This Popular Sleep Aid Could Change the Way We Fight COVID-19

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Melatonin — a neurohormone produced in the pineal gland of the brain — is known for its ability to ready our bodies for sleep, help us fall into our nightly slumber and stay asleep. Millions of people have been positively impacted by taking the “sleep hormone” — and it might not just help with sleep alone.

In a new analysis of patient data from the Cleveland Clinic, researchers found that people who had been taking melatonin prior to getting COVID-19 were 30% less likely to come up positive on a SARS-CoV-2 test. Another study from researchers at Columbia University in New York shows that taking melatonin may have a direct impact of the survival rate of COVID-19 patients that have been hospitalized and on a respirator.

Melatonin isn’t just for sleep anymore

If you’ve used melatonin for sleep before, you’re likely aware of how it might impact your nightly routine. One study with 50 people that had insomnia showed that taking melatonin two hours before bed helped people fall asleep faster and enhanced overall sleep quality.

Melatonin also has many other positive health attributes:

As we have come to learn more about COVID-19, we know that the impact of the virus can have devastating and lasting effects on our respiratory systems and lung health. As people contract the virus, some are forced to be hospitalized as their lungs become so inflamed that they are unable to breathe on their own. According to Columbia researchers, the use of melatonin in higher doses could help counteract this  problem and helpincreasesurvival rates.

Breaking down the study

The revelatory study, conducted at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center by author Nicholas Tatonetti and his colleagues aimed to determine whether or not the use of melatonin following intubation had a positive correlation on survival rates among COVID-19 patients.

From February to August of 2020, Tatonetti and his team conducted a study of 189,987 patients who sought care at the institution for COVID-19. Using survival analysis, the mortality rates among intubated and mechanically ventilated patients were examined. The team examined 948 periods of intubation periods, across 791 patients who had COVID-19, or were infected with SARS-CoV2. Along with this, 3,497 intubation periods across 2,981 patients who did not have COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 were also examined.

After 7 whole months of examination of patients, Tatonetti and his team revealed their findings:

  • Melatonin exposure, following intubation, was significantly associated with a positive survival outcome among both COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients.
  • Melatonin exposure following intubation was also significantly associated with a positive survival outcome among mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients, but not among mechanically ventilated patients who did not have COVID-19.

Tatonetti says their findings suggest that melatonin may target SARS-CoV-2-induced inflammation in the most severe cases of COVID-19.

Can taking melatonin help to prevent COVID-19?

It is not yet clear if taking melatonin can help prevent contracting COVID-19. However, the use of it in small and recommended dosage does not usually cause harm. Typically, small doses of melatonin are based on a person’s height and weight. A dose of 1-3mg of melatonin is common.

However, in the case of patients with active COVID-19, the dose is much higher: 20-50 mg twice daily. “While melatonin is a popular over-the-counter sleep aid, our results lend support to the need for further follow-up into the mechanism of action of how melatonin may attenuate inflammation and specifically more studies into the observed association in severely affected COVID-19 patients,” Tatonetti and his colleagues conclude.

Our takeaway

While the study isn’t yet fully definitive, it surely lends to the idea that melatonin can have a positive impact on us — and we hope it can help in the fight against COVID-19 over time. If you’re thinking of taking melatonin, it’s important to remember to choose  a dose that is right for you. If you’re wary of it, consult your doctor for advice.

Taking melatonin isn’t complicated, either. It can come in small capsules, tablets, liquid form or even flavored gummies. Here are a couple of products we recommend if you are considering trying melatonin.

Remember that melatonin is a hormone and should not be taken on a long-term basis. Also, some people have reactions to melatonin. If you are on prescription drugs, it is best to consult your primary care physician before taking melatonin.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.