Is melatonin an effective insomnia cure?

by Martin Reed on 29 July 2010 in insomnia cures

There's a lot of talk about melatonin as an insomnia remedy - but just how effective is it? We want to cover this issue today, with help from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Here are the facts:

  • Up to 1mg of melatonin may help certain people with insomnia, but the effects are mild.
  • Melatonin may help you fall asleep around 7 minutes faster than normal.
  • Melatonin wears off quickly, so it won't help you stay asleep.
  • Strong evidence suggests that melatonin can reduce symptoms of jet lag - but there is no recommended dose.
  • If you suffer from shift worker disorder, melatonin is most effective when taken early in the day before going to bed.
  • If you suffer from delayed sleep phase disorder (you go to bed and wake up later than 'most people'), melatonin is most effective when taken in the afternoon or evening.
  • Melatonin supplements appear to be safe, but the long term effects of melatonin are unknown.

Here's what we take away from all those facts:

Melatonin may help you fall asleep a little faster than you otherwise would - but it won't help you stay asleep. The supplement can be effective when treating temporary sleep disruption such as jet lag but its effectiveness as an insomnia cure is mild at best.

What do you think? Please share your experience with melatonin in the comments section below. Let's make this page a really valuable resource for all insomniacs.

Improve your sleep without sleeping pills with my free sleep training. As always, there's more information and advice in our insomnia support group

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