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Is Melatonin Effective in Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a known neurological disorder that has affected millions of people worldwide. There is a constant struggle to find the right treatment for epilepsy as the root cause behind this neurological disorder often remains enigmatic. To control seizure activities often anti-epileptic drugs are advised at initial level, but these medicines often causes serious side-effects. The major side effect is sleep deprivation. Epileptic person usually face difficulty in sleeping and in addition the anticonvulsants reduce the sleep time to only couple of hours. To control such sleep disturbances, melatonin can be an effective solution.

Epilepsy and Sleep

If you are epileptic, insufficient sleep contributes to tiredness during the day, intractable seizures and memory issues. The more time you are sleep deprived, the greater are the chances of occurrence of grand mal or tonic-clonic seizures or intractable convulsions. The epilepsy inducing sleep disturbances vary to a great extent, however it includes:

  • Disturbances in your biological clock (circadian rhythm)
  • Reduced quality of sleep
  • Lack of a regular sleep schedule
  • Painful sleep conditions
  • Inadequate bedtime routine
  • Sleep disorders such as nighttime awakenings or sleepwalking

Uses of Melatonin

Melatonin is a natural hormone that is produced by your body which helps to control your biological clock or circadian rhythm. Melatonin is also produced by the laboratories in the form of liquid, supplements or pills that easily dissolve in your cheek when kept under your tongue. The main uses of melatonin include:

  • Treatment method for insomnia
  • Inducing better sleep
  • Improve the quality of sleep especially in children with developmental disorders
  • Improve sleep disorders in shift workers
  • Induce better sleep for people discontinuing stimulant drugs

Melatonin and Seizures

According to a study published by “Medical Science Monitor”, an international medical journal concentrating on experimental and clinical research; epilepsy itself, or the use of anti-epileptic drugs to treat and control seizures in epilepsy, may result in reducing melatonin levels of the body. Unfortunately, the use of melatonin may have a negative impact on your seizures too. So it is advised that you consult your doctor before self-medicating with melatonin supplements to improve your sleep, especially if you are suffering from epilepsy from a long time or plan to give melatonin to your child.

Natural Sources of Melatonin

If you are looking for some natural sources of melatonin you can get it from:

  • Milk – Milk naturally contains melatonin, that’s why you often hear people that drinking milk before bed helps you sleep better. Melatonin levels in milk are determined by certain factors such as breed and timing of milking the cow. Traditional milking just before dawn leads to higher levels of melatonin. You can also get “Night Time Milk” from some stores.
  • Montmorency Cherries – These cherries also contain good level of melatonin.
  • Walnut, Chinese SkullCap or St. John’s Wort – These are also some good sources of melatonin. Walnut contains 2.5 to 4.5 nanograms per gram of melatonin.

Improve your Sleep Habits for Better Control of Sleep and Seizures

Before trying any natural supplements of Melatonin or laboratory made Melatonin, it is advised that you try to improve your sleep habits with epilepsy by following a strict sleep schedule and sleep hygiene habits which will promote body’s natural habit to initiate a healthy sleep cycle.

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