its effectiveness, if any, is only beginning to be understood.

Compared to other sleep medicines, here are some pros and cons to taking melatonin according to reviewers. I concur with them, especially about the vivid dreams. I don't have bad ones too often, but when I do I remember every unpleasant detail. Luckily I usually remember details of my good dreams as well!

  • Pros:
    • Not habit forming
    • Natural hormone, not a medication
    • No grogginess
  • Cons:
    • Can cause vivid dreams/nightmares
    • Effect only lasts 3-4 hours
    • Possible drug interactions

The Other, Incredible, Benefits of Melatonin

Research on melatonin is, unfortunately, scant. Like other prospective therapies derived from nature, melatonin can't be patented and thus, it is not a candidate for pharmaceutical companies to invest in. 

What studies there are, however, note that the beneficial physiological effects of melatonin include

  • detoxification of free radicals and antioxidant actions
  • formation and protection of bones
  • regulation of reproduction, immunity and body mass 
  • therapeutic effects with regard to brain or gastrointestinal protection, psychiatric disorders, cardiovascular diseases and oncostatic effects.
Incredible Benefits of Melatonin

It is beyond the scope of this post to deep dive into studies of these therapeutic effects. However, I would point out that "regulation of ... body mass" means, in plain English, the potential for weight control!

Even more startling is the discovery that melatonin aids in keeping old age and its deleterious effects at bay. 

According to Russel J. Reiter, PhD, from UT Health San Antonio, the fountain of youth that is melatonin has the potential to delay aging by as much as ten years! He elaborates on the sleep aid's endless wonders in his book, Melatonin: Breakthrough Discoveries That Can Help You Combat Aging, Boost Your Immune System, Reduce Your Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease, Get a Better Night's Sleep.

Statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.

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It Works for Me: MidNite Drug-Free Sleep Aid

I have taken MidNite pretty much every night for over ten years now. I was introduced to it when my son, who had been prescribed insomnia-inducing ADHD meds, needed help sleeping. If it was deemed safe and effective enough by his pediatrician, I figured, it was good enough for me as well. Check with your physician to see if it can benefit you as well.

Quality

Mylan, the manufacturer of MidNite, produces a large array of pharmaceutical grade medicinals, so it makes sense they would adhere to quality standards for their line of supplements as well.

Efficacy

I split each tablet in half and start taking the one half when I go to bed. I'll invariably fall asleep within 30 minutes. I usually wake up 4 hours later, at which time I'll take the other half. 4 hours after that, I wake up refreshed and ready for the day! I wish the tabs came pre-scored. Splitting them in half by hand is doable, but each "half" ends up not quite uniform in size.

Cost

The best price I have found is on Amazon, where the tabs end up costing about a quarter each. In stores I have paid over 33 cents each. 

Recommendations and Final Thoughts

Let me finish by again requesting you check with your physician before taking this or any other supplement. If you do try it I would love to know what you think!

I would recommend starting by taking the smallest possible dose -I have found that half a milligram is no more or less effective than five milligrams.

If you find that the dosage recommended on the package is insufficient to get you snoozing, I would advise you add ASMR or a gentle relaxation app to your sleep arsenal. 

The Dracula Hormone for Sleep and So Much More

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34 thoughts on “The Dracula Hormone: Melatonin for Great Sleep, Anti Aging and More!”

  1. Ohhh!! So just like happy hormones Dopamine and serotonin, we can call Melatonin as sleep hormone 😀
    Great information and very well written as well as captivating title!!

  2. Good article! I have used melatonin in the past and had some vivid dreams. I didn’t really feel like it helped me sleep through the night. I like using meditation apps to help me fall asleep like pray or calm.

    1. Hi Jill, you’re right – the effects of melatonin tend to wear off after about 4 hours. I don’t sleep through the night most nights anyway (thanks, overactive bladder!). Will have to look into meditation apps, though. Those sound awesome!

    1. I’m sorry to read that, Danielle. But you are not alone! Just because we may be a bit older, we still have the same responsibilities, if not more, than we did when we could fall asleep when our heads hit the pillow!

  3. I would never sleep without my melatonin.. I’m not sure about the aging part, but that’s maybe because I didn’t start taking it before I was already old! 😂 Should have started sooner! Great post!

      1. I uses to take melatonin when I was in high school because I was waking up so much at night. I found that I would get more tired in the afternoon when I took it instead of sleeping any better. I did get a lot of vivid dreams, but I think I was getting them even when I wasn’t taking melatonin.

  4. Loved the title of this post! Many of my coworkers take melatonin to help sleep (I am a shift worker), but I am not quite there. I am hopeful that I won’t need help sleeping as I get older, but it’s nice to know, this option exists! I had no idea it causes vivid dreams/nightmares tho… oh boy…

  5. I have occasionally thought about trying melatonin in the past. I’ve had sleep issues for years, not just recently in “older” age. I will have to think more seriously about it after reading this article.

  6. I’ve had success with melatonin in the past and know many others who take it on a nightly basis to sleep. I think there’s a lot more to melatonin (and the pineal gland) than we realize! Thank you for the reminder. 😊

  7. I have trouble sleeping when I travel, so I’ll take melatonin when traveling and it helps me fall asleep easier.

  8. I personally sleep like a log lol! My sister, however, tried some melatonin for the first time a few days ago and really liked it. I think she may have tried some gummy for my 4 yr old niece. Definitely not a bad thing to try out to get a great night’s sleep. Thank you for sharing this very informative post!

  9. Good info here on meletonin. I recently started using it again and it has helped a lot. (The “wrong side of menopause”? Which side is wrong??)

  10. I remember the first time I took melatonin, I had some serious nightmare and so I evaded it for years and resorted to Ambien which I think has far worse side effect since I did things (shower) I couldn’t remember and only had some flashbacks on. I still take melatonin from time to time, but now as much anymore. Thanks for explaining the whole dynamics of how melatonin works in simple English language!

    1. Oh my gosh – I took Ambien exactly ONCE. The one time I took it, my then-infant son was crying in his crib in the next room and I literally. could. not. move. to. attend. to. him. Scary!

  11. I used it once to reset my sleep patterns but quickly realized I was no longer getting off the couch during the day! lol I am glad you are recommending a low dose. Too much is never a good thing.

  12. I had no idea melatonin could delay effects of aging! When my oldest was younger, he had terrible trouble sleeping and the doctor gave me a list of foods high in melatonin and it helped.

  13. Suzan | It's My Sustainable Life

    I’ve refrained from using melatonin as the studies are still out there as to many aspects (body not producing it, side effects nausea, dizziness etc). It does work for some (my girlfriend included) tho!

    1. Hi Suzan, it’s puzzling, isn’t it, how something produced by our very own bodies can make us ill? This is why I emphasize checking with your doctor first and taking the lowest possible dosage to start. I myself am not a small person by any stretch yet I take half a 1 mg pill nightly and usually do pretty well with just that.

  14. I have heard great things about melatonin and sleep. I have yet to take this, relying on relaxing music to help me fall asleep. So far so good. 🙂

  15. So interesting. Our bodies change so much and as we age, it’s usually not for the better! Something to look into.

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