A good night’s sleep is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. If you struggle to get enough shut-eye through the night, you might be tempted to take melatonin for sleep. But did you know that you already have melatonin in your body? According to the Sleep Health Foundation, melatonin is a natural hormone made by the body’s pineal gland. The pineal gland is the size of a grain of rice and located just above the middle of the brain.
During the day the pineal gland is inactive, meaning levels of the hormone are barely detectable. However, when the sun goes down, the pineal gland ‘turns on’ and begins to produce melatonin – typically around 9pm. As a result, the hormone’s levels in the blood rise sharply and you begin to feel sleepier. For about 12 hours – throughout the night – those blood levels stay elevated, before the light of a new day when they fall back to low daytime levels.