How melatonin regulates the body's sleep-wake cycle

March 13, 2019

How melatonin regulates the body's sleep-wake cycle

As we recover from the effects of daylight-saving time, some may take a melatonin supplement at supper to help with sleep. Melatonin is a hormone that your pineal gland, part of your circadian clock in the brain, naturally produces and releases throughout the night. Evening peaks and morning drops in melatonin play a role in regulating sleep-wake cycles.

The lab of Bertil Hille, physiology and biophysics professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, is studying the body's rhythmic secretion of and response to melatonin. Understanding these patterns could improve treatment of sleep disorders, seasonal affective reactions to short winter days, and loss of attention and productivity due to jet lag, time switches or working the night shift.  He explains the research in the video below.

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