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Melatonin improves sleep quality and morning alertness in insomnia patients

At a Glance: Melatonin significantly improved quality of sleep and morning alertness in mature insomnia patients with no evidence of rebound insomnia or withdrawal effects after the treatments were discontinued.

Melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, is vital to regulation of sleep patterns. Declining melatonin production and poor quality of sleep are increasingly common among the elderly. Insomnia often results in poor daytime functioning and a decreased quality of life.

The effects of a melatonin supplement versus placebo were assessed in a randomized placebo-controlled study in 170 insomnia patients aged 55 years and older. The study used 2 mg of melatonin daily over a 3 week period of time. Improvements in quality of sleep and morning alertness were assessed. Rebound insomnia and withdrawal effects following discontinuation were also evaluated.

Melatonin significantly improved quality of sleep and morning alertness compared to the placebo group. The improvements in quality of sleep and morning alertness were strongly correlated, indicating a beneficial effect on the restorative value of sleep. There was no evidence of rebound insomnia or withdrawal effects after the treatments were discontinued.

Journal of Sleep Research. Volume 16 Issue 4; 372-80

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