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5-HTP & Sleep

Why you don’t need to worry about drowsiness from 5-HTP.

5-HTP is a natural precursor to serotonin.

Serotonin can contribute to a good nights’ sleep, but that doesn’t mean it will make you drowsy. The key to serotonin’s sleep-promoting power comes from a small pine-cone shaped part of the brain known as the pineal gland. Serotonin is converted to melatonin within the pineal gland, but it is only released during certain times.

The pineal gland has been referred to as the brain’s “third eye” because it has the ability to detect light. Information about light exposure is transmitted from the retinas to the pineal gland to influence the gland’s activity. From this information the pineal gland is able to detect whether it is daytime or nighttime and adjust secretion of melatonin accordingly. Synthesis and secretion of melatonin is dramatically affected by light exposure to the eyes and peaks during darkness. “The fundamental pattern observed is that serum concentrations of melatonin are low during the daylight hours, and increase to a peak during the dark” (Bowen, 2018).

Bowen, R. (2018). The Pineal Gland and Melatonin. CSU. Retrieved from: http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/endocrine/otherendo/pineal.html

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