FROM OUR EXPERTS
A friend of mine recently wrote me the following letter asking for more information on melatonin. I dedicate this article to her:M.H. wrote: "My husband had trouble sleeping the last few months of his life, and the doc prescribed 1mg of melatonin. He didn't want to put Jim on any more drugs. He was already taking insulin for diabetes, and something for blood pressure, and others I've forgotten for now. After taking the melatonin he was asleep and comfortable for the night. After he died I was having trouble sleeping (something I'd never experienced before). I decided to try the melatonin I had left. It worked very well, and now I take it only once in a while when I can't sleep." MELATONINMelatonin - the wonder drug of the decade. Or is it? In the first place, melatonin isn't a drug. It's a hormone produced by a pea-sized gland nestled between the two hemispheres of the brain. This gland is called the pineal gland. The scientifi...
As any caregiver will know, Alzheimer's disease is associated with enormous changes in the mood, behavior, sleep patterns and activities of daily living in the person affected. Some of these symptoms have been associated with disturbances in the circadian rhythm - the term used to describe the 24 hour cycle of our biological processes. Evidence suggests that this inbuilt timing system is very sensitive to both light levels and the hormone melatonin.
A study out this month highlighting the importance of bright lighting to improve the circadian rhythm of elderly people, showed a modest improvement in their symptoms of dementia. The research, by Rixt F. Riemersma-van de Lek, M.D., and colleagues at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science in Amsterdam, also found that the additional use of melatonin resulted in improved sleep.
Twelve elderly group care facilities were studied as to the effects of supplementary lighting and/or melatonin over 3 years. Residents with ...
Melatonin is a sleep hormone, produced by the pineal gland seated deep inside the brain,
as well as other parts of the body, such as the gastrointestinal tract. For
years, melatonin has been recognized as a regulator of circadian rhythms,
the natural cycle of sleep and wakefulness that has allowed humans to inhabit
the earth in phase with the cycles of night and day.
of the retina (in the back of the eye) to light suppresses release of melatonin
into the blood; darkness triggers release. Nighttime levels of melatonin surge
10-fold higher compared to that of daytime levels. In the modern world,
authorities have proposed that lack of melatonin may be a by-product of
interior lighting that extends into the evening hours. Evidence has emerged
suggesting that lack of melatonin may contribute to increased potential for
of this fascinating hormone has shown potential benefit through a variety of
favorable effects on cardiovascular paramet...
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