Have you ever wondered what is the importance of day and night, what is the role of sleep, how do we set a good circadian rhythm? Well, all this revolves around the hormone melatonin!!
Setting up the circadian rhythm helps in the production of good amounts of melatonin hormone. Melatonin does help in reducing the pigmentation, anti-ageing and also reduces hair fall so on and so forth.
Melatonin is a hormone primarily secreted by the pineal gland which is known to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Usually, it is consumed in the form of tablets to help people in jet lag, shift works by regulating the circadian cycle as a short term treatment for trouble in sleeping.
How does melatonin gets secreted?
The pineal gland is sensitive to light. When it is dark the body secretes more melatonin and prepares the body to sleep and when it is day/ light (artificial lights) the production of melatonin decreases. Low levels of the hormone give brain signals to stay awake.
So what’s new about this hormone and why is it studied in more detail than before?
As per Dr Pallavi Sule “Melatonin is also known for its antioxidant benefits!! We all are living in a very stressful environment, be it the external or internal stressors like pollution, food consumed (adulteration), solar radiation, sleep patterns, work environments and so forth!! Any kind of stress releases free oxygen radicals in the body, which damages our DNA, causing degenerative diseases and autoimmune diseases. Oxidative damage also leads to ageing and hair fall which we know is one of the major causes. Melatonin hormone serves as a potent antioxidant, presumptive anti-ageing substance and anti-cancer agent.”
Let’s understand how sleeping according to the body clock helps our body in general health and well being!
Maintaining good sleep hygiene and good sleep quality has many advantages. The sleep-wake cycle governs two hormones – Cortisol and Melatonin.”
Release of Human Growth Hormone: Experts estimate that 75 per cent of this hormone is released during sleep. It is released in Stage 3 of sleep cycle which is usually 1-1.5 hrs after one falls asleep. Sleep deprivation or altered cycles affects the release of this hormone. In children, it will affect growth and health.
Sleep and its relation with Liver: There is a great relationship between sleep cycles and liver functions. Scientific studies suggest that most patients with advanced liver diseases have disturbed sleep patterns. The liver has its own clock for detoxification and regulation of hormones. Disturbed sleep results in raised cortisol levels (stress levels) and vice versa. This hampers the regulation of hormones by the liver. Here, now the liver is overworked and cortisol levels in the body are high during the daytime. This circulating cortisol hampers the liver’s regulations of melatonin and so the melatonin hormone levels are also high during the daytime. Resulting in day time fatigue and drowsiness, and nighttime alertness.
Lastly, How can we increase melatonin levels?
Many formulations are available in the market in the form of tablets and gels for topical application. But we must not forget the most important factor in the production of the right amount of melatonin hormone in the body is sleep.