Melatonin based products like Melatrol are used to treat a range of conditions and not just sleep disorders. Some of these will surprise you, but you will also not be surprised that the benefits of melatonin are often exaggerated and claims are made for the substance which are not backed by solid scientific evidence.
In fact, some of the claims made are downright wrong and have been disproved by medical science. Then of course, there are a range of conditions for which melatonin has been tried with mixed results. This is sometimes because taking melatonin induces a placebo effect, something which to my mind at least is still poorly understood by science.
So here’s a roundup of melatonin benefits, showing up which ones do and don’t work as well as the ‘we don’t yet know’ category. I hope it’s useful to you. I have collected this material from a wide variety of reputable e-sources and done my best to ensure its integrity, but remember – always check with your doctor and do not assume everything you read on the web is true – especially in the critical and dangerous area of medication. So use this as a first guide and then get expert help.
Each of the conditions I describe here is accompanied by an image that states clearly that the claims made for melatonin in that case are either:
- red for no evidence or disproven
- green for solid medical evidence supporting the claim
- yellow which means that there is some proof but more is needed
Treating Delayed Sleep Syndrome
This one’s pretty obvious – it means that you can’t get to sleep for a long time. probably only when you are so exhausted your body has no choice. There’s solid evidence that a melatonin supplement can help with this safely and effectively.
That’s not to say that some people don’t dispute this – remember what I said about the placebo effect above – but melatonin IS found in the body and its effect on sleeplessness and the variation of the amount in the body as a function of the circadian rhythm and light-dark conditions has been measured by scientists in controlled trials.
Treating Inflammatory Conditions
The evidence for this is rather uncertain and the results of tests so far recorded are uncertain, yielding contradictory results. As such, I rather suspect, (as I usually do) that the placebo effect is playing a role. Much better controlled tests are required.
Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Not much research has been done into treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Melatonin and much more needs to be done. The results so far indicate no significant effect at all.
Treating Jet Lag with Melatonin
There is another entry on jet lag on this site. What I will say here is that several tests have shown strong indications that if you start taking a melatonin supplement the day you travel and keep taking it for a few days after, it significantly shortens the length of time it takes to get to sleep, reduces daytime fatigue and helps to restore normal sleep patterns quickly.
Treating Restless Leg Syndrome
The evidence for the efficacy for treating restless leg syndrome is inconclusive and more work is needed. Such evidence as their is suggests that it can affect the motor control symptoms that underlie this condition, but more work is needed.
Treating Child Insomnia
There is good, solid evidence that a Melatonin Supplement considerably alleviates child insomnia and adolescent insomnia. There seems to be a general consensus in this, but some medical researchers and practitioners think that more work is needed to verify the results thus far obtained.
Treating Adult and Elderly Insomnia
Again, there is good scientific evidence that this natural substance helps to reduce the time required to get to sleep and deepen sleep thereafter. This is the main market for melatonin currently, and it seems to do a very good job.
Sleeping pills are often classified as ‘downers’ and agents of depression, particularly those in the barbiturate category (which are used less and less thank god!). Mealtonin as we know is a natural substance; it has been subjected to some small scale trials for treating depression (and does not cause it as far as I know), but the results are inconclusive.
Treating Smoking Withdrawal
I found no evidence that Melatonin Pills can help with smoking withdrawal, beyond a few optimistic statements based on very small tests, always accompanied by the caveat that “more work is required”. But there is some evidence that this can help, so I’d try it – and probably get a better night’s sleep into the bargain!
Skin Damage from Sun Exposure
I was surprised that melatonin had been tested for this! Anyway, melatonin has shown thew capacity in s ome tests to reduce UV damage, but the results have not been conclusive.
Conclusions on Melatonin Benefits
I’ll be adding to the list of conditions for which melatonin has been tried as a treatment – I hope what’s here is a good start for you. In the meantime, I’ve just discovered that melatonin may be the best anti-aging substance we’ve ever discovered because of the way it deals with damaging free – radicals in the body. I’ll be doing an article on this very soon, so do please bookmark us and stop-by again soon.