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Circadian rhythm disorders
upon awakening, the standard treatment for delayed sleep phase syndrome
(DSPS) and non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome. It appears to have some use
against other circadian rhythm sleep disorders as well, such as jet lag and
the problems of people who work rotating or night shifts. Melatonin reduces
sleep onset latency to a greater extent in people with DSPS than in people
mild hypnotic. It causes melatonin levels in the blood to rise earlier than
the brain's own production accomplishes. This usage is now common in sleep
and relaxation drinks.
phase response curve for melatonin in humans (PRC) doesn't cause sleepiness
but, acting as a chronobiotic (affecting aspects of biological time
structure), advances the phase slightly and is additive to the effect
of using light therapy upon awakening. Light therapy may advance the phase
about one to two-and-a-half hours and a small oral dose of melatonin, timed
correctly some hours before bedtime, can add about 30 minutes to the
advance achieved with light therapy.
probable cancer-causing agent. Melatonin is an anti-oxidant and
suppressant of tumor development that is produced at night; when someone
works in artificial light, they generally have lower melatonin and may be
more likely to develop cancer. Melatonin supplements may simulate the
melatonin production at different times that does not occur during regular
sleeping hours for people who work night shifts.
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