Weekly we will be posting summaries from news articles on Melatonin
18 Jan. 2017- Is Melatonin More Than Just a Sleep Supplement?-By Julie Chen, M.D.- Huff Post News
Melatonin, the hormone known for its ability to regulate your sleep and wake cycle, has long been the focus of sleep studies in the medical world. Though its natural secretion comes from the pineal gland in the brain, melatonin is also taken as an oral supplement to treat sleep disorders like insomnia or help lessen jet lag symptoms.
Recent oncological research is now suggesting a correlation between melatonin and cancer: Studies have suggested it could have a potential ability to lessen the negative effects of cancer chemotherapy, enhance its therapeutic effect and reduce its toxicity.
17 Apr. 2017- Researchers Review Melatonin’s Therapeutic Potential for Mitochondrial Dysfunction-related Diseases -Alice Melao- Mitochondrial News
Researchers from the Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, in Iran presented the most recent findings of the clinical effects of the hormone melatonin on the development of diseases related to mitochondrial dysfunction, such as diabetes, cancer, gastrointestinal diseases, and conditions related to brain function.
The review study, “Melatonin and human mitochondrial diseases,” was published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences.
The authors of the study highlight the importance of melatonin as a possible therapeutic asset for diseases in which oxidative stress plays a role, such as:
Attention‑deficit hyperactivity disorder
Melatonin has been shown to have therapeutic proprieties against a wide variety of pathological conditions. As it is normally produced by our body and it can be purified from plants, it can be an inexpensive and safe medication.
More clinical studies are still needed to explore and confirm melatonin’s effectiveness as a therapeutic asset for mitochondrial dysfuntion-related diseases
3 Apr. 2017- 5 expert tips to stay healthy while traveling- Genevieve Shaw Brown- ABC News Health
ABC News asked physical therapist Dr. Karen Joubert to weigh in with her top tips. She’s worked with everyone from Diddy to Jennifer Aniston to Cher.
“Everyone wants to know the golden secret to keeping their bodies in check while traveling,” she said. “Traveling can take a toll on us physically, mentally and emotionally. Anxiety, fear, being away from home in unfamiliar environments, and jet lag can have a negative impact on our bodies. Traveling messes with our bodies’ circadian rhythm as it tries to adjust to the new morning-evening cycles when we cross time zones.”
- Get enough sleep
- Do not quit exercising
- Eat healthy and have small snacks
- No heavy lifting
15 Nov. 2016 – Beyond early bird or night owl: Expert says there are 4 types of sleepers- Christina Capatides CBS News
This article is from late last year. Many people often categorize themselves as either a night owl or early bird. This can actually cause sleep problems. “I used to think there were only early bird and night owl. And then I had a patient come in, who was a classic insomniac… And when my methods for working with her weren’t working well, I dug into the literature to understand what was going on. And I discovered that there were actually four different chronotypes: the early one, which I’m calling the lion; the middle, which is a bear; the late evening people, which are wolves; and then there are the insomniacs, which are dolphins.”
Brues new study took into account sleep drive. He stated that this is,
“ predetermined by the PER3 gene and the buildup of a naturally-occurring chemical called adenosine in the body.”
“Taking sleep drive into account, Breus worked with the global grooming brand Braun to make recommendations for how people can better customize their morning routines, based on their sleep chronotype. They call this approach Morning by Design, and it takes into account things like lifestyle, diet and exercise habits.”
26 Mar. 2016 Can Apple’s new Night Shift setting help you sleep?- Heather Kelly, CNN
The new Apple “Night Shift” setting is in response to a number of recent studies that found that looking at back-lit displays can make it harder to fall asleep. They’ve also shown that excessive screen time before bed can lead to sleep deprivation, which has been linked to things like obesity and heart disease.
Researchers haven’t yet studied the impact of these types of settings. Dr. Mariana Figueiro, a researcher at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who studies the impact of screens on sleep, says she has done some calculations on similar apps.
