Hidden in the center of our brain just behind the thalamus, sits our pineal gland. The pineal gland regulates our body’s sleep-wake cycle and circadian regulation (our cycles of day and night) or hormone balance in each 24-hour period. It is triggered by darkness. Pineal activity is inhibited by light, which is detected by the eye’s retina and sent along a series of nerve connections to the gland.
This gland contains photoreceptors, just like your eyes, and is activated by the light that passes through your eyes. I found it quite interesting that the pineal cells in composition as well as in the presence of proteins, are not found anywhere else in the body! It is our light sensitive gland tucked deep within our brains. Darkness removes this inhibition, and the pineal then releases its sleep hormone, melatonin. Melatonin is produced by the gland in the first three hours of sleep. As the light decreases, the pineal secretes more melatonin, which carries out the responses of the cycles of sleep and wakefulness. The amount of circulating melatonin rises at night, in dark conditions, creating a daily rhythm of rising and falling hormone levels. This is why sleeping in a very dark room is best for your health. Our natural melatonin reservoirs decrease through the aging process! As there are other factors inhibiting the natural production of melatonin; NSAIDS, large doses of vitamin B-12 especially the shots, caffeine, steroid drugs and alcohol consumption and of course stress. All the hormones in the body work together to keep our body unified in health. Supplementation of melatonin? Sometimes people can initially have vivid and weird dreams or morning drowsiness so start low, go slow. The one I like is a video called the Pineal Gland Activator;
Light and motion! Play with it, what works best: on the length of time watching it, time of day, (I find later in the day is best for me). But I figure if the production may be decreasing then I will help it to increase, and it helps.