Better sleep, better cognitive performance?

Study Title Melatonin in Patients with Reduced REM Sleep Duration: Two Randomized Controlled Trials
Study Authors
Dieter Kunz, Richard Mahlberg, Cordula Müller, Amely Tilmann, Frederik Bes
Study Model Human
Abstract Link https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14715839

 

I’m sleepy, I’m tired and I haven’t slept well for months despite taking some Chinese herbal medicine which costs me a fortune (and doesn’t mention ingredients, so I have no clue what I really drink every day). Unfortunately poor sleep means poor mental performance. We can try to reduce the symptoms by drinking coffee, which reduces neuroinflammation or by taking supplements, but the sleep quality will still be poor, unless…

    Thankfully Reddit exists where people share their experiments and protocols for sleep-enhancing substances. One of the frequently mentioned compounds is melatonin, which I will try to test for a while too (cause I really need to get some proper ZZZ time). Unfortunately in the UK melatonin is a prescription-only product, what a shame. If getting melatonin in your country is a problem try alternative products like 5-HTP, glycine or L-theanine.

    Let’s see what makes melatonin special. From Dieter Kunz’ article titled “Melatonin in Patients with Reduced REM Sleep Duration: Two Randomized Controlled Trials” (link) we learn that melatonin acts as a chronobiotic capable of increasing the REM sleep measured as a percentage of REM sleep, REM sleep continuity, and temperature decline during sleep.

    Melatonin has an enduring effect that outlasts the actual period of melatonin administration, so it will last for a while after your finish your treatment. Most frequently cited subjective changes during melatonin treatment in Dieter’s article were reduction of daytime fatigue and stronger sense of feeling refreshed after awakening. Wouldn’t you love to feel refreshed when you wake up?

    REM sleep is involved in learning processes including memory consolidation and regulation of neural plasticity. The analogy here would be: muscles don’t grow during the workout, but during recovery after the workout, memories ‘grow’ when we sleep.

    So for all of you who can get melatonin over the counter – have you tried it? has it improved your sleep?

    Greetings,
    Dr Bart Alright

     

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