“The idea is good, but it is not just about color. The intensity matters too, so color needs to be shifted and intensity needs to dropped,” said Figueiro. “But these options are better than nothing.”
26 March. 2017 – More than just a sleep hormone – Star 2 Health Recent studies have discovered that melatonin supplements can help with more than just sleep. The study showed that taking this sleep hormone supplement can help with depression, multiple sclerosis, cancer and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This is an interesting discovery. To read more of this great news click this link Star2.com
23 Feb. 2017- Why checking Facebook might actually be driving you insane – Fox News Health
“Today, almost all American adults own at least one electronic device, with many being constantly connected to them,” Dr. Lynn Bufka, the APA’s associate executive director for practice research and policy, said in a news release. “What these individuals don’t consider is that while technology helps us in many ways, being constantly connected can have a negative impact on both their physical and mental health.”
The APA offers the following tips for managing technology healthily:
1. Keep your phone out of the driver’s seat to prevent distracted driving …
2. … and out of your bed, as studies suggest smartphone use can impair production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep
3. Shut off your notifications, as at least one study suggests they can contribute to inattention and hyperactivity
4. Limit your social media use, as some studies have linked the platforms with increased feelings of depression and sadness
5. Let others know of your goals, so friends and family members won’t protest if their messages do not get answered immediately
6. Stay in the moment, as technology, even when not in use, can lead people to feelings of disconnect, according to the APA’s current survey
7. Prioritize relaxation by setting aside time to detox from your tech
2 Feb. 2017- Jet lag dampens Major League Baseball players’ performance- Fox Health
“Researchers analyzed more than 46,000 Major League Baseball games played over the course of 20 years – from 1992 until 2011 – and saw the home-field advantage disappear when the home team traveled two time zones east and the away team visited from the same time zone.
“We all know intuitively from experience what it means to be jet-lagged,” said senior researcher Dr. Ravi Allada, a circadian rhythms expert and neurobiology professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. “We all know it will impact our own performance,” he said in a phone interview. “I think we showed very specifically what it is.”
When games are two time zones or more away, coaches should consider having their starting pitchers fly a day or two before games to adjust their clocks to the local environment.
The same advice could apply to athletes on other sports teams as well as to travelers in other professions, including military pilots, Allada said. A Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency grant partly funded the study.”
22 Oct. 2016 – The right way to take melatonin supplements, according to a sleep doc – Kathleen Mulpeter Fox News Health
The author reached out to Chris Winter, MD, medical director of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center and author of the upcoming book The Sleep Solution, to get his take. The good news, he says, is you won’t become physically addicted to melatonin supplements—at least not in the way you can get addicted to prescription sleeping pills, for example. But that doesn’t mean you should make a nightly habit out of taking them.
“You should give yourself a time limit, such as for four or five days,” he says, adding that they should be taken for a very specific reason, such as during an unusual bout of insomnia or when you’re traveling across time zones. “When that thing has run its course, you should stop.”
The reason for this, Dr. Winter explains, has to do with the way our body’s internal clock functions. When the sun sets and it gets dark outside, this alerts the brain’s pineal gland that it’s almost time to go to sleep. The pineal gland, in turn, begins to secrete melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. The next morning, melatonin levels drop, signaling to your body that it’s time to wake up.
25 Jul. 2013 Full moon can mess with your sleep, new study finds- Meghan Holohan- NBC News Health
Though this news article is a little older though the research results are still interesting. Cajochen, a professor and director of the Centre for Chronobiology at the University of Basel in Switzerland studied an old experiment from 2000 to 2003 that examined circadian rhythms and the sleep- wake cycle. The experiment included 17 healthy young volunteers between age 20 and 31 and 16 healthy older subjects between the ages 57 to 74.
At the time, the study had nothing to do with lunar cycles and sleep.
