Is melatonin recommended for improving sleep?


Melatonin is not universally recommended for improving sleep in healthy adults. According to discussions with sleep experts on the , melatonin helps with the timing of sleep but does not enhance the generation of sleep itself. Meta-analyses indicate that it increases total sleep time by only about 3.9 minutes on average and boosts sleep efficiency by a minimal 2.2% 1. Moreover, there is little evidence supporting its effectiveness as a sleep aid, and its benefits might be largely attributed to its ability to lower body temperature slightly, which can help some people feel sleepier 2.

For elderly individuals, however, melatonin might have more substantial benefits. This group often experiences changes in sleep patterns and possibly reduced natural melatonin production due to calcification of the pineal gland. In such cases, melatonin supplementation could be more justifiably recommended to assist with sleep difficulties 3.

Melatonin and Sleep

Matt and Andrew discuss the role of melatonin in regulating sleep and whether or not melatonin supplements are effective for improving sleep. While melatonin helps with the timing of sleep, it doesn't necessarily aid in the generation of sleep itself. Studies suggest that melatonin supplementation is not particularly helpful for healthy adults and only increases total sleep time by an average of 3.9 minutes and sleep efficiency by 2.2%.

Huberman Lab

Dr. Matthew Walker: The Science & Practice of Perfecting Your Sleep | Huberman Lab Podcast #31

In summary, while the benefits of melatonin for the general adult population are dubious and minimal, it may be considered for older adults under a doctor's guidance. Always consult a healthcare provider before starting any sleep aid.