Produced by the pineal gland in the vertebrate brain, Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep cycles in humans and animals. As the night progresses, production of melatonin increases, and again decreases with the onset of dawn, thereby, controlling sleep.
Melatonin is available as supplements for those suffering from sleep disorders and is also present in some foods.
When was it discovered?
Melatonin was discovered by Aaron B. Lerner, a professor of dermatology and some of his colleagues at the Yale University in 1958. Their primary objective was to find a compound in the pineal gland that can be used to treat skin diseases. They used cows as their test subjects for finding the hormone.