Melatonin has been studied as a potential treatment for various sleep disorders in adults. The general consensus is that melatonin, which is administered during normal waking hours, has hypnotic properties. Barbiturates were used from the early 20th century to the early 1960s, when benzodiazepines (i.e. flurazepam and quazepam) were first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat sleep disorders. It can also help with jet lag symptoms.
Sleep disorders are dissatisfaction with the quality or quantity of sleep characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or falling back asleep after waking up early, which is associated with stress and impairment of daily functioning. Note that the conclusion applies to the entire study and that “sleep disorders” include sleep disorders in addition to other sleep disorders.
Is melatonin a good treatment for sleep disorders?
In an animal study, melatonin supplements reduced the antidepressant effects of desipramine and fluoxetine (Prozac). Preliminary research suggests that low levels of melatonin help identify women who are at risk of a pregnancy complication called preeclampsia. You should never combine melatonin with sedatives unless you are under the close supervision of a doctor. It doesn’t appear to have the potential to develop a tolerance, addiction, or hangover effect; it has minimal side effects at low doses and has a short half-life.
Before taking melatonin supplements, check with your doctor first, especially if you have health problems or if you are taking other medicines. However, many people turn to melatonin for chronic or occasional insomnia and get mixed results because they take it too often, take higher doses than necessary, or don’t adjust it properly.