A new British Journal of Pharmacology review highlights the role of melatonin--a hormone that is produced at night--in regulating sleep and the body's biological, or circadian, clock. Research suggests that melatonin treatments may even help to improve the restorative value of sleep and to promote healthy physical and mental aging.
The review notes that, with age and certain diseases, the robustness of the circadian system decreases and melatonin production is diminished or shifted. "Deviant circadian rhythms and poor sleep quality are associated with increased risks of cardiovascular, metabolic, and cognitive diseases, as well poor quality of life and increased risks of premature death," said Dr. Nava Zisapel, of Tel Aviv University, in Israel.
British Journal of Pharmacology