Italian scientists have found that the grapes in most red wines have a sleep inducing ingredient, melatonin. That's probably the reason why wine lulls people to beauty sleep. Melatonin, a sleep hormone is produced by the pineal gland in the brain, which is like a sign board for the body directing it to hit the sack!
The discovery of melatonin in grape skin could explain why so many of us hit the bottle in the evening to wind down after a day's hard slog. 'The melatonin content in wine could help regulate the circadian rhythm [sleep-wake patterns], just like the melatonin produced by the pineal gland in mammals,' says researcher Iriti Marcello at the University of Milan.
Until recently, melatonin was thought to be exclusively produced by mammals but has recently been discovered in plants. It is thought to have antioxidant properties. Iriti's study discovered high levels of melatonin in Nebbolo, Merlot, Cabernet Savignon, Sangiovesse and Croatina grape varieties.
Richard Wurtman of the brain and cognitive science department at MIT is unconvinced, however, and believes further research is needed to determine whether the compounds discovered are melatonin, or something very similar.
(source : Eureka)