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MEALTONIN - The Darkness Hormone - Body's Natural Sleep Aid

How does MELATONIN exert its effect to aid sleep?

MELATONIN  exerts its biological effects primarily by two methods:

1. Via activation of MELATONIN receptors

2. In its role as a powerful antioxidant;

MELATONIN has 3 cell-signaling actions:

✔  Endocrine – secreted by pineal gland into bloodstream

✔  Autocrine MELATONIN binds to receptors of same cell which secreted it

✔  Paracrine secreted by tissues/cells to act on local target cells

MELATONIN is involved in the regulation of seasonal and circadian fluctuations of other hormones/neurotransmitters:

MELATONIN promotes or inhibits synthesis/secretion of other hormones/neurotransmitters


PROLACTIN - Positive relationship between the nocturnal concentrations of MELATONIN and PROLACTIN, and a stimulation of PROLACTIN after MELATONIN administration in young men.


LEPTIN is downregulated by MELATONIN, except in the presence of INSULIN, which increases LEPTIN; LEPTIN is secreted by adipocytes and is called the appetite suppressant hormone, informing the brain about the body's overall adipose tissue, which role determines energy homeostasis in the body.

With INSULIN, MELATONIN increases LEPTIN ▲  , suppressing appetite▼ during sleep, so you stay asleep instead of being hungry all night. In a feedback loop: LEPTIN tells your brain you are not hungry, such that you stay asleep and make more MELATONIN

Estrogen production



GnRH -Down-regulates GnRH mRNA ê production in hypothalamic GnHR-secreting neurons –a link to sexual development and puberty.


Reciprocal with CORTISOL – which rises in the morning to its highest levels(ready for you to face the day),as MELATONIN declines (so you can wake up);

Other hormones involved

Gonadal steroids, pituitary gonadotrophins, thyroxine, and the adrenal hormones

Spiegel K, Leproult R, Van Cauter E. [Impact of sleep debt on physiological rhythms]

[Article in French]. Rev Neurol (Paris). 2003 Nov;159(11 Suppl):6S11-20.

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