Though as Cajochen looked at this study again, he found that people experienced better sleep during the new moon and worse sleep during a full moon. During the full moon, it takes an average of five minutes longer to fall asleep and people dozed for 20 minutes less. And, their melatonin levels dropped. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle by causing drowsiness and a dip in body temperature. “I was also surprised to see, that besides sleep, also evening melatonin levels were affected by lunar phase,” he says. While Cajochen remains unsure about why people don’t sleep as well during the full moon, he speculates that sleep worsens because they see more light, meaning they don’t sleep as deeply, because light keeps us awake.
Cajochen admits there’s little we can do do to combat poor sleep during a full moon if excess daylight is the culprit. But, these findings will help people who believe the full moon leads to their restless nights.
16 Feb. 2017 Melatonin Content Found to Vary Widely from Label Claims MPR News
A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine indicates that the amount of melatonin listed on a dietary supplement label may not always match up to what’s actually inside the bottle.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps regulate the daily cycle of sleep and wakefulness. It is available as a dietary supplement to help treat and prevent sleep-related disorders such as insomnia or jet lag. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics of the National Institutes of Health show that the use of melatonin supplements by adults in the U.S. more than doubled from 0.6% in 2007 to 1.3% in 2012, with an estimated 3.065 million adults reporting that they had taken melatonin during the past 30 days.
To avoid the wrong amount of mg of melatonin supplement speak with a physician or pharmacist to get the exact dose you need.
10 Feb. 2017 Can’t Sleep? Study Says You Should Try Camping for a Few Nights Fox News Magazine
Melatonin levels in the body regulate the body’s sleep schedule, increasing when it’s time for bed and falling when it’s time to wake up. But NPR reports most people’s melatonin levels don’t fall until a few hours after they wake up because our modern environment has thrown the body’s natural circadian rhythm all out of wack. This creates a kind of minor jet-lag every morning. The problem is a combination of too little natural light during the day and too much artificial light at night.
A simple fix? Get back to nature. Researchers sent groups of subjects into the Colorado wilderness to do a little camping without artificial lights of any kind, the BBC reports. According to a press release, just two days of camping in the summer caused melatonin levels to rise 1.4 hours earlier. A week of camping in the winter caused them to rise a whopping 2.6 hours earlier.
Campers were going to bed earlier and sleeping more to fit with nature’s — and the body’s — natural rhythm.
15 Jul. 2016 – What’s the Best Time to Sleep? You Asked- Markham Heid -Time Health
What’s the best time to go to bed? Dr. Matt Walker, head of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, says your sleep quality does change as the night wears on. “The time of night when you sleep makes a significant difference in terms of the structure and quality of your sleep,” he explains. Your slumber is composed of a series of 90-minute cycles during which your brain moves from deep, non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep to REM sleep. “That 90-minute cycle is fairly stable throughout the night,” Walker explains. “But the ratio of non-REM to REM sleep changes.”
He says that non-REM sleep tends to dominate your slumber cycles in the early part of the night. But as the clock creeps toward daybreak, REM sleep muscles in. That’s significant, because some research has suggested that non-REM sleep is deeper and more restorative than lighter, dream-infused REM sleep—though Walker says both offer important benefits.
What does this have to do with the perfect bedtime? The shift from non-REM to REM sleep happens at certain times of the night regardless of when you go to bed, Walker says. So if you hit the sack very late—at, say, 3 AM—your sleep will tilt toward lighter, REM-heavy sleep. And that reduction in deep, restorative sleep may leave you groggy and blunt-minded the next day.
7 Feb. 2017 – Can’t sleep? A good night’s sleep best for well-being during waking hours- Fox 61
“In a survey of over 4,000 people, 20 percent of people used sleeping pills within the past year and 20 percent of them used it daily for over a year. These drugs can be effective for short-term use, up to 14 days, but not for long-term use. Over the counter sleep aids contain an antihistamine which can make people sleepy and many contain a pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. When used for the short-term, they are very safe products. “
“ Don’t wait 14 days, starting on day one you should improve your sleep hygiene. No TV, computer, or smartphone use an hour before bedtime; use the sleep mode on your smartphone in the later evening so you have less exposure to the blue light spectrum; making your room very dark while you sleep; going to sleep when you feel tired and not pushing it an extra 30 minutes; and resolving underlying issues such as pain or life stressors wherever possible. If you cannot do it yourself, there are sleep specialists that can work on cognitive behavioral techniques that can help so if you are one of the long-term sufferers of insomnia, ask your doctor if this could be right for you.”
