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Report on the Safety and Effectiveness of Melatonin supplements,,

The report on the scientific evidence to date for the benefits of melatonin supplements used for disorders due to sleep schedule alterations and primary and secondary sleep disorders were reviwed.// Disorders due to sleep schedule alterations can stem from flying across time zones or working night shifts. Primary sleep disorders, which include insomnia, can be caused by factors such as stress or drinking too much caffeinated coffee. Secondary sleep disorders can also include insomnia, but patients in this category also have underlying mental disorders, such as psychoses or mood and anxiety disorders, neurological conditions such as dementia and Parkinson's disease, or chronic pulmonary disease.

In its natural form, melatonin is produced by the brain's pineal gland to control the sleep cycle. In the evening the level of the hormone in the bloodstream rises sharply, reducing alertness and inviting sleep, and in the morning it falls back, encouraging waking.

Among those problems for which melatonin supplements appear to provide little benefit are jet lag, a problem that often nags coast-to-coast travelers and those who fly through other time zones, as well as people who work night shifts. In contrast, the authors found evidence to suggest that melatonin supplements may be effective when used in the short term to treat delayed sleep phase syndrome in persons with primary sleep disorders.

In delayed sleep phase syndrome, a person's internal biological clock becomes "out of sync," making it difficult to fall asleep until very late at night and to wake up early the next morning. But melatonin supplements may decrease sleep onset latency—the time it takes to fall asleep after going to bed—in persons with primary sleep disorders such as insomnia, although the magnitude of the effect appears to be limited. Melatonin supplements do not appear to have an effect on sleep efficiency in persons with primary sleep disorders, and the effects of the hormo
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