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Why You Can’t Sleep

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by Egyptian Doctor, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

    Mar 21, 2011
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    Ah, sweet melatonin. The helpful hormone controls your body’s internal clock, letting you sleep at night and be energized during the day. But if you produce too little of it, not only are you likely to lay awake at night, but you may also be at an increased risk for diabetes, finds a new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    Over a 10-year period, researchers measured melatonin levels in the urine of 740 women and found that those with less of the hormone were roughly twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to those with more. This was regardless of other factors known to increase diabetes risk, like BMI, diet, smoking, and family history.

    Previous studies have shown that melatonin plays a role in how the body processes sugar, but beyond that, experts still aren’t sure how levels of the sleep hormone are related to diabetes risk. “This should prompt further research to see whether changing melatonin levels alter the risk of type 2 diabetes,” says study author Ciaran J. McMullan, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

    While the research doesn’t show that healthy melatonin levels may prevent diabetes, having the right balance of the hormone does have other proven benefits, like regulating sleep. Exposure to bright light in the morning and going to sleep and waking up at roughly the same time every day can help keep your melatonin level stable, says Joseph Ojile, MD, medical director of the Clayton Institute for Sleep in St. Louis and a spokesperson for the National Sleep Foundation. That’s true even if you have an irregular schedule and tend to sleep during the day—over time, your body will adapt as long as your sleep/wake schedule is consistent, Dr. Ojile says.

    As for supplements? Popping a melatonin pill can sometimes help with sleep issues, but be sure to run it by your doc first, as taking too much melatonin could potentially cause vascular problems.



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