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Melatonin - The body's Sleep Hormone "A fundemental molecule to life" Dr. Heather Tick

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone. In humans, melatonin is produced in several tissues, including the brain (pineal gland), retina, and GI tract. In the brain, melatonin synthesis is stimulated by darkness. Once synthesized, it enters the blood stream and acts as an endocrine hormone involved in sleep regulation and a number of other cyclical physiological functions. Daily biological rhythms thought to be influenced by melatonin include activity/sleep, core body temperature, immune function, antioxidant defenses, blood pressure, feeding, and glucose regulation.

Links have been made between melatonin deficiency and thiroid malfunction, high blood pressure, heart rate varability and problems in brain function

Please note that melatonin supplements are not sleeping pills. Oral melatonin supplements support the body’s natural circadian rhythms and help promote healthy sleep. When taken an hour before bedtime, melatonin supports the natural rise in melatonin that typically occurs before sleep.

A melatonin supplement can be good for adults interested in improving the quality of their sleep, as well as those who appreciate the link between quality sleep and overall health. Additionally, because melatonin production and sleep quality generally decline with age, melatonin supplements tend to be very popular with individuals over the age of 50.

Melatonin may not be compatible with certain medications or medical conditions. Please consult your physician before a melatonin suplement, if you are pregnant, nursing, taking a prescription drug, or have a medical condition. Melatonin is not appropriate for children

*Some key references include:

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Claustrat B, Brun J, David M, Sassolas G, Chazot G. Melatonin and jet lag: confirmatory result using a simplified protocol. Biol Psychiatry 1992;32: 705-11.
Edwards BJ, Atkinson G, Waterhouse J, Reilly T, Godfrey R, Budgett R. Use of melatonin in recovery from jet-lag following an eastward flight across 10 time-zones. Ergonomics 2000;43: 1501-3.
Herxheimer A, Petrie KJ. Melatonin for preventing and treating jet lag. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2002;2: CD001520.
Petrie K, Conaglen JV, Thompson L, Chamberlain K. Effect of melatonin on jet lag after long haul flights. BMJ 1989;298: 705-7.
Petrie K, Dawson AG, Thompson L, Brook R. A double-blind trial of melatonin as a treatment for jet lag in international cabin crew. Biol Psychiatry 1993;33: 526-30.
Suhner A, Schlagenhauf P, Hofer I, Johnson R, Tschopp A, Steffen R. Effectiveness and tolerability of melatonin and zolpidem for the alleviation of jet lag. Aviation Space Environmental Med 2001;72: 638-46.
Suhner A, Schlagenhauf P, Johnson R, Tschopp A, Steffen R. Comparative study to determine the optimal melatonin dosage form for the alleviation of jet lag. Chronobiol 1998;15: 655-6.