A night’s sleep for a healthier life

Morpheus’ hands are not a given

Melatonin is quickly washed out into the blood and cerebrospinal fluid, from where it informs all cells of the whole body about what stage of the day we are at. This information is subordinated to the physiological functions of organs and the whole organism, which change with the change of day and night. Lighting in the evening, at night or early in the morning shortens the dark part of the day and reduces the amount of melatonin produced in 24 hours. In recent years, attention has been drawn to the possible adverse effects of these changes on our health.

According to previous studies, melatonin has a number of irreplaceable natural functions: sleep regulation, alternating abilities to perform during the day (the so-called circadian rhythm), mood control, and also has immune, antitumor, and antioxidant activity.

The ability to produce melatonin decreases with age. He is very much worried about night vigils (shift work, leisure, shopping) or rapid movement through several time zones in air travel; Some medications also have a negative impact.

Waking up and sleeping in (not)balance

Studies describing a higher incidence of cancer among flight attendants on transcontinental routes and women working three shifts (especially breast cancer) and men of similar professions (prostate cancer) have aroused interest in the spectrum of effects of melatonin. In experimental animals with various types of tumors, melatonin production was low, since during the day after exposure to night lighting, tumors grew faster and the animals survived less.

Researchers have asked the question: Can melatonin really purposefully protect me? Answer: YES! The main causes of aging and many diseases (for example, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, senile dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease) are so-called free radicals; their accumulation causes oxidative stress in the body. Antioxidants, found mainly in fruits and vegetables, provide some protection from their effects. But even melatonin significantly reduces oxidative stress, even more, effective than vitamin E or vitamin C.

Antitumor effect of melatonin

Melatonin also has a toxic effect on tumor cells, leading to their destruction. It reduces the ability of tumors to penetrate into tissues and form metastases, preventing the growth of blood vessels in the tumor tissue, thereby reducing the supply of nutrients to the tumor.

With higher melatonin production at night, people experience a decrease in systolic (“upper”) and diastolic (“lower”) blood pressure, which preserves a continuously working heart and blood circulation.

Some studies describe the relationship between the violation of daily biological rhythms and the occurrence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes mellitus. Studies have revealed the presence of the so-called “brown” fat component in human adipose tissue, which burns a large amount of energy and reduces white fat reserves; melatonin significantly supports the formation of brown fat. These results can be of great practical importance in the treatment of obesity and concomitant diseases (diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular and oncological, orthopedic diseases, etc.).

The price is for our convenience

Modern or fashionable disorders of physiological processes based on the change of day and night can contribute to the occurrence of many diseases. The cessation of the tendency to shift human activity tonight hours can have a positive impact on the health of the population. Night shift work should be limited to operations where absolutely necessary. Shopping, frequent overnight stays, and other reasons for night vigils contradict the innate conditions to which people have adapted over the millennia.


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