Melatonin: facts and information about the sleep hormone

Melatonin: Fakten und Infos rund um das Schlafhormon

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is your natural sleep hormone, it helps to regulate your day-night rhythm and is responsible for how well you can fall asleep and sleep through the night. On the one hand, the production of melatonin is controlled by the eye. Daylight plays a decisive role here: the body releases more melatonin when it gets dark, but production almost ceases in the light. Melatonin is therefore an important component of the so-called circadian rhythm.

What is circadian rhythm and how works?

The circadian rhythm includes the body's own metabolic processes that take place every day over a period of 24 hours. It is your inner clock, so to speak, and determines which hormones (insulin, cortisol, testosterone, estrogen, etc.) are released and when.

The interaction of the circadian rhythm and hormone production regulate your immune system, your cell regeneration, your psychological performance and many other important metabolic processes. The most important of these cycles circadian rhythm, is the sleep-wake rhythm, which is caused by evolutionary biology and has (almost) not changed for more than 10,000 years.

Your sleeping and waking times result from the interaction of several hormones: serotonin, cortisol and melatonin.

In the evening, your melatonin levels rise steadily, making you tired and allowing you to fall asleep. Melatonin is formed from the happiness hormone serotonin, which your body produces mainly during the day.

In the morning, your body begins to release the activating hormone cortisol and lets its level rise steadily. As soon as a certain concentration of cortisol in the body is reached, you wake up and remain efficient until melatonin production starts again in the evening.

Moving in harmony with this natural cycle is therefore central to your sleep, your performance and your health.

A balanced one Sleep-wake cycle is essential for your health.

A healthy day-night rhythm is the basis for your physical and mental performance. When you sleep, you process all the stimuli that you were exposed to during the day. Be it mental stimuli or physical stress - your body needs the night's rest to process these stimuli.

While you sleep, numerous regenerative processes (metabolic processes) take place, in which, for example, cells are renewed and your muscles can grow. In addition, important processes take place in the brain, information is discarded or stored and the brain is cleaned of pollutants.

  • When you sleep, your brain processes information to help you make clear decisions. It is not for nothing that they say that you should sleep on it one night before making important decisions.
  • At night, impressions and facts are anchored in long-term memory and linked to existing information. But motor skills such as playing a musical instrument are also strengthened during sleep.
  • While your brain is in an unconscious dormant state, it can make surprising new connections that your waking brain would never have thought of.
  • During sleep, your brain removes toxic compounds that come from dead cells or pollutants.

So you see, a healthy day-night rhythm is essential, i.e. necessary. Therefore, you should make sure you get enough sleep and develop a healthy sleep pattern.

What role does melatonin play in the sleep-wake cycle?

Melatonin is the sleep hormone and the central element of your day-night rhythm. Certain molecules in the eye trigger the production of melatonin as soon as darkness sets in. Therefore, it is quite natural that you get tired earlier in winter or in dark rooms.

A high level of melatonin signals your body that it's time to get tired and go to sleep. As soon as the sun rises and the first rays of sunshine enter your room, the molecules in the eye signal your diencephalon that the day is dawning and the release of melatonin stops.

How does the body make melatonin?

Melatonin is formed in the diencephalon, more precisely in the so-called pineal gland. Production is triggered by molecules in the eye that react to light. When it gets dark, the release of melatonin starts. Researchers also found melatonin in the lower intestine. It mostly comes from intestinal sources such as the EC cells.

Melatonin is made from the happiness hormone serotonin. The precursor of melatonin is therefore serotonin, a neurotransmitter, which in turn is derived from the amino acid L-Tryptophan derives. Vitamin B6 also has a supporting effect on melatonin formation (generally: hormone formation). The formation of serotonin during the day is therefore crucial for a good night's sleep. For normal serotonin levels you can:

  • daily sun and fresh air,
  • do sports regularly,
  • pay attention to a balanced diet.

How does the sleep hormone melatonin work?

Melatonin can dock at certain binding sites such as blood vessels in the brain and cells of the immune system. As a result, the brain signals the body that it is time to shut down. Energy consumption and blood pressure are reduced. You get tired and ready to sleep.

You can find out what exactly happens during sleep in our large specialist article on the subject "Sleep" read up.

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What are the signs of a possible melatonin imbalance?

  1. You're having trouble with fall asleep. With low melatonin levels in the evening, your body doesn't know it's time to sleep.
  2. You wake up exhausted. During sleep, your body carries out important metabolic processes. A melatonin imbalance affects these processes negatively and you wake up tired in the morning despite getting enough sleep.
  3. You are in a persistent bad mood. Melatonin is made from the happiness hormone serotonin. A low melatonin level can indicate that serotonin is not available enough.
  4. You are often tired during the day. Especially in winter or at work with little light, your retina cannot tell whether it is day or evening. Your melatonin levels become unbalanced.
  5. You are often hungry. The metabolic and repair processes of sleep use a lot of energy. A lack of sleep can cause you to consume more energy from food than you burn.

Our tip

Find out everything about sleep and what happens to your body in our large specialist article "What is sleep and what do we need it for and what happens during sleep."

In order to provide your body with the right nutrients during sleep, we have developed a special combination of nutrients. Our dietary supplement Beyond Recovery provides you with all the important nutrients to optimally support your body. It contains the aforementioned L-Tryptophan, as well as B vitamin for your nervous system and magnesium for the muscles.

Our conclusion

As a natural sleep hormone, melatonin controls your day-night rhythm and determines how well you fall asleep. In your body it is made from the amino acid L-Tryptophanthat you have about the food or Supplements can record, synthesized.

The release takes place as soon as darkness falls or falls on your retina. Light therefore has a major influence on our sleep rhythm. A balanced melatonin level is therefore a prerequisite for good and restful sleep.


Sleep and mental health []

Conversion L-tryptophan to melatonin in the gastrointestinal tract

Distribution, function and physiological role of melatonin in the lower gut