Melatonin is considered a miracle weapon against sleep disorders. The sleep hormone plays a central role in our organism, controls the sleep-wake rhythm and also influences our health and well-being. But what is melatonin and what is the sleep hormone all about? You can find an overview of the meaning, tasks and functions of melatonin here.
Table of Contents
- What is melatonin?
- This is how melatonin is created
- Consequences of a disturbed melatonin balance
- Melatonin as a dietary supplement
- Melatonin – the basis of good sleep
1. What is melatonin?
Melatonin is one of our body's own hormones that is produced in the brain and is one of the so-called neurotransmitters. These are messenger substances that act as connecting points in all nerve cells in the body by transporting important information and in this way regulating the metabolic processes in our body. A balanced hormone balance is therefore very important for the healthy functioning of our body.
The hormone melatonin is significantly involved in controlling our sleep-wake rhythm and for this reason is also known as the “sleep hormone”. In interaction with the cortisol, known as the “stress hormone”, it regulates our circadian rhythm. Towards the evening, the concentration of melatonin in the body increases and causes us to become tired, relax and fall asleep. In order to find restful sleep without difficulty, our body must produce enough melatonin and have enough time to relax. You can find tips for relaxing before sleep in this article. In addition to this important function for sleep and nighttime regeneration, which are essential for our health, melatonin also influences our psyche and also has a strong antioxidant effect, which helps prevent cell damage.
2. This is how melatoninis created
The conversion of the messenger serotonin into melatonin is one of the main tasks of the pineal gland (epiphysis), which is located in the center of our brain. Their function is decisively influenced by light and darkness and thus also by the natural day-night rhythm. During the day, the body produces serotonin, which is known as the happiness hormone due to its relaxing and mood-enhancing effects. As darkness increases, the conversion of serotonin into the sleep hormone melatonin begins. The melatonin concentration in our blood is at its highest between two and four o'clock at night - before it decreases again and is suppressed by the emerging daylight.
3. Consequences of a disturbed melatonin balance
The disruption of the body's own melatonin production can ultimately lead to sleep disorders or problems falling asleep. If the important conversion in the evening is inhibited by unnatural lighting conditions, the body cannot produce enough melatonin and therefore lacks clear signals to prepare for sleep. This happens easily these days because, contrary to the natural darkness, we illuminate our rooms with artificial light sources or use screens such as televisions and smartphones until late at night. But a time change, for example after a long journey, or working in shifts often causes our rhythm to become unbalanced and our sleep to be disrupted due to low melatonin levels.
By the way: Due to the usually few hours of daylight, the melatonin content in the blood remains elevated during the day, especially in winter. This is how severe tiredness and listlessness arise in the cold season. Here you can find out how you can still stay fit through autumn and winter.
4. Melatonin as a dietary supplement
Nowadays there are already numerous medications and supplements that supply the body with melatonin and in this way promote falling asleep and improve our sleep behavior. There are two ways to support the body naturally.
Direct support: melatonin
Melatonin can be absorbed directly by our body, for example in the form of capsules or as a mouth spray. Studies show that you actually fall asleep faster after an additional intake of the sleep hormone. The recommended dose is 1 to 2 mg of melatonin per day, which, depending on the dosage form, is taken some time before going to bed. In this way, tiredness and sleepiness can be naturally supported as melatonin levels are increased and the body can receive the important signals for sleep.
Indirect support: L-tryptophan
The happiness hormone serotonin is converted into melatonin in the dark. For this reason, a healthy serotonin level is not only beneficial for our mood and well-being, but also an important prerequisite for melatonin production.
L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid and a basic building block of serotonin. The additional intake of L-tryptophan via a dietary supplement helps to provide the body with an important building block so that it can naturally produce enough serotonin and, in the next step, melatonin.
5. Melatonin – The foundation of good sleep
As you can see, melatonin, known as the sleep hormone, is an essential messenger that plays a really central role in our health. So that we can fall asleep easily and support healthy sleep habits, we should pay attention to our melatonin balance and ensure that the body can naturally produce enough sleep hormones.
Our tip: Dim the lights a few hours before going to bed and try to avoid bright screens and other light sources in the evening and especially at night. You can also make sure to eat a balanced diet and get enough daylight during the day. In this way, you supply your body with sufficient L-tryptophan, promote the light-induced serotonin production and optimally prepare it for the evening melatonin synthesis.
The sleep hormone melatonin is a natural messenger substance that regulates the sleep-wake rhythm and makes us tired and sleepy in the evening.
As darkness increases or there is a lack of light, the happiness hormone serotonin is converted into melatonin in the brain
A low melatonin level promotes sleep disorders and problems falling asleep.
Dietary supplements with melatonin are well tolerated and can help you fall asleep.
L-Tryptophan is a basic building block of serotonin and can positively influence melatonin production.
Support your sleep by getting daylight during the day to produce serotonin, eating a balanced diet to supply your body with L-tryptophan and dimming the lights in the evening.
Greetings and see you soon!