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What Does Melatonin Do?

What does melatonin do? Melatonin, used as a medical health treatment, is probably best known for its beneficial effects on health and it's positive effects on sleep disorders, like insomnia. Through extensive research, people have discovered a unique relationship between melatonin and sleep - a relationship that clearly shows this hormone plays an important role in the number of hours a body is able to sleep.

Independent of medicine or treatment, melatonin is a hormone naturally found within the body, and it's secreted by the pineal gland. It has been linked to regulating sleep-wake cycles (circadian rhythms: 24-hour cycles). What happens during sleep, is simply a miraculous shift from wake to slumber. Melatonin secretion takes place at night - when we're sleep - and throughout the night, it's effects strongly depend on the amount of darkness that surrounds the sleeping body. An environment filled with light does not encourage the production of melanin. It actually prohibits its secretion, instead!

Other roles that melatonin plays in our health is as an antioxidant (a substance that people take to inhibit oxidation), an immunity system booster (for people with immune deficiency disease), as an anti-depressant, and a dietary supplement. But since melatonin does induce sleep, it should be taken with caution. What this means is that although melatonin is a natural occurrence, it isn't perfectly harmless - even in small doses. Do not take it before driving and do not take it before operating machinery.

See Also: Melatonin Drug Interaction

About The Author:
Nicole Miller is a successful author and regular contributor to