Sleep and Insomnia

A refreshing sleep is important for our emotional and physical well-being. Inadequate sleep can result in drowsiness, irritability and poor concentration. Poor sleep habits have also been associated with unhealthy weight gain, high blood pressure, poor sugar levels, and migraines. Feeling refreshed after a night’s sleep and not feeling sleepy during the day is a good indicator that you are getting the right amount of sleep.

A person with insomnia (sleep disturbance) will have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Insomnia that occurs for no apparent reason can indicate a problem with circadian rhythm, or a person’s internal “body clock”.

What are your options?

Amongst the options for managing this type of insomnia is melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone naturally secreted by the brain that helps to control the normal internal “body clock” that regulates when we wake and sleep. Melatonin is secreted only at night, and its secretion can be inhibited by some painkillers, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. As a person ages and at menopause, there is also a decline in melatonin secretion. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders may also have below average melatonin levels.

Melatonin supplements are used to treat disruptions in this normal sleep rhythm in adults and children. It may also be used for management of sleep apnoea and sleep issues related to ADHD. Melatonin is not addictive, and may be considered as an alternative to “traditional” sleeping tablets, which may be habit forming. In Australia, melatonin does require a prescription and some strengths need to be compounded. As a compounding pharmacy we can prepare medicines for your specific needs in a variety of strengths and dosage forms (including capsules, lozenges and liquids). If you or your doctor have any questions, feel free to “ask George” at St Clair Pharmacy.

* any information in this article is of general nature and must not be used for diagnosis purposes

For more information click here to read our 'Ask George' article.