Understanding the role of melatonin
For the unversed, melatonin is a hormone that the brain produces in darkness. It helps with the timing of the circadian rhythm (body’s 24-hour internal clock) and your sleep cycle. Being exposed to light at night can hamper the melatonin production. But the role of melatonin doesn’t end here! Several studies have found that melatonin plays an essential role in the body beyond sleep. Melatonin supplements help you tackle conditions like jet lag, delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, and anxiety. While short-term melatonin supplements are safe for most people, it is better to strictly use them under the guidance of an expert.
How does melatonin affect menstruation?
Sure, melatonin seems important. But what role does it play when it comes to menstruation? Dr Thamke explains that melatonin plays an important role in the regulation of the human menstrual cycle and tends to decline with menopause or aging. A late luteal melatonin rise ( the period after the egg release), triggered by progesterone, is known to influence menstrual cycle control. So, disturbance in menstruation levels can affect ovulation and may even lead to problems of infertility.
Since melatonin is responsible for sleep as well, when it is disrupted, so is your sleep. This may cause problems with fertility. So, it is possible that changes in sleep patterns due to melatonin could indirectly affect the menstrual cycle. The sleep-wake cycle impacts the levels of other hormones in the body, such as luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. These hormones regulate the menstrual cycle. So, changes in sleep patterns from taking melatonin indirectly affect the menstrual cycle, explains Dr Thamke.