Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces naturally. It helps control your natural sleep-wake cycle, which includes the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Melatonin is also available as a supplement, and it can help people with irregular sleep patterns such as shift workers or those traveling across time zones get back on schedule. However, melatonin isn’t a magical solution for all sleep problems, so you should only take it after talking with your doctor about how it could help improve your overall health, especially if you have certain medical conditions (such as depression).

Melatonin – definition

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland, which is located in the brain. It regulates your sleep-wake cycle and is secreted at night when it’s dark.

Melatonin supplements can be used to treat insomnia, but you should talk with a doctor before taking them if you have certain medical conditions or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Melatonin supplements aren’t recommended for children under 3 years old because they may cause vision problems or serious side effects such as seizures.

Functions

Melatonin helps control your natural sleep-wake cycle. It’s a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain, which is released when it gets dark and suppressed when it gets light. This helps you fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning. If you’re having trouble sleeping, melatonin supplements may help you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer so that you’re better rested for the day ahead.

Melatonin is available as a supplement because it can’t be made in large quantities; this makes it difficult for scientists to study its effects on humans directly. It is often called the “darkness hormone,” even though it is involved in more than just sleep-wake cycles.

It also plays an important role in immune function, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and regulating the body’s temperature.

Levels

Melatonin production is related to how much light your body receives. In response to the amount of light you receive, melatonin levels can vary dramatically. Melatonin levels are highest at night and lowest during the day, which makes sense because we want our bodies to be in sync with what time it is outside instead of watching a clock or calendar all day long.

Melatonin levels increase in humans during winter months when there’s less daylight, as well as in people who have trouble sleeping or have chronic insomnia or depression issues.

Synthetic melatonin

Melatonin is also made synthetically and available as a supplement. It’s sold in pill form, or you can buy melatonin cream. However, melatonin supplements are not approved by the FDA for any medical condition and are not regulated by the FDA like prescription drugs are.

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain’s pineal gland. It helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm. Melatonin levels are highest at night and lowest during daylight hours.

When taken as a supplement, melatonin may help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer—but it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for any medical condition.

FAQ

What can melatonin do to your body?

It helps with the timing of your circadian rhythms (24-hour internal clock) and with sleep.

How much melatonin should I take?

The maximum recommended limit for melatonin is 10 mg for adults and 5 mg for children.

Can melatonin help with anxiety?

It has been shown to improve symptoms of anxiety.