What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a natural hormone made by your body's pineal gland. This is a pea-sized gland located just above the middle of the brain. Your body’s internal clock (also known as your circadian rhythm) influences how much melatonin the pineal gland makes, and so does the amount of light that you’re exposed to each day.
During the day the pineal is inactive. When the sun goes down and darkness occurs, the pineal is "turned on" and begins to actively produce melatonin, which is released into the blood stream. Usually, this occurs around 9 pm. As a result, melatonin levels in the blood rise sharply and you begin to feel less alert. Sleep becomes more inviting. Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated for about 12 hours - all through the night - before the light of a new day when they fall back to low daytime levels by about 9 am. Daytime levels of melatonin are barely detectable.
Why is Melatonin used as a dietary supplement?
Melatonin supplements are sometimes used to treat jet lag or sleep problems (insomnia). Scientists are looking at other good uses for melatonin, such as:
- Treating seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Helping to control sleep patterns for people who work night shifts
- Reducing chronic cluster headaches
- Regulating sleep cycles
Blue light – Melatonin’s arch nemesis. Studies have shown that blue light emitted by screens (TV, computer, phone etc.) suppresses melatonin levels making it more difficult to fall asleep. Red light – Melatonin’s best friend. Red lights are the least likely to suppress melatonin levels and shift circadian rhythms. This makes
Red light – Melatonin’s best friend. Red lights are the least likely to suppress melatonin levels and shift circadian rhythms. This makes red light a perfect option for before bed lights and nightlights.