What You Need to Know About Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by your brain in response to light and darkness. It serves the important function of regulating the body’s Circadian rhythm (day night body clock). Because melatonin plays such a key role in regulating the body clock and sleep, it is often used as a medication to treat sleep problems in both adults and children.

What are some common uses of melatonin?

Insomnia, jet lag, shift work related sleep problems are often treated with melatonin. Research studies have established the role of melatonin in treating these disorders to varying degrees.

Sleep is complex; specifically what does melatonin help with?

Studies have shown that melatonin can help you fall asleep sooner and stay asleep longer. The quality of sleep with melatonin is often better as well as measured by both subjective reports from patients taking melatonin and objective measures of sleep quality (via sleep study etc.).  

Advantages of using melatonin over other sleep medications:

Things to note:

Most people will benefit from low doses starting 0.1-0.3 mg. Some people may notice that a higher dose helps them fall asleep faster and helps them stay asleep longer. Melatonin can be taken as needed.

Sleep well!

Author
Dr. Sayanti Bhattacharya Sayanti Bhattacharya, MD, MS, is a board-certified adult psychiatrist at Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill in North Carolina. Dr. Bhattacharya lends a wealth of experience in the treatment of anxiety, depression, sleep issues, memory problems, trauma-related stress disorders, and attention deficit disorders. She is also experienced working with people who have challenges with interpersonal communication, social anxiety, low self-esteem, overwhelming negative thinking, and sleep problems. She works with patients via both telemedicine and in person.

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