Over the years, several studies have established the
link between melatonin and sleep. It only follows that melatonin does have an
essential role to play in the treatment of insomnia
and sleep disturbances
As mentioned earlier, the secretion of melatonin is
driven by external cues namely light and darkness. The increase in secretion
in the evening, therefore results in greater propensity to sleep.
But the production of the
hormone is not always smooth. It may be hampered in certain cases, such as jetlag
(crossing time zones), working
night shifts or any such circumstance that demands exposure to less light at
day and more at night (maladaptation syndrome). Additionally, certain
individuals are prone to lower melatonin secretion, especially the aged and
persons with schizophrenia. The resulting insomnia and disturbances of the
natural sleep cycle adversely affect the quality of life.
Melatonin supplements have been successfully used in
the treatment of sleep disorders. The medication, taken orally, has proved its
efficacy in correcting disrupted circadian rhythms. Also, a desirable increase
in sleep quality, reduction in sleep-onset latency, heightened freshness on
awakening, and better daytime functioning have also been observed. It has also
become possible to manage sleep disturbances and induce sleep in children with ADHD
, thanks to the effects of melatonin.
have also opined that melatonin supplements may prove effective in the
avoidance of severe jetlag, as sleep cycles can be synchronized with the time
zone one is traveling to.
People who are totally blind have difficulty
falling and /or staying. They also have problems in concentration and
oftentimes experience fatigue and irritability. Melatonin has helped reset the free-running circadian rhythms
people or those with poor vision,
to the normal 24-hour cycle. Here, hormone supplements are to be taken
approximately an hour prior to bedtime. Researchers are, however, undecided on
the right dosage to be prescribed.