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.
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Does Melatonin Help Sleeplessness?

Wednesday, 23 Jun 2010 11:57 AM

Question: My friend has suffered from lupus/autoimmune disorders for more than 10 years, and difficulty sleeping is adding more risk of further complications. We’ve been told melatonin is best to induce restful sleep, but are there risks since melatonin is a hormone?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:
Melatonin is not likely to provide the answer to your friend's sleep disorder. The melatonin available over the counter has little, if any, sleep benefit, though it may be helpful in temporarily regulating jet lag in selected patients.
Sleep problems associated with underlying diseases are very common, and it would be wise to consult your physician for options available to you.
Underlying sleep apnea can be deadly, and sleep problems related to medications (including caffeine and stimulants) are common. Of course your doctor can select medications appropriate to individual sleep needs, and should be your source for consultation.

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