Science Questions

Is melatonin any use for insomnia?

Sun, 6th Jul 2008

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Body Clocks and Circadian Rhythms

Question

Jane asked:

Is melatonin any use for insomnia?

Answer

We asked Professor Russell Foster:

Melatonin is a hormone produce in the pineal gland. Itís highly regulated by light. Itís produced at night. Thereís two bits of evidence to suggest it might be useful. 1, if you take melatonin about 70% of people will fall asleep; 2, it may help you shift your body clock. The evidence emerging is that yes, it may help you sleep.

Chris -  Is it harmful?

Russell - We donít have any evidence that itís harmful. I certainly wouldnít recommend using it without discussing with your GP first.

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