Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: melatonin | sleep | aid | safety

Is Melatonin a Safe Sleep Aid?

Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 05:38 PM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

Question: Is melatonin safe as a sleep aid and does it have any long-term dangers?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
 
Melatonin is secreted by our pineal glands and plays a role in sleep regulation and adjustment of your intrinsic time clock. Oral melatonin is largely destroyed in our gastrointestinal tract before absorption.
 
Its use has been shown to be most effective in dealing with jet lag prevention, but as a general sleep aid it has been disappointing. There are, however, melatonin agonist medications (such as Rozerem), available by prescription, that produce a melatonin-like effect, and do induce sleep in some people at recommended doses.
 
There are no significant long term dangers that we know of. 

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