February 26, 2007

Melatonin May be Useful in Schizophrenia as Sleep-Aid for Insomnia

Many people with schizophrenia have problems with sleep, such as insomnia. These problems can include problems falling asleep or staying asleep. For some people suffering from insomnia, either using conventional insomnia medication or increasing sleep-inducing antipsychotics, might not be desirable. On the other hand, not sleeping well can also cause problems, especially for people who are already vulnerable to the effects of lack of sleep, such as people with schizophrenia and mood disorders.

"The experience of insomnia can be stressful, and stress can worsen psychopathology in schizophrenic patients," says the team.

Although the food supplement melatonin has been considered to be fairly safe to use by people without schizophrenia, there has been little research on its safety and effectiveness in this population.

A study reported in PsychiatryMatters.MD shows that melatonin may be effective and safe for patients with schizophrenia who suffer from insomnia (at least for the short-term since the study only lasted two weeks) , without the side-effects of conventional sleep-aids. at least for several weeks, which was the length of their study.

They found that melatonin improved the quality and depth of nighttime sleep. Also, the patients were able to fall asleep faster, experienced fewer nighttime awakenings, slept longer and felt fresher when they awoke, with improved mood and daytime functioning.

Read the full article: Melatonin improves sleep in schizophrenic patients with insomnia
Source: Melatonin in Schizophrenic Outpatients With Insomnia: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study (J Clin Psychiatry 2007; 68: 237-241)

Related Reading:
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Start-up company targets schizophrenia


I've read articles that say that the doses of melatonin that are available (1mg to 3mg) are hundreds or thousands of times larger in quantity then what are bodies are used to and naturally produce.

They're nice though. I've used them. They work well.

Posted by: CorySchulz at February 26, 2007 04:53 PM

That sounds brilliant for people who need their sleep as ppl with sz definately do. I'm not too sure whether i can go out and buy it now though. Is is safe and how much and where do i get it?!

Posted by: x-G-x at February 28, 2007 03:24 AM

I know several people with neurobiological brain disorders (including schizoaffective and bipolar) who take melatonin - their doctors told them to. They were afraid at first because of warnings and previous lack of studies.

Some are helped with 1-2mg. One person with a severe circadian rhythm problem with her bipolar takes 10mg!!! I thought that was a HUGE amount - but that is what helps and is what the doctor said was OK for her to take. As with any over-the-counter medication or food supplement, always discuss potential or actual changes with your doctor.

As for where to get it, or what brands - they get it from reputable sources such as GNC, LifeExtension Foundation, and brands trusted at one person's local food co-op/heath food store that employs a licensed nutritionist, and others ... I'd ask your doctor about other brands which he/she might recommend.


Posted by: Jeanie at February 28, 2007 07:55 AM

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