Melatonin is released by the pineal gland in response to cues from a part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. It is mainly released in the evening and is known to prepare the body to fall asleep and sleep restfully. This hormone that our body makes to help us sleep is a very necessary hormone. But is melatonin important for our bodies besides sleep? How important is our circadian rhythm? More and more studies prove that sleep is not only important, but very necessary to get pregnant and carry a pregnancy to term.While the benefits of melatonin in sleep-wake cycles has long been established, this hormone may also influence a wide variety of cellular processes that affect energy, mood, cancer, heart disease, and even fertility and fetal development.
Healthy melatonin levels are necessary in order to get pregnant with a healthy baby. Eggs, like all cells in the human body, are exposed to free radicals that can cause DNA damage. Melatonin may act as an antioxidant in gametes (ovaries and in sperm), removing free radicals and preventing cellular damage.
Because healthy egg and sperm production is the first step to conception, a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy child, studies suggest that balanced melatonin levels are crucial to fertility. So what can you do now to improve your chances of conceiving? Sleep! But make sure it is in a dark room. Eight hours of sleep in a dark space every night at the same time can improve your chances of conception and will help your baby grow well.
Healthy circadian rhythm and melatonin levels re-balance and thrive with sleep hygiene, and going to bed and waking up around the same time every day. The fetal circadian rhythm is important too, as melatonin is essential to embryonic and fetal development. The melatonin from the mother conveys information about dark and light cycles to the fetal brain, helping the developing child to begin forming its own circadian rhythm. Moreover, it may activate certain genes that are essential to proper development from conception through birth. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule can help to create an optimal circadian rhythm with healthy melatonin levels.