The quarantine has most of us sleeping at odd hours and waking up at odd hours. This also means we have been eating and doing our regular work and activities at all odd hours, throwing our natural body clock and its proper functioning completely out of balance. We often ignore the importance of day and night, why sleep is so important, and the role of sleep.
Well, all this revolves around the hormone Melatonin!! Melatonin helps in reducing pigmentation, anti-ageing and also reduces hair fall and so on and so forth. Hence, having a proper sleep cycle and regular sleep habits and setting up your circadian rhythm helps in the production of good amounts of melatonin hormone.
Let’s understand how sleeping, according to the body clock affects and helps our body in general health and well-being!
“Melatonin is a hormone primarily secreted by the pineal gland, which is known to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. The pineal gland is sensitive to light. When it is dark the body secretes more melatonin and prepares the body to sleep and when it is day/ light (artificial lights) the production of melatonin decreases. Low levels of the hormone give brain signals to stay awake. Usually, it is consumed in the form of tablets to help people in jet lag, shift works by regulating the circadian cycle as a short term treatment for trouble in sleeping” says Dr. Pallavi Sule, Mumbai based Dermatologist and Aesthetic Physician.
Experts estimate that 75% of this hormone is released during sleep. It is released in Stage 3 of the sleep cycle, which is usually 1-1.5 hrs after one falls asleep. Sleep deprivation or altered cycles affect the release of this hormone. In children, it affects the growth and health.
Studies suggest that most patients with advanced liver diseases have disturbed sleep patterns. The liver has its own clock for detoxification and regulation of hormones. Disturbed sleep results in raised cortisol levels (stress levels) and vice versa. This hampers the regulation of hormones by the liver. Here, now the liver is overworked and cortisol levels in the body are high during the daytime. This circulating cortisol hampers the liver’s regulations of melatonin and so the melatonin hormone levels are also high during daytime resulting in daytime fatigue and drowsiness, and nighttime alertness.
Melatonin levels can be increased with the many formulations that are available in the market in the form of tablets and gels for topical application. But we must not forget the most important factor in the production of the right amount of melatonin hormone in the body is SLEEP.