One major symptom that many schizophrenic patients deal with is not being able to sleep at night. Studies show high reports of insomnia from people that have schizophrenia. One study took 175 patients with schizophrenia and tested if they also had insomnia. About 44% of the patients were diagnosed with having clinical insomnia. Melatonin is a dietary supplement that helps with helping to regulate sleep properly. How is melatonin linked with schizophrenia?
According to WebMD:
“Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland , a small gland in the brain. Melatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles. Your body has its own internal clock that controls your natural cycle of sleeping and waking hours. In part, your body clock controls how much melatonin your body makes. “
In other words melatonin controls when you go to sleep and when you wake up. When you sleep your body’s melatonin amount is usually very high. Melatonin levels usually begin to rise around mid-afternoon, then they will stay high throughout the night and then they will start to decrease. This does depend all on your personal body clock. The amount of melatonin your body makes can be affected by many different factors including light.
Melatonin is greatly effected by light, if there is a lot of light then melatonin levels are more likely to stay low. It has been nicknamed as the “dracula of hormones” because it does not “come out” if it is light out. This is why it is common for melatonin levels to be high at night because it is dark out. Too much light can actually inhibit melatonin from being produced.
Melatonin is often taken to help with sleeping problems such as insomnia or jet lag. One symptom that people with schizophrenia often experience is a lack of sleep. They will complain that they can’t fall asleep or that they can not stay asleep. This is because melatonin levels are generally low in schizophrenic patients. Often times doctors will prescribe melatonin as a dietary supplement in order to help with insomnia. Not all patients with schizophrenia are unable to sleep because of melatonin levels being low. Some are effected because of their hallucinations. Every case is different and it is important to consult with your doctor first before you decide to take a melatonin supplement.
Some people with schizophrenia are also diagnosed with what is called tardive dyskinesia. This is usually from a result from years of taking antipsychotic drugs. TD’s are involuntary movements of the face, lips, tongue, etc. This can cause a lack of sleep because they are unable to control these movements. Studies have shown that a melatonin supplement can help with controlling tardive dyskinesia.
Melatonin can be taken to help with insomnia and to help regulate sleep. Sleep is often affected by a lack of melatonin in the body. This can cause a person to stay awake at night which then can allow for increased hallucinations. People with schizophrenia are often affected by low levels of melatonin and report that they are unable to sleep. If you have schizophrenia and are unable to sleep at night, consult with your doctor to see if melatonin is the right supplement for you.