Melatonin for People with High Blood Pressure
Beta blockers are a type of drug popularly taken by people with high blood pressure (hypertension). While they are effective and safe, it has a side effect which causes some people to lose sleep by inhibiting the release of a sleep-regulating hormone called melatonin. Beta blockers are also used to treat migraine headaches, anxiety disorders, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder. It is estimated that more than 20 million people use these medication regularly, and insomnia has been reported as one of their side effects.
A small study involving 16 adults who were suffering from sleep deprivation associated with beta blocker therapy (either metoprolol or atenolol) for hypertension recently tested the effects of melatonin supplementation on sleep. They were asked to take either melatonin (at a dose of 2.5 milligrams) or a placebo every night for 3 weeks.
The results, which were published in the journal Sleep, showed that volunteers who took melatonin supplements fell asleep faster (by an average of 14 minutes), slept longer (by an average of 36 minutes) and spent a longer time in stage 2 sleep (by 41 minutes) than those who took placebo.
Results were evaluated using polysomnography, a sleep test that records participants’ brain waves, muscle tone, heart rates and eye movements overnight.
According to lead author Frank Scheer, director of the medical chronobiology program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, melatonin intake reduced the participants’ waking time at night by almost half. They observed that the melatonin levels in their bodies increased and this was not associated with any negative effects on mood or energy levels. He also states that unlike sleep medications, melatonin did not result in tolerance or rebound effects after stopping its intake. The participants still experienced its benefits day after taking the supplement.
Melatonin May Improve Sleep for People on Blood-Pressure Meds. HealthDay News. http://www.everydayhealth.com/publicsite/news/view.aspx?id=669109