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Sleep as Part of a Hormonal Symphony

When your energy level is clicking along nicely during the day, and turns off properly at night, there is an unmistakable feeling of being in sync. Your body must coordinate the function of over 100 trillion cells in order for you to feel in sync, which is done with hormones (substances that give management-like orders). Your brain responds to hormonal signals and your brain creates the messages that become many of the hormones. While this process is rather complex, it is fairly easy to understand that you either feel in sync or you don't.

The conductor of your hormonal orchestra is leptin, a hormone that actually comes from your stored fat. Leptin has many functions in your body including giving you a full signal after a meal and determining how fast your metabolism should run. Leptin is the key bridge between eating behavior and sleep quality. Many individuals who follow the Leptin Diet notice dramatically improved sleep, both in terms of being able to get to sleep and a better quality of sleep.

One of leptins key functions is to synchronize the release of all hormones during sleep, including the release of melatonin that is
the initial cue for your sleep department to start working and to keep working for a proper length of sleep. Smooth leptin function also orchestrates the release of growth hormone, thyroid hormone, and sex hormones during sleep, all of which have a profound influence on your quality of sleep.

Melatonin is also sensitive to the amount of daylight, meaning that when it is dark outside melatonin levels may not peak correctly at night and may drag on during the day making you feel like you are still trying to sleep even though you are awake. This can cause a seasonal mood stress that feels like you are dragging a 40 pound weight around with you all day long.

Melatonin levels decline with age, setting the stage for difficulty getting to sleep and/or staying asleep simply because there is a lack of the main hormone that governs sleep.

Melatonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan. Metabolically-activating amino acids like tyrosine and phenylalanine, as found in red meat and other high protein foods, tend to crowd out the entry of tryptophan into your brain. If you have sleep troubles it is a good idea not to have a high protein/calorie dense meal for dinner. Have such a meal, if you desire, earlier in the day. At dinner eat a smaller amount of protein with lots of vegetables (fiber) and moderate complex carbohydrates. Doing so enables dietary tryptophan to enter your brain better, in turn making the melatonin that will help you sleep.

Melatonin problems are often a percentage of anyones sleep troubles. Following the Leptin Diet and not eating too much protein at dinner, especially too close to bed, will help improve melatonin function. After age 40, age-related melatonin deficiency can range from 0.5 mg or more per day. Seasonal melatonin issues may require 6 mgs. or more of melatonin, depending on the person.

We have melatonin in both 0.5 mg and 3 mg capsules. This enables you to adjust your dose, as needed. Some people use both products, as a 4 mg dose may be what you need. Pick any starting dose and see if it helps you sleep. If not, try a higher amount. If you get too much or you really don't need it you will feel hung over or heavy headed when you wake up. If this happens take less (or none). If you can't tell if melatonin helps you on any dose then there is no need to take it. If you are lacking melatonin and you take some, the sleep assistance is usually pretty obvious. And remember that as the days get shorter you may need to take more, and can lower that amount as summer approaches.

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