Facts and Myths about Melatonin

Numerous facts and myths are associated with melatonin and how it works to improve sleep. Some think that melatonin supplements are just another sleeping pill while others think that these can cause cancer.

However, before jumping off to facts and debunking the myths, let’s have a look at what melatonin is.

melatonin facts

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle of both humans and animals. The pineal gland located in the vertebrate brain produces this hormone.

During nights, the pineal gland becomes active and releases melatonin to induce sleep. The gland remains idle during the day and decreases the hormone’s release.

Now that the understanding is clear, take a look at the facts and myths.

The facts first:  

  • Melatonin was discovered from a cow’s pineal gland

Aaron B. Lerner, a dermatology professor and his team at the Yale University, first extracted melatonin from a cow’s pineal gland back in 1958. They wanted to see if any compound from the gland can cure skin diseases.

  • Melatonin helps regulate the female menstruation cycle

Studies have shown that melatonin can regulate the onset, recurrence, and the total span of female menstruation cycle. The hormone can also influence the onset of menstruation at a later stage.

  • Artificial light can affect the production of melatonin

Much like natural light, artificial light can also decrease the production of melatonin. This is the reason why numerous individuals find it troublesome to sleep with light on.

  • Red lights can aid in melatonin production

Red light can influence the production of melatonin, thereby, helping one to sleep. However, blue light works the opposite way; they can reduce the secretion of melatonin and hamper sleep. Smartphones, computers, and TVs are known to emit blue lights; so, one shouldn’t use these devices before going to bed.

  • Melatonin can help autistic individuals

Melatonin can improve sleep duration and awakenings among children who have autism.

While these were the facts, take a look at some myths now:

  • Melatonin works as a sleeping pill

A common misconception is that melatonin uk is a type of sleeping pill. However, truth is it only provides the necessary assistance the body needs to fall asleep. Melatonin only regulates the sleep-wake cycles of an individual.

  • High usage of melatonin can lead to cancer

The real side of this misconception is that melatonin is used to treat prostate cancer and breast cancer. Patients with such cancers show low levels of melatonin.

  • Melatonin doesn’t help people with blindness

People who have blindness may remain unaware of the time which can lead to sleep disorders. Melatonin helps such individuals reset their circadian clock which then leads to regular sleep cycles.

  • Melatonin doesn’t improve sleep among Alzheimer’s patients

A high number of individuals who have Alzheimer’s disease have trouble falling asleep. Studies have found that the use of melatonin can improve sleep among such patients.

  • Melatonin doesn’t have any antioxidant properties

Melatonin works as a potent antioxidant and can reduce oxidative stress by decreasing the formation of toxic hydroxyl radicals.

These are some of facts and myths regarding the effects of melatonin on sleep. Not only as supplements but melatonin is also found in various fruits like grapes, cherries, and bananas.