Monday, August 26, 2013

Melatonin: my favorite molecule

        Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone made in the brain that helps regulate your internal clock of sleeping and waking times and is my favorite organic molecule. It is my favorite because I suffer from mild insomnia so melatonin is very important to me. This hormone is made in the brain by the pineal gland and is produced in higher amounts in the evenings and through the nights and then in the mornings, production slows (
        Melatonin is also called "the hormone of darkness" because production is increased due to darkness and light causes the production to slow. The hormone has also been used to treat seasonal affective disorder, sleep disorders, depression, cancer and other diseases and very interestingly can aid in increased fertilization in woman but is advised not to take as a supplement if a woman is trying to become pregnant (
        It was Yale University researchers who first discovered melatonin at the end of the 1950s and realized that it was made in the pineal gland although the gland had been known of for thousands of years before (
        It intrigues me that light levels can have such a large impact on sleep cycle regulation and the production of melatonin and that it what I like so much about this molecule. The formula for melatonin is C13H16N2O2 and this is its structure that I drew using Paint:



  1. I think sleep is something we overlook everyday of our lives. It is the most important thing in our life that we must do besides eat. In today's society with the technology we have, we spent even less time sleeping than our ancestors since they had no available method of doing stuffs at night the way we can today.

    Melatonin interests me somewhat since I have friends who have issues with sleeping because of their "internal clock". They easily have a messed up sleeping schedule if they do something such as pull an all-nighter for gaming or school reasons. For me I always sleep around the same time so it is not an issue, but what does me is that I always wake up before my alarm clock I do not know why, something in me always wakes me up before my alarm is supposed to go off.

  2. I've taken melatonin for awhile now for sleeping problems and it definitely helps out! I learned about melatonin production in my biopsychology class and have found it interesting ever since. It's just so amazing to me how the brain can interpret light and then release hormones based off that to help us wake up and go to sleep. Knowing that even the smallest amount of light can affect melatonin production has helped with my sleep because I make sure I have it as dark as possible in my room at night.

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