Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the pineal gland in the brain. Its main job is to help regulate the body’s circadian rhythms, which are the natural cycles of sleeping and waking that occur daily. Melatonin is particularly important for getting a good night’s sleep, and it can also have positive effects on overall health and weight.
One of the key functions of melatonin is to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle. When it gets dark outside, the body naturally begins to produce more melatonin, which signals to the brain that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Conversely, when it gets light outside, melatonin production decreases, which tells the brain that it’s time to wake up and start the day. By regulating these cycles, melatonin can help improve sleep quality and ensure that people wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
In addition to its effects on sleep, melatonin has also been shown to have a number of other health benefits. For example, it is a potent antioxidant, meaning that it can help protect cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. This can in turn help reduce the risk of a number of different diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Melatonin has also been shown to have positive effects on weight management. In one study, researchers found that supplementing with melatonin helped to reduce body weight and fat mass in overweight and obese individuals. The researchers speculated that this may be due to the fact that melatonin can help improve sleep quality, which in turn can lead to changes in appetite and energy levels.
Overall, it is clear that melatonin is an important hormone that can have positive effects on both sleep and overall health. If you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, or if you are interested in improving your overall wellbeing, consider talking to a functional nutritionist about incorporating melatonin into your daily routine.
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- Pires, W., & Bordini, E. A. (2019). The effects of melatonin on weight gain, fat mass, and lipid metabolism: a systematic review. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 10, 86.
- Vollmer, C., Michel, U., & Randler, C. (2012). Outdoor light at night (LAN) is correlated with eveningness in adolescents. Chronobiology International, 29(4), 502-508.