Is Melatonin Better Than Counting Sheep?


   Are you scheduled for too many parties during the holidays and believe you may need  melatonin to ensure better sleep? Or wondering if you should take it for a long plane flight? A report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has some points you should know about melatonin.
   Melatonin regulates the body's sleep cycle. It's synthesized from seratonin and secreted by the pineal gland. Its concentration is greatest at 2 AM. For airline travel this study shows melatonin provides more benefit if you are flying eastward and crossing more time zones.
   But how much does melatonin help sleep? Compared to a placebo, not as much as one would think.. The current study claims you sleep 12.8 minutes longer. The best dose was found to be 0.3 milligrams. No serious side-effects have been reported up to three months of use.
   Melatonin should be used with caution if you suffer from epilepsy or if you're taking a blood thinner, as drug interactions have occurred.
   This study once again shows the power of placebos. Many studies reveal that for most drugs the placebo effect varies from 30 to 50 percent! So counting sheep may be better!

Gifford-Jones