2 Feb. 2017 – Melatonin: Just for Sleep? Think Again…Here Comes Your Heartburn’s Worst Enemy – Huffington Post
“For those of you with heartburn, I’m sure you’ve been told by doctors that heartburn can be worse at night because you’re lying down. Imagine if the supplement you use for sleep can also help with heartburn. In a study published in 2010 by Kandil et. al., melatonin was seen to help with heartburn. 36 patients were divided into 4 groups, the control group, melatonin alone for therapy, omeprazole plus melatonin and omeprazole alone for 4 and 8 weeks. Each group consisted of 9 patients and each patient was subjected to medical history, physical exam, lab work, endoscopic evaluation, esophageal motility study, pH measurement, basal acid output measurement and serum gastrin level. The results showed that melatonin helped with heartburn better than the control group but omeprazole got better results. Essentially, the three therapy groups all showed improvement of heartburn compared to the group that received no therapy. if you are not using heartburn medication and don’t want to, you could use melatonin to help with some of your symptoms.”
11 Jan. 2017 –You Asked: What’s the Best Sleeping Pill? – Markam Heid – Time Health
“Pills are a bandage, not a cure, says Dr. Phyllis Zee, professor of neurology and sleep medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. ‘It’s like taking Tylenol every day for a fever without ever figuring out what’s causing the fever,’ Zee says. Depression, too little exercise, runaway stress and a hundred other major or minor health issues could be causing or contributing to your sleeping woes. When you attack your problem with pills, you do nothing to resolve those underlying problems, she explains.”
“Melatonin is a mellower option. But while many people think of the hormone as natural and “something my body makes anyway,” it’s still something that should only be used for temporary relief, says Dr. Andrew Weil, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. “Short-term use of melatonin has a good safety profile in adults,” Weil says. But the side effects of long-term or heavy usage aren’t well known.”
9 Dec. 2015 “College football: Tennessee experiments with high-tech sleep monitors”
Salt Lake Tribune
“Knoxville, Tenn. • About an hour before a Tennessee football player’s scheduled bedtime, he gets a reminder via an app on his phone or a text message. That’s when he puts on orange glasses that block out the glow of smartphones or computer screens, making it easier to fall asleep. All the players have been given sleeping masks as well. Some have sensors above their mattresses and under their sheets to monitor heart rate, movement and respiration rate to detect their quality and quantity of sleep. The idea is that if they sleep better each night, they’ll work better the following day.”
By studying sleep cycles and performance researchers can discover how quality of sleep can affect performance in school and everyday life.
11 Feb 2015 A Third of Americans Use Alternative Medicine CNN
About a third of Americans seek help for their health in a place that is outside their doctor’s office. That’s according to two new studies from the National Institutes of Health. The adult use of melatonin more than doubled from 2007 to 2012. For children it was the second-most used natural product. The body naturally creates melatonin to help regulate the sleep cycle. People who have trouble falling asleep use it, as do people who struggle with jet lag. Some people also report using it to fight cancer. The research is still underway, but some studies have shown melatonin can help children who have trouble falling asleep. It may also help older people, which is good news, because sleep problems do seem to grow with age.
31 Oct. 2016 “Study: Cellphone Screens Are Keeping Kids Awake” Susan Scutti CNN
“These days, teachers often face classrooms filled with yawning students who stayed up late snapping selfies or playing online games. For children and teens, using cellphones, tablets and computers at night is associated with losing sleep time and sleep quality, new research finds. Even children who don’t use their phones or the other technologies littering their bedrooms at night are losing shut-eye and becoming prone to daylight sleepiness, the analysis published today in JAMA Pediatrics finds. The analysis found “a consistent pattern of effect across a wide range of countries and settings,” said Dr. Ben Carter, lead author and a senior lecturer in biostatistics at King’s College London.”
