Melatonin is a neurohormone that creates by the pineal gland in the brain in response to darkness.
It is also known as the hormone of darkness.
Our body releases melatonin at night in response to stimuli that affect our sleep-wake cycle known as circadian rhythm.
Melatonin is also available in supplements that have been used for the treatment of jet lag, and insomnia, and for shift workers.
We know that melatonin can reduce stress, and boost immunity, by restoring a normal sleep cycle, but can MT can help with mental health woes?
So today’s topic will tell about melatonin for mental health woes.
How can low melatonin affect mood?
It is possible that in some cases, the body may not be producing enough melatonin this can cause:
- trouble in relaxing
There are many factors that can cause low melatonin levels which include:
- Alcohol and smoking consumption
- shift workers
- old age
- certain medicine
- too much light including blue light
- certain medical conditions like depression (1) (2)
Can Reduce Anxiety
Researcher has shown that melatonin has been used for anxiety.
An animal study showed that melatonin increased the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.
And higher GABA level has been shown a calming effect and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Chronic poor sleep quality can lead to long-term mood disorders such as anxiety and depression (3).
Dr. Rafla-Yuan says have not shown any report that taking MT every day is an effective treatment for general, and social anxiety.
However, Dr. Rafla says that it helps patients with managing anxiety with medical and dental procedures.
Melatonin for Depression
There is less evidence that supports that melatonin positively affects depression.
Depression is the most common mental disorder, which affects approximately 20% of the world’s population (4).
One study showed a significant treatment effect on depression with melatonin compared to a placebo (9).
Another study suggests that MT can decrease the risk of depression after having breast cancer treatment for 3 months.
2002, and 2006 multiple studies have shown people with depression may have higher levels of melatonin at night (10).
NOTE: Melatonin helps you fall asleep and makes you feel low energized, and if you have less energy that may be a sign of depression (11).
Taking melatonin could potentially make worse the condition.
If you take any depression medicine, first try to find a natural way to treat it, or talk to your doctor about drugs, before consuming it.
A small study found that melatonin might be beneficial for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which involves depression.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder, which affects anyone, even healthy fit people, it mostly occurs in the winter season.
NOTE: During winter there is a lack of sun exposure, which affects the internal clock of our body gets disturbed.
This clock gets disturbed because there is a drop decrease in a chemical called serotonin in our brain (these chemicals control our mood).
In the winter season days become darker, where melatonin production increases, and in response, those with SAD feel sleepy and lethargic (12).
In another study, results showed that treatment with melatonin significantly decreased depression levels compared to placebo (13).
Melatonin can help with Headache
It has been suggested melatonin may play a vital therapeutic role in the treatment of migraines and other types of headaches.
The study showed that a certain amount of melatonin was effective in treating migraines, even though it was unclear to other studies.
Headaches can happen due to many reasons which include:
- Stress, Tension
- During Pre-menstrual cycle also happen
- Lack of sleep
- Stomach gas, when you do not release the gas, so this goes upwards to the brain, leads head pain
- Tumors, and injuries in the brain
- Skipping eating food for a long-time, also lead to Weakness.
- High blood pressure
- Drinking Excessive alcohol and smoking
- Hunger, lead to anger
- If Caffeine and tea consumption are high
- Cold, and flu
What ABout – Melatonin for Bipolar disorder
Melatonin exerts in bipolar patients by normalizing the sleep/wake cycle and may improve both sleep duration and quality.
According to the Mayoclinic, bipolar disorder also called manic depression that causes extreme mood swings.
Research has shown that melatonin is an adjunctive treatment for mood stabilizers in treating sleep disorders in bipolar disorder.
Its treatment primarily focuses on a stable person’s mood and reducing the severity of symptoms, which helps a person to live happily.
- physical intervention
- Lifestyle changes
Melatonin is produced in darkness, and being exposed to light at night can block MT production, which interacts with sleep patterns.
Melatonin for mental health includes reducing stress, and anxiety levels, which promote sleep quality, and also can help in depression.