Does melatonin help older adults sleep?

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Does melatonin help older adults sleep?

Melatonin does (!) help older adults sleep.  It has been shown that melatonin preparations help people fall asleep faster, increase total sleep time, and slightly improve sleep efficiency.  Prolonged-release melatonin like ramelteon is thought to be helpful AND it does not increase traumatic accidents (head injuries, falls or motor vehicle crashes).

What are the guidelines?  American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Choosing Wisely campaign both state that cognitive behavior therapy should be the primary treatment for chronic insomnia in adults.  This includes winding down before bed, only having sex or sleep in the bed, no blue lights or tv 30 minutes before bed.  The 2017 ASM guidelines gave a weak recommendation for starting ramelteon 8 mg nightly to help with chronic sleep-onset insomnia that did not respond well to cognitive behavior therapy.  Medications like Lunesta and ambien should be tried as a last resort.

I hope this helps.

About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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