Home > Conscious > Chapter 7 > 7.7. The Effects of Melatonin


Melatonin is a multi-function hormone secreted mainly at night from the pineal gland. In addition to the regulation of circadian rhythm, it also has many beneficial effects.

  • Melatonin increases the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) (Imbesi et al., 2008) which plays a crucial role in Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases (Web Link).
  • Melatonin is involved in mental disorders (Chapter 14).
  • Melatonin deficiency is prone to develop prostate cancer (Sigurdardottir et al., 2015).
  • Melatonin is a potent antioxidant (Leibowitz et al., 2016).
  • Melatonin promotes sleep.

Figure 7-9. Melatonin release is increased at night, reduced during daytime. [Source: Weaver, 2012]

As discussed in Chapter 6, melatonin can bind on its receptor to open GIRK channel, thereby suppressing the ISO-nested α oscillations. According to the Alpha Hypothesis, consciousness arises from globally synchronized α oscillations. Hence, melatonin may promote sleep. Although melatonin has been demonstrated to increase the N2 stage, it decreases the slow-wave sleep (Rajaratnam et al., 2004).