Your pineal gland helps you sleep! This endocrine champ secretes melatonin, a hormone that may control sleep and wake patterns. It hangs out in the middle of the brain making this sweet sleepy substance all night long. This thing'll take you to the gland of nod.
Want more pineal gland function and location facts? Yes! Even though it’s deep inside your brain, your pineal gland can detect light so it can regulate our sleep-wake cycle! How? The pineal talks to receptors on the back of the eyeball. 👁 WUT?
Melatonin helps you get into deep REM sleep, when most dreams occur. So if you had weird dreams last night, thank your pineal gland! The pineal also helps convert serotonin, which regulates feelings of well-being.
Descartes described this gland as the human body's "third eye" -- a mystical invisible all-seeing eye known as a 6th sense. He also thought the pineal gland contained “tiny animal spirits.” Uhhhh...Keep your day job, Descartes!
The pineal produces DMT, a hallucinogen, but not in large enough amounts to see UFOs or freaky clown robots. 🤡👽👾 In “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” Hunter S. Thompson’s main character took every psychotropic drug 💊💉 under the sun, but famously refused to touch “extract of pineal.”
The name comes from the gland’s pine-cone-like shape. Now, is it pronounced PIN-ee-UL or PIE-nee--ul? As with "tomato" and "clitoris," the pronunciation of "pineal" is dealer's choice. Both are correct. So stop your Pronunciation Fight and let's kiss and make up while snuggling this pineal gland plushie.
What can go wrong with the pineal? Well, pineal gland tumors are a thing you don't want. A brain surgeon can help you with that. Other pineal diseases and problems include pineal gland dysfunction and abnormal melatonin output, either too much or too little. Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases also mess with your pineal. For that, you gotta talk to your local friendly endocrinologist. Who will probably freak out if you give them a pineal gland pin.
Hope you enjoyed this trip to Pineal Gland Land, where the fascinating pineal gland facts flow like melatonin.