Date Effective: May 24, 2023
Photo credit: Hlib Shabashnyi/Shutterstock.com
By Kim Ross, DCN, CNS, IFMCP
Reviewed by Deanna Minich, PhD, CNS, IFMCP
July 6, 2023
In the summer, daytime light begins earlier and ends later, giving us about 16 hours of daylight. Those in the northern regions are particularly subject to these long hours of light.
While that may sound advantageous because more daylight allows us to be more active, it can also present sleep disruption in a variety of ways.
Higher temperatures outdoors can translate into higher temperatures indoors, making it difficult to sleep if fans and air conditioners are unavailable. Lowering core body temperature is one of the fundamental cornerstones of healthy sleep. Melatonin has a hypothermic action. (1) In this way, supplemental melatonin can directly affect sleep.
Increased Light Exposure and the Circadian Rhythm
Increased light exposure, even sunlight, can disrupt sleep cycles and result in less refreshing sleep. Exposure to early morning sunlight, followed by the darkness of the evening, regulates a healthy circadian rhythm for optimal sleep. (1)
Symphony Natural Health’s Medical Team member who specializes in sleep, Dr. Catherine Darley, explains, “Our circadian rhythms are not set by the social clock, but by the natural light-dark cycle.” (2) With the earlier sunrises and later sunsets, circadian rhythms can become altered requiring support to maintain healthy sleep patterns.
Supplementing with 0.3 mg of melatonin 30-60 minutes before the desired bedtime can aid circadian rhythm alignment.
Increased Oxidative Stress
More exposure to sunlight and heat can translate into more oxidative stress, and potentially inflammation. Further, UV radiation generates free radicals. (3) The skin plays a critical role in maintaining homeostasis by regulating oxidative stress and circadian rhythm. In response to oxidative stress, the skin produces melatonin, vitamin D, and melanin. (4) Specifically, vitamin D and melatonin may work synergistically in the skin. Ultraviolet (UV)-B radiation is required to convert 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin to vitamin D3. At the same time, melatonin is an antioxidant in the skin to ward off the damaging effects of UV light. (5)
As an adjunct to its well-known role in sleep, melatonin is a prominent cellular guard against oxidative stress, linked explicitly to the redox status of cells and tissues. In fact, it has been suggested to be one of the most potent antioxidants because of its ability to scavenge up to 10 reactive oxygen (ROS) and nitrogen species (RNS) with its metabolites compared with most antioxidants, which may only be able to quench a few ROS. (3, 6–8) Additionally, melatonin is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Phytomelatonin (Herbatonin®) has been found to have 646% stronger COX-2 inhibition compared with synthetic melatonin. (9)
As a result of the changes that longer days and more sunshine bring, consider whether your clients or patients could benefit from HerbatoninPRO™ in the summer months. Most people don’t think about excessive sunlight being problematic for sleep, but it can be. Additionally, sunlight combined with summer heat can be a trigger for perimenopausal sleep dysfunction. Moreover, it’s common to associate depression with the winter months, but it can also occur in the summer, perhaps due to the lower melatonin levels.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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