Melatonin Supplementation in Asthmatics.




American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Asthma Melatonin
Professional Data: Asthma Melatonin


Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in the brain. For years, scientists have known that melatonin's main function was in the control of our sleep patterns. However, more recent research has revealed that it also functions as an important antioxidant. Melatonin does not occur in the diet, making supplementation the only source outside the body.

Melatonin is best known for its ability to help people get a more restful night's sleep. Research indicates that low melatonin levels are a frequent cause of insomnia in the elderly. Further research indicates that melatonin supplementation can induce sleep in people of all ages and be of benefit to women experiencing menopause related insomnia. Melatonin may help night shift workers, the blind, and people with jet lag adjust their sleep cycles. Patients with sleep disorders when supplemented with melatonin experienced an increase in REM sleep.

A recent study stated that asthmatics often have problems sleeping due to their health condition. This small study involved 22 women with asthma. Twelve women were assigned to take 3 mg of melatonin for four weeks while the other ten women received a placebo. Using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, sleep quality was assessed in all of the participants. Morning and evening peak expiratory flow rate, symptoms, and medication use were also recorded. The results found that those receiving melatonin had better sleep quality than those taking the placebo. No effects were seen on symptoms or medication use. The authors concluded that, “melatonin can improve sleep in patients with asthma. Further studies looking into long-term effects of melatonin on airway inflammation and bronchial hyperresponsiveness are needed before melatonin can be recommended in patients with asthma.”1


1. Campos FL, et al. Melatonin improves sleep in asthma. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine Nov 2004 Vol 170. pp. 947-951.