Results from a US clinical trial on the efficacy and safety of melatonin for sleep disturbance in multiple sclerosis
Dr Charles Shepherd Comments
Multiple sclerosis (MS) has a number of important overlaps with ME/CFS – including sleep disturbance.
As with ME/CFS, some people with MS use melatonin to help with more severe sleep disturbance. However, research into the safety and efficacy of melatonin in both conditions has been very limited.
This small clinical trial from the US evaluated the effects of melatonin on sleep quality and sleep disturbance in people with MS, using both objective (actigraphy) and subjective sleep measures.
Melatonin use was associated with greater total sleep time.
Sleep efficiency and self-reported sleep measures, including sleep quality, sleep disturbances and fatigue, were also nominally improved – although these results were neither statistically nor clinically significant.
Overall, these results support the hypotheses that melatonin is associated with improvement in sleep quality and sleep disturbances in people with MS.
The use of melatonin is an area of research into the treatment of sleep disturbance in ME/CFS that the MEA Ramsay Research Fund would be very keen to fund – but we do need a good quality research proposal to be submitted.
Dr Charles Shepherd
Trustee and Hon. Medical Adviser. The ME Association.