Recent research has shown that women who were given melatonin could double their chances of getting pregnant through IVF. The work was presented at the world congress of fertility and sterility in Munich and published in the Journal of Pineal Research. The team found that melatonin significantly increased melatonin concentrations in women”s follicles and significantly decreased concentrations of damaging 8-OhdG. The results showed 50% of the follicles taken from the women given melatonin were successful transferred into the womb, compared with 22.8% of the control group. Pregnancy rates in the melatonin group were 19% compared with 10.2% of the control.
So what is melatonin and how does it help?
Melatonin is a naturally occurring compound found in humans. It is produced by the pineal gland to form part of the sleep-wake cycle. It chemically causes drowsiness, aids sleep and decreases body temperature. Production is increased by less light in the retina and decreased with the increase of light, naturally in response to the time of day.
Melatonin is a powerful anti-oxidant that is it repairs free radical damaging caused by stress oxidation. It is considered more powerful as an anti-oxidant than Vitamin A, C or E. Natural secretion of melatonin occurs from 9pm till 7.30am at approximately between 5-25mcg. The melatonin secretion naturally decreases as we age causing more restlessness and trouble sleeping.
So how can I naturally increase my melatonin?
There are several ways in which we can naturally increase you melatonin here are a few simple ways;
GO TO BED EARLY
Going to bed early and waking early has a significant effect on your overall sleep. We encourage all clients wanting to conceive weather using IVF or naturally to go to bed 4/7 nights at 10pm.
If you are a regular midnight sleeper a simple way to naturally revert your body back into natural rhythm is to try going to bed 15 minutes earlier every few days within a few weeks your body will be acclimatised to a the new routine.
GET UP EARLY
Getting up early before work is the best time to exercise! The morning sunlight will help inhibit the production of melatonin. From a Chinese medicine perspective the morning is a great time for yoga or tai chi. Youtube has some great beginner video”s for some ideas.
EAT FOODS RICH IN NIACINAMIDE, B6 AND MAGNESIUM
Food rich in niacinamide, B6 and Magnesium contain naturally occurring melatonin. Try include more green vegetables, fish, turkey, whole grains / cereals, lentils and bananas into your diet.
Do not do any stimulating activity at night. I also suggest some clients use a magnesium supplement at night; I find it helps promote muscle relaxation.
STOP SHIFT WORK
Irregular sleep patterns such as shift workers have significantly lower levels of melatonin. From our clinical experience shift workers often suffer from infertility and lower anti-malarian hormone levels.
TURN OFF THE LIGHTS
Turn off all lights at night including the TV and bedside glowing digital clocks. It is important that if you wake at night you do not look at a clock or turn on any lights, the light could send signals to your pineal gland to inhibit the production of melatonin resulting in a less restful night”s sleep.
I also find that it sets a bad habit; Clients often remark that they wake the exact time every night or close to, after suggestion of not looking at the digital clock, the client generally finds that eventually they can sleep through the night. It is also important not to switch any lights on going to the toilet etc. during the night as this will have a similar effect.
STILL NOT SLEEPING WELL?
Melatonin can be supplemented, talk to your doctor or health care practitioner.
1. Vickets (2010) Melatonin could improve women”s IVF success, found at http://www.ivf.net/ivf/melatonin-could-improve-women-s-ivf-success-o5387.html, sited 3/9/12
2. B Best (2012) Melatonin, http://www.benbest.com/nutrceut/melatonin.html, sited 3/9/12
3. A Hunter (2012) How to increase your natural melatonin production, http://www.livestrong.com/article/510836-how-to-increase-your-natural-melatonin-production, sited 3/9/12