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Reset the body clock: Melatonin and what it’s used for

3AW Mornings

It’s the medication that shift workers, insomniacs or sleep deprived travellers sometimes turn to in a bid to get some precious shut eye.

The story on melatonin in today’s Age newspaper lead Tony Jones to ask, exactly what is it used for?

Melatonin is a hormone found in the body that can be produced synthetically.

Associate Professor Darren Mansfield, also the Deputy Chair of the Sleep Health Foundation, said it had a number of uses.

“This is a medication that suits people that have body clock disorders or shift work issues, or for that matter, jet lag,” he said.

“The biggest problem with melatonin is knowing when to take it.

“It’s best for jet lag when you’re travelling east and yet it probably has very little effect when you’re travelling west.”

Melatonin can assist in shifting the body clock and it not a sedative, he explained.

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