Written by Tanya Thomas, B.Com | 
Medically Reviewed by dr. reeja tharu, M.Phil.,Ph.D on Apr 19, 2013

Melatonin For Sleep and Jetlag

Over the years, several studies have established thelink between melatonin and sleep. It only follows that melatonin does have anessential role to play in the treatment of insomnia and sleep disturbances.

As mentioned earlier, the secretion of melatonin isdriven by external cues namely light and darkness. The increase in secretionin the evening, therefore results in greater propensity to sleep.

But the production of thehormone is not always smooth. It may be hampered in certain cases, such as jetlag (crossing time zones), workingnight shifts or any such circumstance that demands exposure to less light atday and more at night (maladaptation syndrome). Additionally, certainindividuals are prone to lower melatonin secretion, especially the aged andpersons with schizophrenia. The resulting insomnia and disturbances of thenatural sleep cycle adversely affect the quality of life.

Melatonin supplements have been successfully used inthe treatment of sleep disorders. The medication, taken orally, has proved itsefficacy in correcting disrupted circadian rhythms. Also, a desirable increasein sleep quality, reduction in sleep-onset latency, heightened freshness onawakening, and better daytime functioning have also been observed. It has alsobecome possible to manage sleep disturbances and induce sleep in children with ADHD and autism, thanks to the effects of melatonin.

Studieshave also opined that melatonin supplements may prove effective in theavoidance of severe jetlag, as sleep cycles can be synchronized with the timezone one is traveling to.

People who are totally blind have difficultyfalling and /or staying. They also have problems in concentration andoftentimes experience fatigue and irritability. Melatonin has helped reset the free-running circadian rhythms of blind people or those with poor vision,to the normal 24-hour cycle. Here, hormone supplements are to be takenapproximately an hour prior to bedtime. Researchers are, however, undecided onthe right dosage to be prescribed.

References

  1. University of Maryland Medical Center - (https://www.umms.org/ummc)
  2. Family doctor - (https://familydoctor.org/)
  3. The Annie Appleseed Project - (http://www.annieappleseedproject.org/)
  4. Talk about Sleep - (https://www.talkaboutsleep.com/)
  5. Priory Medical Journals - (http://priory.com)
  6. Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms - (https://sltbr.org/)

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