Contributed Dec-2022 by Alex Harpy of Sleeping Test
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced naturally in the body and is involved in the regulation of sleep. It is often called the “sleep hormone” because its levels increase in the body at night, signaling to the body that it is time to sleep.
Melatonin is available over-the-counter as a dietary supplement in the United States, but it is important to speak with a doctor before using it. The proper dosage of melatonin can vary depending on a person’s age, weight, and other factors, and a doctor can help determine the right amount for an individual. If you live in Europe, Vitasunn can dispatch and deliver melatonin within the EU where it is difficult to find. Melatonin is commonly prescribed for sleep disorders where both quantity and quality of sleep are affected.
Common sleep disorders
Insomnia: Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder and is characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep, or waking up feeling unrefreshed. Insomnia can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, anxiety, depression, and certain medications.
Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person's breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep, causing them to wake up frequently throughout the night. This can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and other health problems.
Narcolepsy: Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness. People with narcolepsy experience excessive daytime sleepiness and may have sudden, irresistible episodes of sleep during the day.
Treatment for sleep disorders varies depending on the type and severity of the disorder. It may include lifestyle changes, such as improving sleep hygiene, or the use of medications or other therapies. It is important to talk to a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Melatonin supplements come in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, and liquids. Some common types of melatonin supplements include:
Immediate-release melatonin: This type of melatonin supplement is designed to be quickly absorbed into the body, allowing for rapid onset of effects. It is often used for the treatment of jet lag or to help with falling asleep.
Extended-release melatonin: This type of melatonin supplement is designed to be released gradually over a longer period of time, allowing for more sustained effects. It is often used for the treatment of insomnia and other chronic sleep disorders.
Melatonin with added ingredients: Some melatonin supplements include additional ingredients, such as herbs or other compounds, that may help with sleep or relaxation. For example, some melatonin supplements may contain valerian root or GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) to enhance their effects.
It is important to note that the effectiveness and safety of melatonin supplements can vary depending on the type and quality of the product. It is always best to talk to a healthcare provider before using any supplement, including melatonin.
Can melatonin supplements help with sleep apnea?
There is evidence to suggest that melatonin may be effective in treating sleep apnea. In a study conducted by the University of California, San Diego, researchers found that melatonin improved sleep efficiency, reduced the number of awakenings, and increased the amount of time spent in deep sleep in patients with sleep apnea.
Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine supports evidence about the moderate efficacy of melatonin and a melatonin receptor agonist (ramelteon) in increasing total sleep time and reducing sleep latency. The researchers also found that melatonin had a positive effect on the nervous system, which is involved in the regulation of breathing during sleep.
In addition to its potential benefits for sleep apnea, melatonin has also been shown to have other positive effects on sleep. It can help to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, improve sleep quality, and reduce the symptoms of jet lag.
Other treatments for sleep apnea
While melatonin may be effective in treating sleep apnea, it is not a cure-all. In some cases, other treatments such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which delivers air through a mask to keep the airway open during sleep. Other treatments may include weight loss, lifestyle changes, and surgery to remove excess tissue from the airway.
Weight loss can also be an effective treatment for sleep apnea, as excess weight can contribute to the obstruction of the airway. Losing weight can help to reduce the severity of sleep apnea and improve sleep quality.
Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol and sleeping on your side, can also help to alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea. Avoiding alcohol, in particular, can be beneficial because it can relax the muscles in the throat.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat sleep apnea. Procedures such as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) and laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) can help to remove excess tissue from the airway and improve breathing during sleep.
It is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems and a decreased quality of life. Prioritizing good sleep is important for overall health and well-being.