Melatonin is a readily available supplement aimed at promoting sleep. Here is everything you need to know about it!
Melatonin is a hormone we all naturally create in the brain, and is associated with our desire to fall asleep. Produced in the pineal gland, this hormone is pumped out in high quantities when the body begins to perceive less light through the eye. It is the part of our natural internal clock that tells us to go to sleep when it gets dark. As more melatonin is released into the body, we tend to get drowsy and seek out slumber! This is why you will often hear people telling you not to use phones and other tech in bed, as the light produced disrupts the bodies melatonin production, making it harder to sleep!
Because of melatonin’s ability to make us feel sleepy, it has rather useful applications for those working shifts, likely to suffer from jet-lag, or suffering insomnia.
Although the body naturally produces melatonin, it can also be found in a variety of food, such as certain meats, grains, fruits and vegetables. For larger, more controlled doses, melatonin is also available as a supplement.
Melatonin was discovered by the scientist Aaron Lerner while he was searching for a compound that could make human skin paler. It had already been found that extracts from the pineal gland made frog skin paler, so Lerner thought it worth investigating. After a long time of testing, Lerner found out which compound was responsible, and called it melatonin (the word mela comes from melamine, which produces skin pigment). Further investigation found that melatonin had far-reaching effects in the body.
Science has found melatonin receptors throughout the body, implying it in a number of bodily functions. For example, it affects the central nervous system, gastronomical system, cardiovascular system, and the immune system. As such, melatonin has become a popular supplement for well-being.