“Sleep is vital for children,” said Dr. Sujay Kansagra, director of the pediatric neurology sleep medicine program at Duke University Medical Center, who was not involved in the new analysis. “We know that sleep plays a crucial role in brain development, memory, self-regulation, attention, immune function, cardiovascular health and much more.”
15 Aug. 2016 “Is Your Gut Health Affecting Your Sleep?” Julie Revelant FoxNews.com
If you suffer from insomnia, you may have chalked it up to a late-night meal, stress or too much screen time. But new research shows that a healthy gut is not only important for immunity and overall health, but it could also be the secret to a better night’s sleep.
Although the connection between gut health and sleep is always evolving, experts say there are things you can do to keep your digestion healthy and improve your sleep.
Three of these include the following
- Be consistent
- Get your vitamins
- Take probiotics and prebiotics
8 Aug. 2016 “This Red Spectrum Light May Help You Sleep Better” Lindsay Murray – Fox News Health
You’ve heard that late-night exposure to blue light, like the glow from your tech devices, can wreck your sleep. (Shed a tear for all those hours spent scrolling through Instagram under the covers.) But on the flip side, red light may help you catch your z’s more easily, according to sleep psychologist Michael Breus, PhD, author of the new book The Power of When. “The theory is that red light aids melatonin production,” he explains—the hormone that naturally makes you feel drowsier.
But while you’re adding red spectrum lights to your lamps, there’s one place in the bedroom where you probably don’t want to redecorate in shades of red: your sheets. Bedbugs gravitate toward the color, per a recent study in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
The American Medical Association has just adopted an official policy statement about street lighting: cool it and dim it. The statement comes in response to the rise of new LED street lighting sweeping the country.
Street lighting and human health
The AMA has made three recommendations in its new policy statement:
- First, the AMA supports a “proper conversion to community based Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting, which reduces energy consumption and decreases the use of fossil fuels.”
- Second, the AMA “encourage[s] minimizing and controlling blue-rich environmental lighting by using the lowest emission of blue light possible to reduce glare.”
- Third, the AMA “encourage[s] the use of 3000K or lower lighting for outdoor installations such as roadways. All LED lighting should be properly shielded to minimize glare and detrimental human and environmental effects, and consideration should be given to utilize the ability of LED lighting to be dimmed for off-peak time periods.”
8 Apr. 2016 “Low-Risk Treatment For Kids Suffering From Eczema”, CBS Pittsburgh –
Children suffering from eczema have often had trouble sleeping. Until recently it was thought they couldn’t sleep because they itched. A recent study seems to link melatonin production to both eczema and sleep.
“Researchers noticed levels of the sleep hormone melatonin were low in kids with eczema and sleep problems… The children [in the study] getting melatonin not only fell asleep 21 minutes faster, but their eczema improved. ‘Melatonin is safe to use, even in young children. Even in this study children as young as one year of age were given the melatonin,’ Horvath said.”
25 Sep. 2015 “Using Melatonin to Help Children Fall Asleep”, Huffington Post –
Melatonin supplements can definitely help with children’s sleep problems, but melatonin shouldn’t be used just to make things easy on the parents, or for long periods of time without a doctor’s recommendation. Melatonin should only be given to children who need help sleeping.
“Supplemental melatonin can help children with sleep dysfunction (those who lie awake for hours at bedtime) fall asleep… You want to give melatonin prior to bedtime to help with increasing sleepiness. Most physicians recommend giving about 1-2 hours prior to ideal bedtime when helping little children fall asleep. However, it does depend why and how you plan to use melatonin.”
