I make no excuses for being passionate about all things sleep - it is why I love this work so much!
I often get asked about melatonin because it can be seen as a quick fix for sleep problems, however did you know it is actually not a sleep hormone?
Melatonin was discovered in 1958 but it's effects can be traced back to the origins of life; it is found in every living organism except sponges. We produce melatonin when it is dark - making more in the winter and less in the summer alongside the changing length of days.
The role it plays has evolved over time - initially its main function was as an antioxidant, helping to modulate free radicals in the system and it is thought that it still has anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenesis and immune support functions (which is why it is important to maximise production).
The thing that has always fascinated me though is that even nocturnal animals produce melatonin - so it is really a hormone of darkness, not sleep. It is thought that nocturnal animals have other chemical pathways which promote sleep, but what melatonin does do is regulate seasonal changes such as coat thickness, activity and breeding, ensuring that cubs and babies are born in the spring when food is more abundant and the temperature is warmer
(All info is fact checked and evidenced so it you want to read more, drop me a message and I will send you the links )
Anyway it is a good excuse to show you a picture of my visiting badgers. Have a lovely day everyone!