When everything is good in your body-clock’s hood, it controls the release of certain chemicals into your body over a 24 hour cycle. Melatonin is a hormone produced by your brain’s pineal gland and it is made from an amino acid called tryptophan (see: foods rich in tryptophan).
Melatonin helps to regulate your sweet-sweet sleeping cycles by causing drowsiness and lowering your hot-bod’s temperature at night. The release of melatonin is prevented as long as your retina is exposed to light. As soon as it starts getting dark, your brain instructs your pineal gland to produce melatonin, which is then released into your bloodstream. The levels of melatonin in your bloodstream steadily increase and, as it gets darker and later, it serves as a signal to your body that it is time to get thyself the hell to bed.
Since the presence or absence of light affects how much melatonin your body produces, the shorter days in winter and the longer days in summer can result in your body producing melatonin earlier or later respectively.
Exposure to bright artificial light and electronic devices can screw-up the release of melatonin…so it’s important for you to stop messing around and watching super confusing and somewhat disturbing Hentai on your computer, phone, TV or iPad at least a few hours before you head to bed.
In addition to its sleep inducing properties, studies show that melatonin is also a strong free-radical scavenger and wide-spectrum antioxidant. What this means is that melatonin pounces on vicious free-radicals (yeah, they’re really bad for you) and beats them into submission so that they don’t harm your body.
These days, melatonin is also manufactured synthetically and many people take it as a supplement to aid with sleep disorders and insomnia, among others. While there are no conclusive studies, the general consensus appears to be that the short-term use of melatonin supplements is likely safe for most people, but that it can cause side effects such as headaches, daytime drowsiness and bitchiness (read: irritability).
We’d recommend that you try to avoid the synthetic stuff and follow our 9 common-sense tips for improving both the quality and quantity of your sleep…they’ll have you functioning at “level-bitchin’” in no time.