Daily Dose of Serotonin

Ava B.

In the past couple of years, a common word has been found across the internet in comment sections, messages, and conversations. But what is it?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and hormone associated with happiness or joy. It’s often seen in the comment section of a cute or funny video. Comments like, “My daily dose of serotonin,” are what began to raise the question of what is serotonin? Like most hormones, serotonin is a key factor in day to day functionality. Lack of serotonin can be caused by depression or even vise versa. The lack of serotonin can also enfeeble the nervous system and nerve signals. This contributes to depression patients often describing feeling “numb”.

Often considered the opposite of its coworker melatonin, serotonin can actually have an effect on sleep. Melatonin is a chemical that the brain produces in order to induce sleep. Part of serotonin’s job is to actually reduce rapid eye movement or REM sleep, which is vital to the human body’s sleep schedule. Increased or decreased serotonin has a surprisingly significant effect on REM sleep. Increased serotonin prevents REM while less serotonin shouldn’t have much of an effect. This further proves that there can be too much of a good thing. 

Next time someone mentions serotonin, all of this information isn’t guaranteed to come flooding back. Studies have shown that serotonin has an effect on learning and memory as well. The higher the level of serotonin, the more likely the subject is to recall the information later. This is why most depression patients have a harder time recalling day to day information. The brain simply doesn’t grasp information the way it should.

From sleep deprivation to memory  ability, serotonin has been shown to affect it all. Low serotonin levels can have a negative effect on functionality, but so can too much.