Promoting Healthy Sleep
Obtaining sufficient amounts of quality sleep is an absolute necessity for good health, yet many of us experience sleep difficulties on occasion. Insomnia occurs due to a variety of factors—ranging from long hours of work or travel to sleep-disruptive conditions, such as urinary frequency and stressful events. Elderly adults may be particularly susceptible to difficulty sleeping and nighttime awakenings, due to the decline in melatonin levels associated with aging.15 Melatonin can help promote healthy sleep patterns in some people, regardless of the cause of insomnia.
A large analysis revealed several of melatonin’s sleep-enhancing benefits. Reviewing 15 studies of sleep in healthy adults, scientists noted that melatonin administration significantly reduced sleep latency (the amount of time needed to fall asleep), while boosting sleep efficiency (the percentage of time in bed spent asleep) and increasing total sleep duration.16
Men with benign prostatic enlargement often experience poor sleep due to nighttime urinary frequency. Scientists from the United Kingdom found that melatonin may offer an effective solution. When 20 older men were treated with 3 mg of melatonin each day for one month, they experienced a significant decrease in nighttime urination, and reported that their condition was less bothersome than before treatment.15
Individuals who work the night shift are often chronically tired due to difficulty falling asleep during the daytime. Supplementing with melatonin has helped improve the length and quality of daytime sleep in these individuals. These findings demonstrate an important characteristic of melatonin: the hormone exerts its hypnotic (sleep-inducing) and sedative (anxiety-relieving) effects, regardless of dosage time.7
Traveling to different time zones often leads to the fatigue and insomnia known as jet lag. Supplementing with melatonin can help prevent or reduce jet lag, particularly when traveling across several time zones. Melatonin works by helping re-synchronize the body’s circadian rhythms, helping the traveler adapt to the local time.7
A promising study suggests that migraine sufferers may be able to reduce the frequency and severity of their headaches by using melatonin. Researchers gave 34 migraine sufferers (29 women and 5 men) a 3-mg dose of melatonin, 30 minutes before bedtime, for three months. Of the 32 patients who finished the study, more than two thirds experienced at least a 50% reduction in number of headaches per month. Additionally, the intensity and duration of headaches decreased. The scientists believe that melatonin’s anti-inflammatory effect and free-radical-scavenging effects contribute to its headache-relieving benefits.14
Melatonin is a powerful and versatile antioxidant produced within the body. Melatonin protects both lipids and proteins against damage, and can scavenge some of the most dangerous free radicals in the body—including hydroxyl radicals and hydrogen peroxide. Unlike other antioxidants, melatonin easily diffuses into all cells, and even crosses the blood-brain barrier to protect the delicate brain.1
Unfortunately, levels of naturally produced melatonin decline with advancing age, leaving older adults with limited antioxidant protection against conditions associated with oxidative stress, particularly neurodegenerative diseases.1 Supplementing with melatonin may thus help older adults enhance their antioxidant protection against some of the most ravaging diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke.
Melatonin levels are particularly low in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Nearly half of affected individuals suffer from sleep disturbances and “sundowning”—increased confusion, agitation, and other symptoms in the afternoon and evening.2 Not surprisingly, melatonin supplementation benefits patients with Alzheimer’s disease by improving sleep and reducing late-day aggravation of symptoms. Melatonin has also been found to decrease cognitive deterioration in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, possibly by protecting brain cells from the toxic protein, beta-amyloid.2
Melatonin may likewise play an important role in assisting patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is associated with disrupted melatonin secretion in the brain, and supplemental melatonin may help improve sleep efficiency in affected adults.3
The brain can suffer dramatic, irreparable damage when an individual suffers a stroke. Utilizing animal models of stroke, scientists have found that melatonin may offer important protection against stroke-related damage and deterioration. When administered at the time of stroke, melatonin limited the area of brain tissue damage, decreased brain cell death, lessened behavioral deficits, and reduced the rate of stroke-related death. These investigators believe that melatonin’s protective actions stem from its free-radical-scavenging and antioxidant activities, and suggest that melatonin may hold promise in improving stroke outcomes in humans.4
Melatonin may help manage one of the leading risk factors for stroke—elevated blood pressure. While an earlier study reported that hypertensive men taking melatonin experienced reduced nighttime blood pressure, a newer study confirms the same benefit for women.5 In a randomized, double-blind study, 18 women
(aged 47 to 63) with either normal blood pressure or treated high blood pressure received a three-week course of slow-release melatonin (3 mg) or placebo, one hour before bedtime. Researchers recorded blood pressure readings for 41 hours at the end of the trial. While the daytime blood pressure readings remained unchanged com-pared to placebo, the melatonin treatment significantly decreased nighttime blood pressure, without modifying heart rate.6
Directions: For adults, take one (1) tablet at bedtime as Melatonin may produce drowsiness. Other Ingredients: Dicalcium Phosphate, Vegetable Cellulose. Contains <2% of: Silica, Vegetable Magnesium Stearate, Vegetable Stearic Acid. WARNING: Not intended for use by pregnant or nursing women. If you are taking any medications or have any medical condition, consult your doctor before use. Discontinue use and consult your doctor if any adverse reactions occur. Do not drive, operate machinery or consume alcohol when taking this product. Limit use to two months with a break of one week. Not intended for use by persons under the age of 18. Keep out of reach of children. Store at room temperature. Do not use if seal under cap is broken or missing.
|Serving Size 1 Tablet|
|Amount Per Serving
||% Daily Value
||3 mg **
| (as n-Acetyl-5-Methoxytryptamine)|
|**Daily Value not established.