Melatonin Most Effective For Sleep When Taken For Off-Hour Sleeping

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Melatonin Sleep Medication

Researchers from the Divisions of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School have found in a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study, that melatonin, taken orally during non-typical sleep times, significantly improves an individual's ability to sleep.

This finding is particularly important for rotating or night-shift workers, travelers with jet lag and individuals with advanced or delayed sleep phase syndrome.

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The findings appear in the May 1, 2006 issue of the journal Sleep.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body at night in darkness, which helps the brain determine day and night to help regulate sleep cycles and circadian timing. Retinal light exposure inhibits the release of the hormone.

Millions of Americans take melatonin supplements to improve their sleep, yet the results of prior studies on the efficacy of melatonin as a sleep-promoting agent have been mixed, according to the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality, which carried out an extensive review of this topic two years ago.

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