Health Watch - Sleep Disorders: Melatonin

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about sleep disorders. It’s important to our health to get enough sleep, and when we have trouble sleeping, it’s tempting to reach for something to help us. People who are leery of using medication may turn to melatonin, but doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center say this supplement shouldn’t be used as a long-term sedative.

Dr. John Herman, a sleep expert at UT Southwestern, says melatonin is the hormone that sets the body clock, telling your body when it’s time to go to sleep and wake up. It may have sedative effects for some people, but it’s most often used to prevent jet lag or treat people who have trouble going to sleep or waking up at the right time. Those who have chronic sleep difficulties should seek medical help for a full evaluation to diagnose the exact problem.

Visit UTSW Medicine to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in sleep and breathing disorders.


January 2008

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