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Melatonin

Robert L. Sack
From: Science & Medicine: Volume 5 Number 5: Page 8 (October 1998)

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Abstract: Though not licensed as a drug, melatonin is widely used for its purported medicinal properties. Melatonin receptors are densely concentrated in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus, the site of the circadian pacemaker. Exogenous melatonin presumably acts on these receptors to shift the timing of circadian rhythms. the effect is highly dependent on the timing of administration and can be used to help patients with circadian rhythm disorders to align their rhythms with their preferred sleep times. Melatonin also appears to have a modest sleep-promoting effect that is separate from its circadian phase-shifting effect.

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