Melatonin is a hormone secreted from the pineal gland. It was discovered in 1958. A professor from Yale University and his colleagues were researching. It was performed to find the cure for skin disorders. This research revolved around compounds present in the gland. Thus, they found Melatonin. It was tested on cows with success.
Melatonin is a hormone that human brain produces. The pineal gland situated above the cerebellum in the brain is the source for Melatonin.
Regulation of Melatonin production follows solar timing. With the sun setting, brain signals the gland to secrete Melatonin. When the night darkens, its level increases. This induces a person to deep sleep by midnight. It is the reason we get sound sleep during night.
Some Relevant Terms Related to the Hormone
It is a cycle that the human body follows regularly. The repetitive pattern of sleeping during night and waking during the day is the normal sleep cycle.
People having jobs with changing shift timings do not have a proper cycle. No fixed sleeping time leads to different sleep disorders.
It is located at a specific region in the hypothalamus. This clock regulates the body’s sleep cycle with solar timing.
It is the rhythm or regular sleep pattern that human body follows.
Sleep Regulation Process of the Hormone
A human body follows regular sleep cycles. Circadian clock is located at the SCN. It signals Pineal gland to secrete melatonin when it’s dark. With further darkening, the signal gets stronger. It leads to an increase in this hormone’s production.
Melatonin then acts on the brain to induce sleep. It gets deeper with increased secretion. By daytime, melatonin uk secretion from this gland almost stops. Also, some foods contain compounds which signal it to secrete the hormone.
A List of Biological Functions and Conditions that Melatonin Regulates
Apart from its primary role of controlling sleep, Melatonin also performs various other functions in human body. Taking it in the form of a supplement also regulates many health conditions.
- Melatonin regulates fat cells in human body.
- This hormone also contains antioxidant properties.
- It protects from pancreatitis of acute nature.
- Stops/delays degenerations of brain neurons.
- It also relieves the body during epigastria and heartburns.
- It protects against cell damage caused as a result of exposure to radiation.
- Melatonin supplements regulate sleep disorders like insomnia, DSPD or SAD.
- It also regularises the sleep cycle when air travels disrupt sleep for long hours.
- Treatment of autistic children with Melatonin supplements helps induce regular sleep.
- It is also effective in cluster or hypnic headaches.
- Researchers suggest controlling melatonin release can help regulate the condition of high BP.
Change in lifestyle and sleep cycle is the primary reason for issues related to sleep. Artificial lights coming out of various gadgets during night confuse the brain. It cannot differentiate between day and night. It leads to irregular Melatonin production. This, as a result, affects sleep patterns.
With long term research, Melatonin is now used to cure many sleep-related disorders. Some natural food substances also contain the hormone. Melatonin supplements help in regulating the disrupted sleep pattern.