A Natural Option for Insomnia
Measures of sleep quality were significantly improved in all participants taking melatonin
If you struggle to get a good night's rest, you're not alone. Up to one-third of adults report suffering from insomnia, defined as difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, or having non-refreshing sleep. There are natural options for sleeplessness, and the latest research suggests melatonin may be one to try.
Measuring melatonin's effects
Researchers put together a combined, short- and long-term study in a large group of 18- to 80-year-old adults. For the first three weeks of the study, 791 men and women were randomly selected to receive a 2 mg extended-release melatonin supplement or a placebo pill (no melatonin). Study subjects kept a daily diary to track the previous night's sleep.
For the rest of the study, the group selected to receive melatonin continued taking the supplement. The group that had received a placebo were then randomly selected to receive either melatonin or a placebo for the next 26 weeks.
The study was blinded, so none of the participants knew if they were receiving melatonin or a placebo at any point. At the end of the study, the researchers analyzed the participants sleep diaries and discovered that:
Improving your sack time
Below are tips about melatonin supplements and other insomnia-busting techniques you can use to get your shuteye.
(Curr Med Res Opin 2011; 27:87-98)
Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.