Melatonin and Our Eyes

True or false? Melatonin is what makes us fall asleep and stay asleep.

Though it certainly helps, this is false! Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our biological clock. Production of melatonin depends on our exposure to light and dark.

In the daytime, our retina’s photoreceptor cells detect light, sending a signal to the brain, telling us it’s time to wake. The light also suppresses the melatonin production. As it gets darker, the opposite happens. Our eyes detect the waning light and melatonin levels begin to rise, telling our bodies it is time to sleep. 

Have you had issues falling asleep? Sometimes external factors can interfere with this natural process. To avoid this, try creating optimal conditions for melatonin to do its job.  

It’s especially important to limit your exposure to blue light, as it suppresses the secretion of melatonin more powerfully than other light sources.

It’s helpful to turn off overhead lights, stop using your phone, computer or tablet, and refrain from watching television at least an hour before bed. Doing so will allow the melatonin to work effectively and help you naturally fall asleep.

To keep melatonin at bay during the day, make sure to get some sunshine. Take an afternoon walk or sit by a window while you work.

Melatonin supplements may help those experiencing jet lag or insomnia. Supplements should not be used in excess of a week. If you are experiencing trouble sleeping after a week, consult a doctor.

The information contained above is intended to be educational in nature, does not constitute medical advice, and should not be relied on as a substitute for actual professional medical advice, care or treatment. If you have any vision, dental or other health related concerns, VBA encourages you to immediately contact your optometrist/ophthalmologist, dentist/orthodontist or any other competent, licensed, medical professional.