is a hormone manufactured and released into the bloodstream by the pebble-size
pineal gland nestled deep within the human brain. Children tend to excrete
large amounts of this hormone, while older adults produce relatively little.
is intimately involved in synchronizing the body's hormone secretions,
setting the brain's internal clock and generating circadian rhythms (daily
biorhythms). These patterns govern the release of hormones that regulate
such body functions as reproduction and digestion. Significantly, melatonin
also works around the clock to signal the body, which is sensitive to
light cues, when to sleep and when to awaken. Typically, the pineal gland
begins excreting melatonin around dusk, rapidly increases its output between
2 A.M. and 4 A.M., and then decreases its output again as daylight appears.
Why take Melatonin?
studies of young and elderly adults have shown that taking a small amount
of melatonin before bedtime helps to both hasten sleep and improve its
quality. These benefits were seen in insomniacs as well as in individuals
who struggle with only occasional sleep problems.
should only be taken at night time, usually about thirty minutes prior
to going to bed. If you are traveling on a long trip you may want to take
a dosage prior to getting on your flight and a higher dosage pill prior
to going to bed. If you commonly sleep during the night, melatonin should
not normally be taken during the day - and vice versa - because melatonin
plays a role in setting the body's daily clock.