What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Melatonin Usage

Written by FoundHealth.


Effect of Melatonin on Insomnia

Melatonin supplements may help insomnia sufferers because melatonin decreases sleep-onset latency or the length of time that it takes to fall asleep.

Your melatonin level normally increases at...

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Effect of Melatonin on Generalized Anxiety Disorder

As anxiety often prevents an individual from being able to rest and/or fall or stay asleep, melatonin is sometimes used as a treatment to help a person sleep.

Read more about Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Melatonin.

Effect of Melatonin on Alzheimer's Disease

The combination of melatonin and light therapy (bright light exposure during daylight hours) has shown to improve both mood and quality of sleep, which can be significant part of[ Alzheimer's...

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Effect of Melatonin on Panic Disorder

Since those with anxiety disorders like panic disorder sometimes have a hard time calming down enough to sleep, melatonin has been tried as a treatment for reducing anxiety.

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Effect of Melatonin on Melanoma

There is a wide range of evidence that high doses of melatonin can help prevent melanoma, and also can help kill melanoma tumors and help stop them from spreading. See below for a...

Read more about Melanoma and Melatonin.

Therapeutic Uses

Reasonably good evidence tells us that melatonin can help people with jet lag adjust to a new schedule. 1 Although it probably works in part by resetting the biological clock, it also appears to decrease or block wakefulness-promoting circuits in the nervous system 2 and may have other direct sedative effects. Based on this, melatonin has been tried for insomnia of various types, but results have been inconsistent 3 .

Three small double-blind studies suggest that use of melatonin might reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome . 4 It has been suggested that melatonin might work through effects on the nervous system in the digestive tract.

Four double-blind studies performed by Saudi researchers reported that melatonin was useful for reducing anxiety prior to surgery, presumably due to its sedative effects. 5 However, other researchers have been unable to confirm these results. 6 Three, small, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies found evidence that melatonin may slightly reduce nighttime blood pressure . 7 Two preliminary double-blind trials hint that use of melatonin at a dose of 10 mg/day may reduce symptoms of tardive dyskinesia . 8 A preliminary double-blind study suggests that melatonin may improve quality of life in children with epilepsy, perhaps by improving sleep and reducing medication side effects. 9 One surprising double-blind study suggests that topical application of melatonin may increase hair growth in women with thinning hair, for reasons that are entirely unclear. 10 Oral melatonin has shown some potential for treating seasonal affective disorder , cluster headaches , 11 and irritable bowel syndrome .

Highly preliminary studies, including unblinded controlled trials, suggest that melatonin may enhance the effectiveness of standard therapy for breast cancer, prostate cancer, brain glioblastomas, non-small-cell lung cancer, and other forms of cancer. 12 (For information on why such studies are unreliable, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies? ) Melatonin has also shown some promise in animal studies for reducing side effects (specifically, cardiac toxicity) of the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin ; however, the only human trials supporting this use fall considerably beneath modern scientific standards. 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Weak evidence supports a role for melatonin in reducing nicotine withdrawal symptoms. 20 On the basis of one uncontrolled trial, melatonin has been promoted as a treatment for fibromyalgia . 21 Based on theoretical reasoning and scant evidence, it has been suggested that melatonin can boost the immune system , prevent heart disease , and fight aging in general. 22 23 24 Some evidence suggests that melatonin is nothelpful for menopausal symptoms 25 or chronic fatigue syndrome . 26


