The pineal gland is responsible for the production and secretion of melatonin, a hormone primarily used to regulate sleep patterns. Production of melatonin increases in the dark and decreases in the light, thus regulating the sleep cycle. Interruption of the flow of information from light-sensing neurons to the pineal gland can result in insomnia and other sleep disorders. The pineal gland is also thought to influence sex hormones and those that regulate blood pressure and the flexibility of arterial walls.
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