Melatonin Uses for Sleep Enhancement and Other Uses

Melatonin plays an important role in the regulation of many hormones in the body. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain that has a quick acting, sleep-inducing effect. It is a light-sensitive hormone, meaning that the absence of light stimulates its secretion. Melatonin may play a role in controlling the circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock and sleep cycle. Before puberty, the pineal gland produces comparatively large amounts of melatonin. As we age, melatonin production continually decreases, perhaps explaining why older people either have difficulty sleeping, or sleep less.

The melatonin most often found in health food stores and pharmacies is actually a synthetic version of the hormone; you can also purchase a form that combines synthetic and natural (from sheep pineal glands) melatonin. Both types of melatonin in a bottle mimic the real thing in chemical composition and behavior. However, more people favor the entirely synthetic form because it does not carry the risk of contamination that the partially organic form does.

Melatonin is also a very powerful antioxidant.


The most accepted function of Melatonin is it role in sleep regulation. Melatonin supplements help induce sleep in people with disrupted circadian rhythms. Melatonin is significantly more effective in decreasing the amount of time required to fall asleep, increasing the number of sleeping hours, and boosting daytime alertness.

Melatonin supplements may help with sleep problems associated with menopause. However, it does not appear to relieve other symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes. Peri- or postmenopausal women who use Melatonin supplements should do so only for a short period of time since long term effects are not known.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
Some clinical research has found that Melatonin may help elderly people with insomnia who are tapering off or stopping benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), or lorazepam (Ativan). Taking controlled-release melatonin improved sleep quality in those stopping benzodiazepine use. More study is needed.

Breast Cancer
Several studies suggest that Melatonin levels may be associated with breast cancer risk. For example, women with breast cancer tend to have lower levels of Melatonin than those without the disease. Laboratory experiments have found that low levels of Melatonin stimulate the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells, while adding Melatonin to these cells slows their growth.

In another small study of women who were taking tamoxifen for breast cancer but seeing no improvement, adding melatonin caused tumors to modestly shrink in more 28% of the women. Women with breast cancer should ask their doctors before taking melatonin.

Prostate Cancer
Studies show that people with prostate cancer have lower Melatonin levels than men without the disease. In test tube studies, Melatonin blocks the growth of prostate cancer cells. In one small-scale study, Melatonin — combined with conventional medical treatment — improved survival rates in 9 out of 14 men with metastatic prostate cancer. Interestingly, since meditation may cause Melatonin levels to rise it appears to be a valuable addition to the treatment of prostate cancer. More research is needed before doctors can make recommendations in this area.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Some evidence suggests that melatonin may help promote sleep in children in ADHD, although it does not seem to improve the behavioral symptoms of ADHD.


Sunburn — A few small clinical studies suggest that gels, lotions, or ointments containing melatonin may protect against sunburn and other skin damage. Studies examined using melatonin alone or combined with topical vitamin E prior to UV light exposure from the sun. Irritable Bowel Syndrome — Some preliminary studies suggest that people with IBS who take melatonin reduce some symptoms of IBS, such as abdominal pain. But results are mixed as to whether melatonin may help improve other symptoms, such as bloating and frequency of bowel movements. Epilepsy — Some studies suggest melatonin may reduce the frequency and duration of seizures in children with epilepsy. But other studies suggest melatonin may increase the frequency of seizures. Do not take melatonin for epilepsy or give it to a child without talking to your doctor first.

Available Forms:

Melatonin is available as tablets, capsules, cream, and lozenges that dissolve under the tongue.


There are currently no guidelines as to how to take Melatonin. Sensitivity to Melatonin is an individual thing and doses that are ineffective in one person may be too much for someone else.

The best approach for any condition is to begin with very low doses and slowly add more until you get the effect that you are seeking.

In children, it is best to start with a dose of about 0.3 mg/day or less. Although current research suggests that even doses as high as 10 mg are perfectly safe, it is best to proceed with caution.

In adults, 3 mg is usually a safe starting dose and you can increase it or decrease it as you see fit.


Melatonin is readily available in most health food stores in the United States and it is very cheap. In Europe it is a controlled substance. Most Europeans who wish to use Melatonin find it cheaper and easier to have it shipped from the US.


Melatonin is one of the least toxic substances known.

The only consistent side effect of high doses has been drowsiness and a slower reaction time.

Other common complaints include:

Vivid dreams or nightmares Stomach cramps Dizziness Headache Irritability Decreased libido Breast enlargement in men Decreased sperm count


Melatonin may interact or interfere with other drugs.

These include:

Antidepressant Medications Antipsychotic Medications: many of these medications are now being used in treating children with ADHD and Bipolar disorder Benzodiazepines Blood Pressure Medications Blood-thinning Medications, Anticoagulants Interleukin-2 Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) Steroids and Immunosuppressant Medications Tamoxifen

If you or your child is taking any of these things, you should consult with his doctor before giving Melatonin.

Also, caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol can all diminish levels of melatonin in the body while cocaine and amphetamines may increase melatonin production.

To further enhance the effectiveness of your sleep, it is advisable if you can also take cod liver oil capsules. Cod liver contains rich amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids which optimizes brain function. Omega 3 induces a pleasant sensation in the brain. By supplementing your diet with oil extracts of cod liver, you will have an easier time relaxing your body because the brain is functioning optimally. Cod liver oil capsules could also relax the heart. This promotes proper blood circulation which is important for your health. Good circulation also enables your body to get a good night’s sleep.

There is no need to worry if you are taking cod liver oil capsules and Melatonin supplements at the same time. These two types of supplements can work together to give you a healthier sleep pattern. And because they contain natural ingredients, you will never have to worry about adverse side effects. As long as you take the right dose, natural supplements will not cause any problem for you. So if you are having trouble getting quality sleep, the most convenient option for you is to take a supplement with Melatonin and Valerian. And to enhance the quality of your sleep, you may also take cod liver oil supplement.

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