Melatonin - Hormone of darkness

We have all heard about melatonin by this point. It has become a largely consumed supplement and most of us understand that it is the hormone that regulates our sleep. 


     One key aspect of hormone health that is often overlooked is TIME. Hormone production and secretion works around a 24 hour cycle called our circadian rhythm. The key mechanism behind what sets the balance for this circadian rhythm is LIGHT. 


     Many people understand that melatonin is released at night in response to darkness for sleep but it is created in the AM with morning sunlight. So in short, morning light creates melatonin, evening darkness releases melatonin. This entire process is mediated by something called your Suprachiastmatic Nucleus (SCN). 


      The Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN) regulates patterns of activity that control melatonin secretion by the pineal gland in response to the environmental light/dark cycle. Melatonin signals both the time of the day (a “clock” function) and the time of the year (a “calendar” function) to all tissues of the body. Recent evidence indicates that abnormalities in the circadian control of melatonin secretion may play an important role in sleep disorders associated with aging, Alzheimer's disease, and other degenerative and developmental disorders. Because of its antioxidant properties, melatonin may also have potential neuro-protective effects.


     With age and certain diseases, the robustness of the circadian system decreases and melatonin production is diminished or shifted. Deviant circadian rhythms and poor sleep quality are associated with increased risks of cardiovascular, metabolic and cognitive diseases, poor quality of life and mortality.


     The most important thing that we can do in order to protect our melatonin cycles is to take control of light environment. This means getting enough sunlight in the AM to begin the process of melatonin creation through SCN signaling from bright light, and blocking blue light at night in order to allow the release of melatonin is response to darkness. It’s excessive blue light from modern technology and artificial light at night that distorts this 24 cycle of melatonin creation and secretion. Not only do we begin to experience sleep problems such as restless sleep, waking up multiple times a night, not being able to fall asleep quickly, and wake up feeling rested, but we also lose all the neuro-protective and antioxidant effects of melatonin as well. 


     This is why blue blocking glasses are an absolute must if you want to protect your sleep, brain, eyes, and overall health through balance of hormone signaling. Not just any blue blockers will do, you need a pair which block all light up to 550nm which includes all blue light and even some green. When you put on a pair of Night Light Glasses, you can rest easy knowing your brain and eyes are protected.