_Sedatives That Don't Interfere With REM Sleep
Kim A. Neve
nevek at teleport.com
Thu Oct 12 14:47:04 EST 1995
In article <samtechDGBBIv.vH at netcom.com>, samtech at netcom.comj says...
>I've recently used melatonin to promote sleep, and to some extent to
>chronic daily tension headaches. It's currently available over the
>counter as a "dietary supplement"
>I've heard some things about it but I don't know if they're true:
>Can anyone verify the following?
>- It's a hormone that is responsible for inducing nocturnal sleep
>in normal humans.
"Responsible" is pretty strong, but it is a hormone that is certainly
involved in regulating our sleep/wake cycle.
>- It's deficiency is linked with depression.
I don't know about melatonin deficiency being linked to depression, but
there is accumulating evidence that some types of depression are due to a
mismatch between a person's melatonin cycle and their (attempted) sleep/wake
cycle. For example, if a person is not getting enough early morning light
to entrain the melatonin cycle, and this person's natural cycle tends to be
longer than 24 hours, the person may be trying to go to sleep in the evening
at a time when melatonin is still low, so the body feels awake. This can
lead to depression, although the depression may be partly due to the chronic
lack of sleep that results from this mismatch.
>I don't know whether or not it interferes with REM sleep (in what dosages).
Anecdotal evidence (i.e., several people that I know who are taking
melatonin report this) is that melatonin may produce very intense dreaming.
If anything, then, it promotes REM sleep.
The important point to remember is that melatonin taken several hours
before bedtime may promote sleep IF YOUR SLEEPLESSNESS IS DUE TO YOUR
DIURNAL RHYTHM BEING OUT OF WHACK. If your lack of sleep is due to anxiety
or depression, melatonin probably won't help you, no matter what the clerk
in the nutrition section tells you about it.
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