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The effortless way to increase your bone strength

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Exercise is a great way to build your bone strength. But maybe you don’t have the time or ability to devote to exercise on a daily basis. No worries — there’s something else you do every single day that contributes to your bone strength — and with hardly any effort at all…

It’s sleeping.

Bones are constantly being built up and broken down. Both processes are influenced by the body’s daily cycles, its circadian rhythms. The cells that tear bones down (osteoclasts) are busier at night, while the ones that rebuild bones (osteoblasts) do most of their work during the day.

You can add one thing to this process to boost your nighttime bone-building, too.

A natural supplement known to help you sleep better can also help you build stronger bones. Research shows it may encourage your body to deposit more calcium in your skeleton, making the bones less vulnerable to fractures.

The study, performed on lab animals, shows that melatonin supplements can reinforce bones.

“As we age, we sleep less well, which means that the osteoclasts are more active,” says researcher Faleh Tamimi, a professor in McGill’s School of Dentistry, in Canada. “This tends to speed up the process of bone breakdown.”

Melatonin plays a key part in regulating our circadian rhythms and is used as a sleep aid. When the scientists investigated how melatonin helps control the rhythms in older lab animals, they found it restricted the activity of the osteoclasts and slowed bone breakdown.

The scientists discovered that bone volume and density among lab animals increased significantly when they took melatonin supplements.

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