  1. Herxheimer A, Petrie KJ. Melatonin for preventing and treating jet lag. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2001;CD001520.
  2. Wyatt JK, Dijk DJ, Ritz-de Cecco A, Ronda JM, Czeisler CA. Sleep-facilitating effect of exogenous melatonin in healthy young men and women is circadian-phase dependent. Sleep. 29(5):609-18.
  3. Buscemi N, Vandermeer B, Hooton N, Pandya R, Tjosvold L, Hartling L, Baker G, Klassen TP, Vohra S. The efficacy and safety of exogenous melatonin for primary sleep disorders. A meta-analysis. J Gen Intern Med. 20(12):1151-8.
  4. Song GH, Leng PH, Gwee KA, Moochhala SM, Ho KY. Melatonin improves abdominal pain in irritable bowel syndrome patients who have sleep disturbances: a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study. Gut. 54(10):1402-7.
  5. Naguib M, Samarkandi AH. Premedication with melatonin: a double-blind, placebo-controlled comparison with midazolam. Br J Anaesth. 82(6):875-80.
  6. Sury MR, Fairweather K. The effect of melatonin on sedation of children undergoing magnetic resonance imaging. Br J Anaesth. 97(2):220-5.
  7. Scheer FA, Van Montfrans GA, van Someren EJ, Mairuhu G, Buijs RM. Daily nighttime melatonin reduces blood pressure in male patients with essential hypertension. Hypertension. 43(2):192-7.
  8. Shamir E, Barak Y, Shalman I, Laudon M, Zisapel N, Tarrasch R, Elizur A, Weizman R. Melatonin treatment for tardive dyskinesia: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 58(11):1049-52.
  9. Gupta M, Aneja S, Kohli K. Add-on melatonin improves quality of life in epileptic children on valproate monotherapy: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Epilepsy Behav. 5(3):316-21.
  10. Fischer TW, Burmeister G, Schmidt HW, Elsner P. Melatonin increases anagen hair rate in women with androgenetic alopecia or diffuse alopecia: results of a pilot randomized controlled trial. Br J Dermatol. 150(2):341-5.
  11. Chazot G, Claustrat B, Brun J, Jordan D, Sassolas G, Schott B. A chronobiological study of melatonin, cortisol growth hormone and prolactin secretion in cluster headache. Cephalalgia. 4(4):213-20.
  12. Lissoni P, Meregalli S, Nosetto L, Barni S, Tancini G, Fossati V, Maestroni G. Increased survival time in brain glioblastomas by a radioneuroendocrine strategy with radiotherapy plus melatonin compared to radiotherapy alone. Oncology. 53(1):43-6.
  13. Wahab MH, Akoul ES, Abdel-Aziz AA. Modulatory effects of melatonin and vitamin E on doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity in Ehrlich ascites carcinoma-bearing mice. Tumor. 2000;86:157-162.
  14. Oz E, Ilhan MN. Effects of melatonin in reducing the toxic effects of doxorubicin. Mol Cell Biochem. 286(1-2):11-5.
  15. Oz E, Erbaş D, Sürücü HS, Düzgün E. Prevention of doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity by melatonin. Mol Cell Biochem. 282(1-2):31-7.
  16. Kim C, Kim N, Joo H, Youm JB, Park WS, Cuong DV, Park YS, Kim E, Min CK, Han J. Modulation by melatonin of the cardiotoxic and antitumor activities of adriamycin. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 46(2):200-10.
  17. Balli E, Mete UO, Tuli A, Tap O, Kaya M. Effect of melatonin on the cardiotoxicity of doxorubicin. Histol Histopathol. 19(4):1101-8.
  18. Koçak G, Erbil KM, Ozdemir I, Aydemir S, Sunar B, Tuncel M, Atalay S. The protective effect of melatonin on adriamycin-induced acute cardiac injury. Can J Cardiol. 19(5):535-41.
  19. Reiter RJ, Tan DX, Sainz RM, Mayo JC, Lopez-Burillo S. Melatonin: reducing the toxicity and increasing the efficacy of drugs. J Pharm Pharmacol. 54(10):1299-321.
  20. Zhdanova IV, Piotrovskaya VR. Melatonin treatment attenuates symptoms of acute nicotine withdrawal in humans. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 67(1):131-5.
  21. Citera G, Arias MA, Maldonado-Cocco JA, Lázaro MA, Rosemffet MG, Brusco LI, Scheines EJ, Cardinalli DP. The effect of melatonin in patients with fibromyalgia: a pilot study. Clin Rheumatol. 19(1):9-13.
  22. Rasmussen DD, Boldt BM, Wilkinson CW, Yellon SM, Matsumoto AM. Daily melatonin administration at middle age suppresses male rat visceral fat, plasma leptin, and plasma insulin to youthful levels. Endocrinology. 140(2):1009-12.
  23. Cagnacci A. Melatonin in relation to physiology in adult humans. J Pineal Res. 21(4):200-13.
  24. Nelson RJ, Demas GE. Role of melatonin in mediating seasonal energetic and immunologic adaptations. Brain Res Bull. 44(4):423-30.
  25. Secreto G, Chiechi LM, Amadori A, Miceli R, Venturelli E, Valerio T, Marubini E. Soy isoflavones and melatonin for the relief of climacteric symptoms: a multicenter, double-blind, randomized study. Maturitas. 47(1):11-20.
  26. Williams G, Waterhouse J, Mugarza J, et al. Therapy of circadian rhythm disorders in chronic fatigue syndrome: no symptomatic improvement with melatonin or phototherapy. Eur J Clin Invest. 2002;32:831-837.


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