Melatonin helps sleep in the elderly | Health, Medicine and Fitness
Physician Information Staff
WEDNESDAY, May 25, 2022 (HealthDay News) — High-dose melatonin may be an effective sleep aid for older adults, according to a study published online April 18 in the Pineal Research Journal.
Jeanne F. Duffy, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues randomly assigned 24 healthy older adults (over the age of 55) to receive two weeks of placebo and two weeks of low (0.3 mg) or high dose (5.0 mg) melatonin 30 minutes before lights out. Polysomnography was used to record programmed sleep at all circadian phases.
The researchers found that although 0.3 mg of melatonin tended to increase overall sleep efficiency, this finding was due to its effects on biological daytime sleep. There were significant increases in sleep efficiency with 5 mg melatonin during biological day and night, primarily by increasing the duration of stage 2 non-rapid eye movement sleep and slightly shortening awakenings.
“It’s exciting to see evidence that melatonin can impact nighttime sleep in older adults, because we know so many older people have trouble sleeping,” Duffy said in a statement. “But before taking any dietary supplement, it’s important that people speak to their primary care physician and be referred to a sleep specialist to rule out an undiagnosed sleep disorder.”
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Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical and medical device companies.