: a vertebrate hormone C13H16N2O2 that is derived from serotonin, is secreted by the pineal gland especially in response to darkness, and has been linked to the regulation of circadian rhythms
Hormone secreted by the pineal gland of most vertebrates. It appears to be important in regulating sleeping cycles; more is produced at night, and test subjects injected with it become sleepy. Melatonin may be involved in seasonal affective disorder. In mammals other than humans, melatonin may act as a cue to breeding and mating in season.