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Mar 14, 2019

Healthy Living: Natural Sleep Aid

We all know it is important to get enough sleep every night. Consistent quality sleep has been proven to improve brain function and productivity, help with regulating your weight, reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke and even depression. All good reasons enough to get to bed earlier tonight and invest in some quality sleep. If you find falling asleep especially difficult then tonight’s Healthy Living may have the perfect remedy for you.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Having trouble falling asleep at night? Tossing and turning and impatiently waiting for your body to will itself to rest? Many of us have suffered at one point or another with this frustrating situation. Luckily there is something that can help. You’ve maybe seen it in some of the stores. It’s called melatonin.

 

Fernando Cuellar

Dr. Fernando Cuellar, Internist, Belize Medical Associates

“Melatonin is actually classified as a hormone, Marleni. A hormone is a chemical that is usually secreted by a gland in the body. We have different glands throughout the body from the top of your head to pretty much your feet.”

 

Doctor Fernando Cuellar is an Internist at Belize Medical Associates. He says over the years he has seen patients consistently complain of lack of sleep.

 

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“In today’s world and reality that we face people do have challenges to sleep to rest properly and sometimes that would be one of the primary reason they come: they say doc I’ve been having problem sleeping because of all of the stressors X, Y, Z of life and even if they are not coming particular for that. They come for anything and I think one of the needed questions for us caregivers is how are you sleeping and are you resting. You need that sleep you need that rest, people with diabetes with hypertension – especially hypertension it would affect their blood pressure controls if they are not sleeping properly.”

 

He typically recommends for the patients to try melatonin. Since it is a supplement and not a drug, it is considered safer than actual sleeping pills. That is because our bodies actually produce melatonin naturally.

 

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“This particular chemical is secreted in your brain in a gland the pineal gland  and everyone secrete it at different quantities.   It has a lot to do with the sleep wake cycle. Our bodies have a natural clock so to speak that tells us when we are awake or when we should be sleeping and it’s like the regulator of that clock. We consider as a supplement not a drug we consider melatonin as something natural that is known to the body as oppose to something that is foreign and chemically structured. This is one of the biggest thing, is that it is non-addictive compared to other sleeping pills that you can become addicted to.”

 

So how does it work?

 

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“What it does it secreted in this gland in your brain and it tends to wants to sends the check that it is time to sleep. You take it at night a standard dose that you take and within the hour or two you should fall asleep or helps you to fall asleep.”

 

It is advised to not take a dose of more than 10mgs. Some people may experience grogginess and nausea as side effects. Doctor Cuellar suggests speaking with your doctor about using it, if you need help getting the right amount of sleep.

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