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Melatonin for Sleep: Uses and Abuses

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS) is a sleep disorder whereby a person’s normal cycle of wakefulness and slumber gets delayed. You have the trouble of falling asleep at the desired time. You lie awake in the middle of night and end up waking too late in the day. Such a condition crops up when secretion of melatonin hormone in the body is irregular. Melatonin is released at night that drops down the body’s temperature and brings sleep.  In the morning hours, less production of melatonin keeps you wake. A remedy of DSPS is administering synthetic melatonin to the patients.

Insomnia - an essential symptom of DSPS

Does Melatonin Necessarily Cure DSPS?

Melatonin does not necessarily restore the circadian rhythm. But it helps the patient to fall asleep earlier. According to some case studies administration of the drug before bed time helps patient to doze off approximately two hours prior to his usual sleep hours. The waking hours will also change proportionately.  Some experts opine that melatonin not only allows a person to sleep better but also improves his quality of life.

Is Melatonin without Side Effects?

Melatonin is available in form of tablets, capsules as well as cream. It is also found as lozenge that will melt under the tongue. However, if you are suffering of delayed sleep disorder, do not pop in melatonin tablet without consulting a doctor.  Usually dosage commences with 1 to 3 mg. If it does not produce result in a few days, the doctor will increase it.  Do not combine melatonin with any other sleeping aid unless the doctor recommends you to do so. It will make you feel very sleepy. Usually, in DSPS the doctor recommends a prescription sleeping aid and an over-the-counter melatonin. Always discuss your medical circumstances with the doctor before taking melatonin. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should never take melatonin. Besides this it is not suitable for people with diabetes, seizures and high blood pressure. Melatonin also negatively reacts with certain medications like sedatives, contraceptives, neuroleptics, beta-adrenergic, blood pressure medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, blood thinner, steroids and some other drugs. Melatonin has side effects  viz. drowsiness, headache, confusion, abdominal irritation, allergies, swelling of some body parts and sometimes severe breathing problems too. In case these side effects blow out of proportion, see a doctor immediately.

Final Words on Melatonin as a Sleeping Aid

Melatonin: 3D Molecular Structure

I hope this article on melatonin was helpful to you and wish good luck in selecting a suitable sleeping aid that will bring you sound night’s sleep.