home
RSS
Get Some Sleep: Melatonin's a great solution - for some
April 19th, 2011
05:03 PM ET

Get Some Sleep: Melatonin's a great solution - for some

Lisa Shives, M.D., is the founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois. She blogs on Tuesdays on The Chart. Read more from her at Dr. Lisa Shives’ Sleep Better Blog.
A frazzled, 45-year-old woman came into my office the other day complaining of longstanding, intermittent bouts of insomnia.

“The frustrating thing is I watch my husband take his melatonin and ‘poof’ it’s like the sandman flew in through the window and sprinkled sand in his eyes. He is out. Me? Nothing. I lie there for hours even if I take two or three pills.”

I hear this lot. Melatonin works remarkably well for some people and has no affect on others.

Melatonin is a naturally occurring neuro-hormone that is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. When released from the pineal gland, melatonin causes drowsiness and a decrease in core body temperature. The levels of melatonin rise throughout the evening hours and peak in the middle of the night. That is if there is relative darkness. Even ordinary room light (approximately 100 lux) can cause a rapid suppression in melatonin. This is why sleep doctors are always telling people, at least people who have trouble falling asleep, that they should avoid reading in bed.

Research suggests that melatonin not only helps us sleep and maintain our 24-hour clock, but that it acts as a powerful antioxidant that destroys cancerous cells. It may also boost immunity and help in weight loss. The antioxidant properties are thought to explain why night shift workers have a higher rate of cancer. Night after night they suppress their melatonin by staying up and being exposed to light.

Melatonin has been studied as a sleep promoting agent in doses ranging from 0.3 mg to 80 mg and the results are always disappointing. There are a few hypotheses why that is the case.

First, melatonin is sold as a dietary supplement in this country and you can’t rely on the dose really being what the bottle says it is.

I have been trying to find out if there is brand of melatonin sold in the U.S. that is manufactured in Western Europe. Many European countries such as Germany regulate their herbal supplements as strictly as they do their pharmaceuticals. In fact, Germany considers melatonin a prescription medication.

Second, the timing of the dosing of melatonin when treating insomnia has not been firmly established.

For example, when we are using it to shift people’s circadian rhythm, we typically give it approximately six hours before desired bedtime. This can slowly phase advance them, i.e. get them to fall asleep earlier.

I experiment with the timing with patients. I start at 30 minutes before bedtime, in order to use it as a hypnotic, but if we don’t achieve the desired sleepiness, then I advise taking it 60 minutes before bed, then 90 minutes and so forth until we are actually using it as a chronobiotic, i.e. shifting the biological clock.

I always advise caution that they not go out and about or operate heavy machinery while we are first administering the melatonin.

Third, melatonin might work better on some people because they have a naturally low level whereas it has little effect on people who have normal levels. This hypothesis is extrapolated from literature that shows that melatonin is more effective when administered in the daytime when our natural levels are low. Also, melatonin seems to be more effective in elderly patients who often have low melatonin. Further supporting evidence might be the fact that most research shows little difference in response whether you give low dose or high dose.

Finally, perhaps oral administration is not the best method of delivery the drug. It is manufactured as sublingual  (under the tongue) and as transdermal (skin) patches, but whether these routes of delivery are more effective remains to be tested.

We should also keep in mind that certain medications such as beta blockers and anti-depressants can suppress melatonin levels.

Although the effectiveness of melatonin is questionable, it is generally considered safe in adults. Common side effects include morning grogginess, headache, vivid dreaming.

The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.

Post by:
Filed under: Cancer

soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. オメガスーパーコピー

    2020年人気の商品を超えて、当店が売買する中.
    すべての商品はすべて新しく着きます.
    すべての商品の品質がすべて検査するのが合格です.
    みんなを歓迎して選り取りで買います.
    ■主要取扱商品 バッグ、財布、腕時計、マフラー!
    ○ スタイルが多い、品質がよい、価格が低い!
    ○ S品質 シリアル付きも有り 付属品完備!
    ○必ずご満足頂ける品質の商品のみ販売しております.

