Sunday, December 12, 2010

Melatonin and sleep apnea

Information is constantly being sent throught out our bodies. In our brains there is something called serotonin that is a neurotransmitter which is a nerve signaling chemical that is sent to the brain to regulate our mood, it is one of many chemicals that provide some kind of information to the brain. While we are sleeping the chemical melatonin works in conjunction with our Circadian Rhythm that controls when we sleep and when we are awake. It is also used by some as a sleep aid. So is there any connection between sleep apnea and melatonin?

How is melatonin produced?

According to Wikipedia “melatonin is produced by the pineal gland, a gland about the size of a pea, located in the center of the brain but outside the blood-brain barrier. The melatonin signal forms part of the system that regulates the sleep-wake cycle by chemically causing drowsiness and lowering the body temperature.”

The pineal gland is only active at night and that is when melatonin is produced and at its highest level. Besides the time of day, direct light will also lower your melatonin level.

So when I read this I wondered if you produce less melatonin if you have sleep apnea. I didn’t see anything that would back up that claim. Although I did see that the levels of melatonin decreases as we age. As for taking melatonin as a natural supplement or a sleep aid, I would definitely speak to a doctor before taking especially if you have sleep apnea. There are other uses for melatonon such jet lag,

If you do a search on the web you will see quite a few places selling it but check first with your doctor before using it.

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  1. ps- Hi, David! You can contact me by going to my website, and leaving a comment (remind me about your blog when you do). I'm going to make a post about "blue light", melatonin, and sleep on my blog very soon. What a Godsend that I won't have to stay up all night, waking my husband up when he stops breathing! So, needless to say, I am sleeping much better than I have during our marriage for more reasons other than "just" having more melatonin.

    Sorry, I found your blog last night on my iPhone and couldn't sign in except as "Anonymous" last night. Didn't want to throw an email out there for the spambots, and forgot about my blog, momentarily, LOL!!!

    Shelley (KnowLyme)

  2. Hi, David- I only see one of my comments, posted one under "Anonymous" from my iPhone last night. It had a link to with some good info about blue light and melatonin production? I thought you might be interested because it has really helped my husband "cure" his sleep apnea, at least so far. He was also a big snorer, before the apnea, and changing our lighting has also stopped that! I strongly believe there is a link between melatonin and sleep apnea because of this. I have had chronic insomnia all my life, and I am sleeping much better as well. I can give you some tips on how to get the lighting and glasses much cheaper if you are interested in trying this out? I noticed in another post you mentioned that you said you work late shift, so chances are the artificial lighting after sunset ("blue light") might be contributing to your sleep apnea. Just trying to help! I did a search for "sleep apnea" and "melatonin" last night to see if anyone else had luck making that connection, and came across your blog. Don't think I forgot anything from my 1st post (LOL)? Oh, I did mention that my husband would not wear a CPAP...