Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Melatonin Most Effective For Sleep When Taken For Off-hour Sleeping

Date:
May 1, 2006
Source:
Rush University Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers from the Divisions of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School have found in a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study, that melatonin, taken orally during non-typical sleep times, significantly improves an individual's ability to sleep.

Researchers from the Divisions of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School have found in a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study, that melatonin, taken orally during non-typical sleep times, significantly improves an individual’s ability to sleep.

This finding is particularly important for rotating or night-shift workers, travelers with jet lag and individuals with advanced or delayed sleep phase syndrome.

The findings appear in the May 1, 2006 issue of the journal Sleep.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body at night in darkness, which helps the brain determine day and night to help regulate sleep cycles and circadian timing. Retinal light exposure inhibits the release of the hormone.

Millions of Americans take melatonin supplements to improve their sleep, yet the results of prior studies on the efficacy of melatonin as a sleep-promoting agent have been mixed, according to the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality, which carried out an extensive review of this topic two years ago. The present study, conducted at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, sought to address this question.

Thirty-six participants (21 men and 15 women), between the ages of 18 and 30 with no significant past or current medical disorders, sleep disorders, or psychological disorders were chosen for the study from a pool of applicants.

The participants refrained from alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, illicit substances and prescription and non-prescription medications for three weeks prior to the start of the study. They were studied in sound-proof suites free of time clues. Participants were first studied for three days and nights in the lab on their traditional sleep schedules to measure their normal sleep structure and melatonin production.

“Participants were then kept on a 20-hour sleep-wake schedule, simulating a traveler crossing four time zones eastward every day,” explained Dr. Charles Czeisler, Chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and senior author of the study. “For the next three weeks, thirty minutes before each sleep episode, participants ingested either a placebo, 0.3milligrams (mg), or 5.0mg of pharmaceutical grade melatonin.”

The researchers found that sleep efficiency during the six hour, 40 minute episodes was significantly higher in the groups that took melatonin during times when the body was not producing melatonin. At those times, participants taking 5.0mg of melatonin had a sleep efficiency of 83 percent and those taking 0.3mg melatonin had a sleep efficiency of 84 percent.

Sleep efficiency in both of these groups was significantly greater than that in participants taking placebo, who had a sleep efficiency of 77 percent. There was no significant difference in sleep efficiency among all participants during times when melatonin was being produced in the body.

James K. Wyatt, Ph.D., lead author of the study, Diplomate, American Board of Sleep Medicine and now acting Co-Director of the Sleep Disorders Service and Research Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago stated, “A landmark feature of this comprehensive research was the study of 24 successive sleep episodes in the same participants, including over 1,000 sleep recordings, across a full range if circadian phases – the body’s internal 24-hour timing system. We were able to definitively show in these healthy young adults that the use of melatonin as a sleep-aid was only beneficial for sleeping when the body wasn’t already releasing its own supply of melatonin.”

“These data leave little doubt about the effectiveness of melatonin in alleviating sleep disturbances when attempting to sleep at the wrong time of day, at least under laboratory conditions,” continued co-author Derk-Jan Dijk, now Director of the Surrey Sleep Research Centre, Surrey, England.

Czeisler concluded: “Melatonin enabled these participants to obtain an extra half hour of sleep when they attempted to do so during the day, at a time when they were not producing melatonin themselves. Melatonin did not help these young adults sleep at night, when their body was already producing melatonin. These finding have implications for millions of people who attempt to sleep at a time that is out of synch with the brain’s internal clock.”

The research was supported by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institutes of Health and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rush University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rush University Medical Center. "Melatonin Most Effective For Sleep When Taken For Off-hour Sleeping." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060501113641.htm>.
Rush University Medical Center. (2006, May 1). Melatonin Most Effective For Sleep When Taken For Off-hour Sleeping. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060501113641.htm
Rush University Medical Center. "Melatonin Most Effective For Sleep When Taken For Off-hour Sleeping." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060501113641.htm (accessed August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) After four months in the hospital, the first quintuplets to be born at Baylor University Medical Center head home. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) A U.S. aid worker infected with Ebola while working in West Africa will be treated in a high security ward at Emory University in Atlanta. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins