Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain that helps regulate other hormones and maintains the body's circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is an internal 24-hour time-keeping system that plays a critical role in determining when we fall asleep and when we wake up. Darkness stimulates the production of melatonin while light suppresses its activity. Exposure to excessive light in the evening or too little light during the day can disrupt the body’s normal melatonin cycles. For example, jet lag, shift work, and poor vision can disrupt melatonin cycles. In addition, some experts claim that exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields (common in household appliances) may disrupt normal cycles and production of melatonin. Melatonin also helps control the timing and release of female reproductive hormones. It helps determine when menstruation begins, the frequency and duration of menstrual cycles, and when menstruation ends (menopause).