    品質の承諾:
    ◆入金の後で3-7日高い府に到着する
    ◆もし、税関に止まられた場合、再びに無料で再送いたします。到着してまで。
    当社の商品は絶対の自信が御座います。
    S品質 シリアル付きも有り 付属品完備!
    オメガスーパーコピー

    September 16, 2020 at 05:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Lynn Stoutamire

    Elite Private proxy go shopping https://DreamProxies.com – the actual best private proxies you can discover with regard to least expensive prices!

    https://dreamproxies.com/tag/proxyrack-sale/

    November 26, 2020 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. detectives privados boadilla del monte

    detectives privados villaciosa de odon

    https://www.argadetectives.com/aranjuez.html

    December 10, 2020 at 17:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. zortilonrel

    Howdy are using WordPress for your blog platform? I'm new to the blog world but I'm trying to get started and set up my own. Do you require any html coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    January 17, 2021 at 02:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. zortilo nrel

    What i don't realize is if truth be told how you're no longer really a lot more smartly-favored than you might be right now. You're so intelligent. You understand thus considerably in terms of this matter, produced me for my part consider it from numerous various angles. Its like men and women are not fascinated unless it is one thing to do with Woman gaga! Your own stuffs great. At all times deal with it up!

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    January 17, 2021 at 04:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. zortilonrel

    Enjoyed studying this, very good stuff, thanks. "The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread." by Mother Theresa.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    January 18, 2021 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. zortilonrel

    Good write-up, I am normal visitor of one's site, maintain up the excellent operate, and It's going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    January 19, 2021 at 19:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Reuben Oras

    Do you want get more social network traffic, likes, and retweets? SMM Supreme uses his own panel system to generate social media traffic to any website. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes: $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers: $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Payeer Deposit – Automatic order processing – 30 minutes to send to customers

    https://bit.ly/3iOPatX

    January 28, 2021 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. 500 Dollars a Day Money System

    Get Our Passive Income System – Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Run our Premium Unlimited Traffic Step 3: Setup your Paypal account. Then just sit back and relax while you watch your paypal account receiving payments during the whole day 100 in auto pilot. More info: https://www.k3reviews.com/2020/08/16/monster-mode-700k/

    https://bitly.com/2EgbfPr

    January 30, 2021 at 07:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Build Your Own Landing Pages

    Earn 500 a Day With Our Passive Income System Doing These 3 Steps – Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Setup your Paypal account. Step 3: Run our Unlimited Traffic System from our Free 850 sources of traffic (Approximately 35000 views a day guaranteed). Then in few hours you will start receiving payments without do nothing! More info: https://warriorplus.com/o2/a/gp8vk/0

    https://bitly.com/2qChAkX

    February 1, 2021 at 17:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Avery Elmblad

    Earn 5000 a Month With Our Passive Income System

    https://warriorplus.com/o2/a/nndsr/0

    February 6, 2021 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. dr-goz-peter-ugyved.business.site

    My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different web address and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to finding out about your web page again.

    https://dr-goz-peter-ugyved.business.site/

    February 9, 2021 at 04:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Europa-Road

    Do you have a spam problem on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; many of us have created some nice procedures and we are looking to trade solutions with others, why not shoot me an email if interested.

    https://europa-road.eu/

    February 9, 2021 at 04:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Theodora Chisolm

    Get Our Passive Income System – Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Setup your Paypal account. Step 3: Run our Unlimited Traffic System from 850 sources of traffic (Approximately 35000 views a day guaranteed). Then just wait and earn your income 100 on autopilot. More info: https://www.k3reviews.com/2020/08/16/monster-mode-700k/

    https://www.k3reviews.com/

    February 13, 2021 at 00:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Profitable-Digital-Marketing Strategy-and-Plan

    Best Social Media Services and Website Traffic Services 2021: https://www.seoclerk.com/user/jackpower99

    https://www.seoclerk.com/Link-Building/842132/500000-Scrapebox-Blast-Live-SEO-blog-Comment-Backlinks

    February 16, 2021 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. pc repair

    There are certainly a number of particulars like that to take into consideration. That could be a nice point to convey up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration however clearly there are questions just like the one you deliver up where a very powerful thing can be working in sincere good faith. I don?t know if greatest practices have emerged around things like that, however I'm certain that your job is clearly identified as a good game. Each boys and girls really feel the affect of only a moment’s pleasure, for the remainder of their lives.

    https://cds-consultants.com

    February 21, 2021 at 05:29 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.