The key difference between melatonin and serotonin is that melatonin is a hormone that helps us to fall asleep while serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps us feel awake when we get up the next day.
Melatonin is a neurotransmitter-like substance. It is a hormone which increases during the dark. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that works opposite to melatonin. Serotonin level increases in sunlight. Both melatonin and serotonin regulate various functions inside our bodies, such as appetite, mood and sleep. In briefly, melatonin is the substance that helps us to go to sleep while serotonin is the substance that helps us to feel awake next morning.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone synthesized by the pineal gland, which is a small endocrine gland located in the brain. The pineal gland produces melatonin when our eyes do not receive light. When our eyes receive light, pineal gland stops the production of melatonin. In addition to the pineal gland, a broad range of other tissues also secretes melatonin. Serotonin is a precursor to melatonin. Serotonin undergoes acetylation and methylation to yield melatonin.
Melatonin is responsible for several functions in our body. Mainly, it regulates the sleep-wake cycle. It helps us to go to sleep at dark. As a supplement, melatonin can be used for the treatments of sleeping problems. Furthermore, melatonin regulates blood pressure and also helps in seasonal reproduction of animals. In addition, melatonin acts as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger in our body.
What is Serotonin?
Serotonin is an important monoamine neurotransmitter produced by the nerve cells. In the periphery, it acts as a hormone as well. Mainly, it works as a body’s natural happiness drug. So, it is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. It helps us to feel more energized. It increases positivity and relaxation.
Our digestive system, especially our gut, contains around 95% of the body’s serotonin. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid which forms serotonin. Hence, tryptophan deficiency can reduce to serotonin level of our body. Low level of serotonin is responsible for depression. Proper levels of serotonin reduce depression, regulate anxiety, heal wounds, etc. Moreover, serotonin is important for bone health and blood clotting.
What are the Similarities Between Melatonin and Serotonin?
- Melatonin and serotonin are hormones present in our body.
- In fact, serotonin is a precursor to melatonin.
- Both regulate various functions inside our bodies, such as appetite, mood and sleep.
- Also, healthy balance of melatonin and serotonin is vital for a restful good sleep.
What is the Difference Between Melatonin and Serotonin?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter while melatonin is a neurotransmitter-like substance. But both work as hormones. The key difference between melatonin and serotonin is that melatonin level goes up in the dark conditions; hence, it helps us to fall asleep while serotonin level goes up in the light conditions and helps us to wake happily in the morning. The production of melatonin occurs in the pineal gland, while the production of serotonin occurs in the nerve cells. So, this is also a difference between melatonin and serotonin.
In addition, a low level of melatonin causes sleeplessness and even insomnia, while a low level of serotonin causes depression and lethargy. Thus, this is also a notable difference between melatonin and serotonin.
Summary – Melatonin vs Serotonin
Melatonin and serotonin are two hormones. However, serotonin is an important neurotransmitter as well. Both melatonin and serotonin are important since they help in the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin level goes up in the dark and helps us to fall asleep. On the other hand, serotonin level goes up in the light and helps us to wake happily in the morning. So, the balance between melatonin and serotonin is important for a restful sleep. Other than this, serotonin is responsible for sending messages between nerve cells and producing responses. Most importantly, serotonin works as the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. Similarly, melatonin also participates in many other functions in our body. Thus, this summarizes the difference between melatonin and serotonin.
1. “Melatonin molecule ball” By Jynto (talk) – Own work. This image was created with Discovery Studio Visualizer (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Serotonin-2D-skeletal” By CYL – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia