Sleep Experts Favor Melatonin

You lie awake at night, wondering how much longer you can hold onto your sanity as thoughts of the big 8 a.m. meeting rush through your head like a runaway freight train. You have to get some sleep, but with all the mental commotion it just seems like an impossibility.

A recent survey of sleep experts has found that responding physicians working in sleep disorder clinics favor recommending melatonin supplements to their patients by an eight to one margin over other sleep aids.

The survey, given to all members of the American Sleep Disorders Association, found that physicians recommend melatonin to adult patients of both genders and all age groups. The respondents described the types of sleep disorders for which they recommend melatonin as including both sleep-onset disorders and disorders affecting quality of sleep. Recommended dosage levels varied, with more than 50 percent of those respondents who favored melatonin recommending a supplement containing 3 mg. or less.

In addition, those same physicians who endorse melatonin were twice as likely to prefer a time-release tablet over a non time-release product. A time-released tablet allows small increments of melatonin to enter the bloodstream throughout the night, mimicking the body’s own actions and providing a more natural sleep cycle.

Melatonin is a pineal hormone that is secreted naturally by the body at night. It sets and maintains the internal clocks governing the natural rhythms of the body.

During the night or in the dark, melatonin production in the body begins to rise, causing us to become drowsy until eventually we fall asleep. As we age, production of melatonin decreases, causing an increase in sleep disorders. Supplementing with melatonin may be a safe way to make sure you’re alert for that 8 a.m. meeting.

Reprinted with permission from Energy Times, September 1996.

See related article(s): Tick-Tock, Sound Restful Sleep

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