Melatonin is also known as the Dracula hormone because it only comes out at night. It is produced in the pineal gland and released when it is dark out. It helps us to feel sleepy, entrain our circadian rhythm, and is the body’s strongest antioxidant.
The body has natural rhythms to wake us up and to put us to sleep. This is very useful. In the morning our cortisol levels naturally rise to wake us up and prime us for the day. Cortisol is good in the morning as it makes us alert, clear thinking, and gives us energy. At night as the sun sets our eyes register the changing light and melatonin is released so that we feel sleepy so we can rest and repair the body overnight.
If you think back to a time before electricity this worked perfectly. We were up at daylight to hunt, farm, and gather. All of the days activities were done during daylight hours and then night time was dedicated to sleep.
Fast forward to today, and most of society is living opposite of their biological clocks and it is wrecking havoc on their bodies. We wake up and head off to spend most of the day inside a building under dim lighting compared to the sun. We then come home and turn on bright lights compared to what is outside when it is dark. This action tells the body it is still daytime. This is why a number of people are having a hard time falling asleep. They are sending mixed signals to their brain.
Melatonin is used more than it should. It is a hormone. In the UK you need a prescription. For some reason the US does not. When you introduce exogenous hormones into the body the body will deregulate its own production to offset the balance. People do not need to be popping melatonin pills, they need to alter their environment and get better with their sleep hygiene, then their body can naturally make the melatonin and release when it should.
If you would like to find out more about melatonin and the role it plays read this article that Build Better Sleep contributed to for Dreams UK.
Build Better Sleeps Blueprint is an excellent guide on how you can naturally rebuild your melatonin levels and get high quality sleep and all the health benefits derived from melatonin. Sign up for our e-mail list and get Level 1 of our blueprint free. Get Level 1 Free