What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that’s naturally produced in the body by the pineal gland, a reddish-gray endocrine gland that’s about the same size as a pea and is shaped like a tiny pine cone. It’s located near the center of the brain between the two hemispheres where the two halves of the thalamus are joined together.
The pineal gland secretes melatonin in sync with our circadian rhythms. Melatonin’s primary function in the body is to regulate our sleep-wake cycles. Normally, our melatonin levels begin to rise as it gets later in the day as our pineal gland begins to produce, more of the hormone in the mid-to-late evening. Then, during the night, our pineal gland secretes our highest levels of melatonin and they remain high for most of the night.
By early morning, when the sun begins to lighten up our day our pineal gland cuts back on melatonin production, telling our body to wake up and be ready for a new day. As we get older, our natural levels of melatonin slowly begin to drop. Children seem to have the highest levels of the hormone while some elderly adults make very small amounts of it or none at all.
In addition to getting older, stress, chemicals, and especially adrenal stress can deliver a big hit to melatonin production. Addressing this often takes a nutritional approach.
Essential Therapeutic Melatonin was made to help with a wider range of diseases outside of sleep despite melatonins role in helping sleep disorders and circadian rhythm disturbances has been well established.