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Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain. Our body clock controls the amount of melatonin produced at a given time through sleep and wake cycles. For example, melatonin levels rise in the mid-to-late evening, and decrease in the early morning. Additionally, light affects how much melatonin the body produces. During shorter days of the year, melatonin may be produced earlier or later in the day than usual, which can interrupt normal sleep cycles and mood.
One randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated the effect of melatonin on reducing sleep latency (time it takes to fall asleep) and improving sleep quality. The group that was given melatonin exhibited significant improvements in quality of sleep and morning alertness. In a second randomized, double-blind study, the effect of melatonin on sleep measures and psychomotor performance was evaluated. The group that was given melatonin had significantly shorter sleep onset latency and reported substantial improvement in sleep quality compared to the placebo group.
Passionflower is a perennial creeping vine native to tropical and semi-tropical areas of the world, including the southern United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. Passionflower is traditionally used in herbal therapeutics for its sedative effects, supporting restlessness or sleep disruption due to mental stress. Passionflower supports mental calm by restoring homeostasis in the body. Valerian is a perennial herb native to North America, Europe and Asia, traditionally used for its sedative and tranquil effects. Valerian helps support tenseness, restlessness, and irritability by promoting relaxation and restful sleep.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that helps the body adapt to natural stressors. Ashwagandha has been traditionally used for thousands of years as a vitalizing, rasayana herb in Ayurvedic medicine to stabilize and revitalize bodily processes. Among the Ayurvedic rasayana herbs, Ashwagandha is considered one of the most important. In Ayurvedic practice, Ashwagandha has been used to help relieve stress and fatigue, support healthy aging, and strengthen the immune system.
A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study evaluated the effect of 125 mg, 250 mg and 500 mg of Ashwagandha on stress and occasional tension in 98 subjects. Stress levels were assessed at Days 0, 30, and 60 using a modified Hamilton (mHAM-A) scale. Biochemical variables were measured at Days 0 and 60. The treatment groups all showed significant improvements to experiential indicators of stress and occasional tension, including tiredness, uneasiness, restlessness, and mood compared to the placebo group. Biochemical indicators of stress, such as serum cortisol, blood pressure in the healthy range, and pulse rate, also exhibited beneficial improvements. In another double-blind, multi-dose and placebo-controlled study, the cognitive and psychomotor effects of 500 mg of Ashwagandha was evaluated in 20 male participants. Ashwagandha supplemented subjects exhibited significantly decreased reaction time in cognitive and psychomotor tests, compared to those of baseline and placebo groups.
Jet lag is a common issue caused by a misalignment between circadian rhythms and destination time, particularly impacting travelers that cross time zones rapidly, with increasing severity corresponding with the number of time zones. Common symptoms of jet lag include fatigue and disrupted sleep. Melatonin has been shown to play a central part in regulating the body’s circadian rhythms, and authoritative bodies in Europe and Canada have confirmed melatonin's ability to reduce the effects of jet lag. This benefit has also been validated through multiple clinical studies. One clinical study found that participants who took melatonin experienced fewer overall symptoms of jet lag. Melatonin-consuming participants took fewer days than those in the placebo group to establish a normal sleep pattern, not feel tired during the day, and reach normal energy levels.