What is melatonin and what does it do?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain that helps regulate our internal clock (circadian clock) and may induce sleep. Melatonin is commonly used to help people become sleepy, but it does not have this effect in everyone; only the body clock effect occurs in all individuals. In general, the main effect of melatonin is to decrease the amount of time it takes for someone to fall asleep, also leading to a slight increase in sleep time.
I’ve read about DLMO – what is that?
The so-called “dim light melatonin onset” (DLMO, often pronounced dill-moe) is the natural rise of melatonin levels in the body occurring 1-3 hours before people fall asleep. Blue-white light exposure (such as the light from a computer or smartphone screen) in the evenings shifts the DLMO later – pushing back the time the body naturally wants to fall asleep. This is why screens should be avoided in the evening or in bed – they can worsen insomnia or make it harder to fall asleep.
If you have questions about melatonin for yourself or for your little one, be sure to contact your health care provider.
About Dr. Oliviero Bruni