Sustained release melatonin vs. Regular melatonin: What’s the difference?

Created on: November 29, 2021

Sleep is one of the most important parts of the day for your body to rest, reset, and refresh. When it comes to good quality sleep, melatonin is the key ingredient. And there are many factors that affect melatonin production, which is why some people opt for a melatonin supplement. But how do you choose the right one for you?

What is melatonin and why do our bodies need it?

Melatonin is a hormone that’s naturally produced in the pineal gland in your brain. It plays a role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle (or the circadian rhythm) by responding to changes in light. Melatonin helps your body determine what to do based on the time of the day. Darkness prompts the body to make more melatonin, which is how your body knows when to sleep.

Factors that contribute to low melatonin

Your circadian rhythm can get disrupted when you spend too much time on your phone, laptop, or other screens at night. Overusing electronic devices right before you go to bed decreases melatonin production because your body gets confused with the different forms of lights in its surroundings.

Not getting enough natural light during the day also reduces your body’s production of melatonin. Studies have shown that a lack of exposure to natural light is related to higher levels of cortisol as well as depressive symptoms. Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone and works in opposition to melatonin in your body. With that being said, it’s easy to understand that chronic stress also plays a major role in reducing your melatonin levels.

Although it’s unclear exactly how smoking causes reduced levels of melatonin, studies indicate that melatonin can help protect the respiratory system. Melatonin is said to reduce the free radical damage caused by cigarette smoke.

Overnight shift work can also disrupt the body’s internal clock. Those who work during the night have to sleep during the daytime. This confuses the body and lowers melatonin production since melatonin isn’t produced in natural daylight.

Additionally, certain lifestyle habits make some people more prone to lower levels of melatonin than others. This includes excessive alcohol or caffeine intake and frequent travel to different time zones.

If you believe you have low levels of melatonin, consider asking your doctor if melatonin supplementation may be a solution for you.

electronic devices

Melatonin supplementation

Now that you know what melatonin is and why it’s important to make sure your body produces enough of it, let’s discuss the different types of melatonin dietary supplements. There are two types: regular melatonin and sustained-release melatonin.

What is regular melatonin?

Regular melatonin supplements are designed to release melatonin immediately. The tablet dissolves as soon as you ingest it, which triggers the melatonin to be released into your bloodstream.

What is sustained-release melatonin?

Sustained-release melatonin is a bit different. It is a slow-dissolving form of melatonin that mimics your body’s natural production of the hormone. This is said to help regulate your body’s internal clock and is thought to be better for staying asleep throughout the entire night.

Sustained-release melatonin has also been called:

  • Extended-release melatonin
  • Slow-release melatonin
  • Continuous release melatonin
  • Time release melatonin
  • Prolonged release melatonin
  • Controlled release melatonin

Although i’s available in these different forms, melatonin’s main job is to act as a sleep aid and help you feel rejuvenated when you wake up. If you struggle with sleep, talk to your doctor about melatonin supplementation to start your journey towards well-rested sleep.

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