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Melatonin is a hormone that is associated with the sleep-wake cycle.  When people talk about not getting good sleep, many times their body is not producing enough melatonin to put them into the deep sleep that is needed for the body to repair itself.  Because of this, you might wake up extremely tired and unmotivated throughout the entire day.  Melatonin can be purchased over the counter and taken in small doses so you can test how much you need to get the proper amount of deep sleep.  Current studies suggest that melatonin could be linked to something other than how good or poorly you sleep.  One study suggests that there is a link between lower levels of melatonin in the body and an increased chance of prostate cancer.  The studies are very new, but there is evidence that if you have lower levels, the chance for prostate cancer is higher when compared to men that have higher levels of melatonin.

Researchers have measured first morning urinary melatonin metabolite in 928 men that do not have prostate cancer.  During the research period, 111 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, including 24 of them that had the cancer in an advanced state.  The metabolite that was tested was called 6-sulfatoxymelatonin or 6-STM and for those that had a level below the tested median, the chances of prostate cancer was 4 times more likely.  The time that researchers followed up with patients from the time they took the urine tests was about 2.3 years.  Men in the study that reported to have sleep problems during the baseline, has lower morning levels of 6-STM compared with others that did not report sleep problems.  One researcher claimed that night-shift work was a human carcinogen based on data from breast cancer research.

People are generally supposed to be sleeping at night and not working.  By working at night, you are disrupting the rhythms in the body and that could affect the natural secretion of melatonin through nocturnal exposure to artificial light.  In other studies, night-shift work has been linked to advanced risks for prostate cancer, saying that men that worked at night had a 2.8 times more risk than those that never worked at night.  The main study showed that one in seven men reported they had problems getting good rest, one in five could not stay asleep and one in three had to take medications to fall asleep.  Because the studies are very new to the medical world, more needs to be done to investigate the link between sleep duration, melatonin production and the risk for prostate cancer.  For now, the studies look promising for those that are curious if they have a high chance of prostate cancer.

Because melatonin can reduce the risk of prostate cancer, it is very important that you understand the ways that you can increase the levels of melatonin naturally.  By having a schedule that keeps you up at night might be one way that you are blocking the natural production of melatonin.  By allowing your body to naturally produce melatonin, you will have a 75 percent less chance of developing prostate cancer.  Because the body only produces melatonin when it is dark and at night, it is important that you do not work at night or stay up very late when you should be sleeping.  Because supplements for melatonin can be purchased and can be relatively safe, that does not mean there are no worries.  According to one doctor, even if you are taking a melatonin supplement, you should be very careful about it.  Taking too much melatonin could lead to your body not knowing how or when to produce it naturally.

Other than increasing your melatonin levels naturally, good sleep has other benefits that include lowering the risk of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.  The easiest way to make sure you are producing melatonin naturally is to keep your bedroom dark at night and to stay on a normal sleep schedule.  If you cannot maintain that, supplements are an option that can be used.  Low melatonin levels can be detected and if you think you are getting poor sleep, you could consult your doctor for ways to improve both.


Richard Lotenfoe Written on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 17:54 by Richard Lotenfoe

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