Essentially, the drug copies the effects of melatonin, the sleep hormone, on the body. This drug manufactured by Vanda Pharmaceuticals and known by the name, Tasimelteon, can reduce the time taken for victims to fall asleep. It can also help them stay asleep for longer.
It is well known that when we cross time zones or work at night, the bodies natural sleep rhythm or circadian rhythms are affected. Melatonin, the hormone in charge of regulating sleep, is released in the brain. Also called the 'darkness hormone', its levels go up during the night and drop during the day.
During the study, scientists from the Harvard and Monash University recreated a jetlag situation with 450 people. They were divided into two groups, and had to stay awake for five hours longer than normal, for a week. One group had to take Tasimelteon half hour prior to their bed time, and the other group were given a placebo.
The findings of this study revealed that those on the drug were able to fall asleep faster than the rest; they were able to stay asleep longer as well. This was in direct contrast to the group that had taken the placebo.
The pill may hit the market in three years and promises to be less addictive than commonly used sleep medications.