Melatonin is a hormone made in the body. It regulates night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin in supplements is usually made in a lab.
Darkness triggers the body to make more melatonin, which signals the body to sleep. Light decreases melatonin production and signals the body to be awake. Some people who have trouble sleeping have low levels of melatonin. It’s thought that adding melatonin from supplements might help them sleep.
People most commonly use melatonin for insomnia and improving sleep in different conditions, such as jet lag. It is also used for depression, chronic pain, dementia, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses. There is also no good evidence to support using melatonin for COVID-19.