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What is the sleep hormone really brings

Good sleep is a gift. Those who are not so blessed, and to suffer the consequences know: Instead of in the morning in a good mood and full of energy to Wake up urge, you are powerless, unfocused, erratic and irritable. You sleep is, permanently little, is the lack of sleep to the dominant theme. Melatonin, the body's own hormone, comes in handy: It is advertised as a gentle sleep aid with almost no side effects. But the hormone, what it promises?

Lifestyle drug

In America, Melatonin is considered a dietary Supplement and can be bought in any supermarket. According to a U.S. survey, three million Americans take up a good the hormone that is not only marketed as a sleep aid, but allegedly also against cancer and Alzheimer's helps. "Melatonin is surrounded by a myth," says Dieter Riemann University of Freiburg I. Br. "Scientific studies do not withstand the propagated effect of the hormone, however." The sleep expert was involved in the Revision of the guidelines for insomnia, and sleep disturbances. Also, Melatonin was evaluated.

In Switzerland and Germany is the hormone since 2008, as a drug under the name of Circadin is available for: short-term treatment of insomnia and for people aged 55 and over. However, it must be medically prescribed. How many people to swallow in this country, Melatonin, is not known. Because the funds can also be from abroad over the Internet (without a prescription).

The natural Melatonin produced by the pineal gland, a tiny Structure in the middle of our brain. The mini-organ that controls our inner clock, and thus the sleep rhythm. If it is dark, raining the gland, Melatonin, into the blood flowing and us tired. Towards dawn, the melatonin will stop production, and we will perk up again.

The melatonin concentration in the blood is also subject to seasonal fluctuations: In the Winter, when it remains during the day cloudy, it is higher than in the summer, when the sun is shining. Age also plays a role: Older people have a lower melatonin level than young. "Because the elderly often sleep changes – they sleep less and Wake up more frequently, the obvious thought was the melatonin deficit. So, like a diabetic injects Insulin," says Riemann.

A plausible theory that works in practice, but only is insufficient: According to examination of numerous studies of Melatonin, the updated guidelines do not recommend the hormone in the treatment of insomnia. "There are studies that showed a positive effect," explains Riemann. "So shortened Melatonin, the sleep duration from 80 to 60 minutes. The Affected brings but little, which is why we don't have the rating."

Already in 2013 a meta-analysis of 19 studies had come to a similar conclusion: patients who had taken Melatonin, slept on average just 7 minutes before and 8 minutes longer than those who received a Placebo.

shift workers and the jet lag it can help

"but There are patients who benefit from hormone those suffering from a sleep rhythm disorder," explains Esther Werth, Director of the sleep laboratory at the clinic for neurology at the University hospital Zurich. "The effects of Melatonin are small," says you. "But at least the side effects are very low." The sleep rhythm is about to be disturbed in the case of shiftwork or long flights across multiple time zones, as jet lag discomfort. "In such cases, Melatonin can help to set the internal clock again," explains Werth.

"and by sleep disorders but," emphasized the expert, "is the therapy of first choice is always the cognitive-behavioral therapy." Here, patients will learn how to structure your sleep-Wake stages, relax, as well as techniques on how you can avoid the night-time Pondering.

"people with sleep disorders often buy Entspannungstees, Valerian, or a new bed, but it's no use," says expert Riemann. "With behavior therapy, but we give you tools with which you sleep can have a positive impact."

When it comes to Knowledge about sleep and sleep hygiene, it falls short often. "We are 70-Year-old, and at 21 o'clock to bed and expect you to be up in the morning to eight o'clock to sleep. This is illusory," says the sleep laboratory Director Esther Werth. Others would drink for relaxation, a glass of wine, and this is exactly the opposite. When you sleep much behaving differently than is commonly accepted, is also confirmed by sleep expert Riemann, for example, the sleep duration Limit. "People are totally amazed when they hear that you only have six hours in bed."

The ideal sleep there is not yet

If the cognitive-behavioral therapy does not help, says Esther Werth, came at the Zurich Unispital partially sleep-promoting antidepressants and, possibly, Melatonin, and "very rarely" to sleep. Because the traditional sleeping pills and sedatives (benzodiazepines) and also the so-called Non-benzodiazepines. "These drugs are out of the question, therefore, only in the case of an acute disorder, and should not be longer than three weeks," stresses Werth.

The ideal sleep there is not even after decades of research. "The sleep process is not very complex, we understand him completely," admits Riemann. And Werth confirmed: "There is no switch in the brain, the we and off, there's a lot of play together. And Melatonin is there a screw just a little."

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 06.01.2019, 17:41 PM

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