Melatonin may have no effect on sleep patterns

NEXT time you jet off somewhere exotic, leave those “anti-jetlag” melatonin pills at home. They’re useless, concludes a review of melatonin research papers. Nina Buscemi and colleagues at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, reviewed 15 major papers on the hormone, which is thought to alter sleeping patterns by changing the body’s circadian rhythms. Pooling the results, the team found no evidence that the hormone helps people get to sleep sooner, whatever the cause of their sleeplessness. At best, it added 10 extra minutes of sleep for every 8 hours in bed (British Medical Journal, DOI:
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