Melatonin is having its best year yet. The natural sleep aid already helps millions of Americans find their deepest sleep by boosting a person’s natural melatonin levels and regulating their circadian rhythms and sleep-wake cycles. Now the drug has a front-row seat as a promising candidate for prevention and treatment against COVID-19, the virus that has killed more than 2.34 million people in the world in the last year.
Recently several studies published findings that suggest melatonin as a viable treatment option against the coronavirus. Columbia University researchers found that intubated patients who received melatonin had better rates of survival. A study out of the University of Toronto found melatonin to increase the efficacy of the vaccine when used as a supplement. Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute observed that melatonin usage lowered the chance of a positive COVID-19 test by about 28% after adjusting for age, sex, race, smoking history, and other factors.
The goal of the Cleveland Clinic study published in November was to identify current drugs on the market that specifically target autoimmune, lung, and neurological diseases, which are also common coronavirus symptoms and thus could be repurposed for COVID-19. According to Feixiong Cheng, PhD, lead author of the study, these findings may also be shining a light on melatonin’s best friend: sleep.
Here is exactly what Cheng seems excited about: Sleep plays a huge part in calibrating our immune system; it produces self-protective responses such as anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, and antioxidant properties. Sleep is often the answer when we feel a little under the weather. When the immune system is attacked by a virus such as the coronavirus, the body with ample sleep is equipped to respond versus going haywire. During the pandemic, many of us saw our daily schedules radically change; we drank more alcohol, exercised less, absorbed less sunlight, and struggled with anxiety, which translates to bad sleep.
The question now stands: Should you stock up on melatonin? That’s up to you, and your doctor. Researchers will continue to look at melatonin as a treatment for COVID-19. For now, aim to sleep at least 8 hours a night and help your own body’s natural melatonin cycles by keeping a routine sleep schedule, going on daily outdoor walks, limiting alcohol, and adopting a no-screen-time policy before bed.
Trust us: quality Z’s will always be its own reward!
Make COVID-19 testing a part of your household routine, and you’ll always have peace of mind.
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Lola has served as an editor for a variety of luxury lifestyle magazines in South Florida and began her career as a copy editor for The Miami Herald. She holds a master’s in print journalism. Now she multitasks her new role as a mother with her role as a freelance writer.