Oct 22, 2016 – The Right Way To Take Melatonin Supplements, According to a Sleep Doc Kathleen Mulpeter – Fox News,
Chris Winter, MD, medical director of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center and author of the upcoming book The Sleep Solution said the following about Melatonin Supplements and the correct way to take them.
“You should give yourself a time limit, such as for four or five days,” he says, adding that they should be taken for a very specific reason, such as during an unusual bout of insomnia or when you’re traveling across time zones. “When that thing has run its course, you should stop.”
(Photo source- Dr.Winters Twitter profile)
30 Aug. 2016 “Why Psychologists Agree The School Day Should Start Later”, Palmer Patch – Many of us find it difficult to get up in the morning, but it’s especially hard for teens trying to return to the school routine. Teens have a change in their circadian rhythm and seem to favor later bedtimes and later risings.
Two of the psychologists in the article point “to changes in the level of melatonin and other hormonal shifts that alter teens’ natural sleep-wake cycle.”
Small children usually produce enough melatonin and normally go to bed early and also rise early, but this changes as children mature. This is one reason experts are advocating school schedules change to fit this melatonin shift in older children and teens.
28 Aug. 2016 “Back-to-school smarts: Tips, tricks and tools for savvy students”, Vancouver Sun – Experts agree that sleep is important to learning, and too little sleep can affect children’s emotional and physical health.
According to the article “…five-year-olds need 10-13 hours a night, six- to 12-year-olds need nine to 12 hours a night, 13- to 18-year-olds need eight to 10 hours a night and adults need at least eight hours of shut-eye…”
Reducing screen time before bed can increase melatonin production in children and adults and help with natural sleep. Melatonin production is curtailed when children use phones and tablets close to bedtime. To increase melatonin production and aid sleep in children and teens, put the devices away a couple hours before bedtime.
24 Aug. 2016 “Lubbock sleep expert gives back-to-school bedtime tips”,KCBD Lubbock – Behavior issues can be caused by lack of sleep. Children need about 11 hours of sleep per night when in elementary school. Teens should get 9-10 hours. There are many relaxing techniques and habits that can help, like bathing an hour prior to bedtime and reading paper books.
“A routine is very important to children… Another method for sleepless kids is taking melatonin. Rose recommends one to three milligrams for elementary students. ‘You give the melatonin about an hour before bedtime, the bedtime that you want them to have,… and that will help adjust them to their daily schedule.’”
7 Sep. 2016 “5 Science-Backed Ways to Improve Your Sleep Cycle (and Decrease Depression), Parent.co – “It’s no secret that kids who don’t sleep well at night don’t perform well during the day, but a recent article in Science Daily reported that ‘children who experience inadequate or disrupted sleep are more likely to develop depression and anxiety disorders later in life.’”
Sometimes children aren’t producing enough melatonin to sleep well and taking melatonin supplements is one of the ways that can help a child adjust their sleep habits. Melatonin taken in small doses for short periods of time is safe for children.
2 Sep. 2016 “A new treatment can delay effects of Neimann-Pick disease in children”, WNDU Indiana – Neimann-Pick Type “C”… is often referred to as childhood Alzheimer’s because children who develop as normal, healthy babies and toddlers begin showing signs of physical and cognitive decline by the first grade.”
These children often have trouble sleeping, likely because their melatonin production is low. Taking melatonin supplements can help the children sleep.
31 Aug. 2016 “Let There (Not) Be Light! How Technology Can Help You Get Better Sleep”, Fox News – Most of us, especially teens and older children, are very attached to our phones, tablets, and computers. These all emit blue light, which is similar to the sun and staring at them in the evening gives the wrong message to our brains and slows melatonin production.
“ Blue light suppresses our body’s secretion of melatonin, a hormone that tells us it’s time to get sleepy. This artificially alters our circadian rhythm and impacts our mood, behavior, sleep patterns, even our bodily functions…”
Amber light, or warm light doesn’t suppress melatonin. It’s a good idea to put away the phone and tablet in the evening so your natural melatonin production can kick in. If that still doesn’t work, taking melatonin supplements can help.