By Ryan Coyle, MBJ Staff Writer
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can be deeply devastating for patients and their families, yet new research confirms the effectiveness of melatonin for decreasing insomnia and recovery time! A clinical study was conducted to compare the effects of taking melatonin pills or a placebo pill in those with traumatic brain injuries. The study included 35 participants who took either a placebo or melatonin supplement for two weeks, then switched to the alternative pill for another two weeks. The participants did not know which pill they were receiving at the time. The researchers asked the participants to self-report their physical functioning, emotional/physical roles, vitality, mental health, social functioning, bodily pain, and general health. Unfortunately, the melatonin did not seem to have any effect on participants’ description of depression, daytime sleepiness, or how fast the participants fell asleep. However, the results of the study found that when taking melatonin pills, participants reported increased sleep quality, mildly reduced anxiety, and improvements with fatigue, vitality, and mental health!
This research offers hope for patients with traumatic brain injuries to achieve better rest and positive rehabilitation outcomes. Melatonin may help patients with varying levels of severity, from mild concussions to severe brain injuries. Who knew a simple over-the-counter supplement could improve sleep quality and everyday mental health for those who have suffered brain injury!
Grima, N. A., Rajaratnam, S. M., Mansfield, D., Sletten, T. L., Spitz, G., & Ponsford, J. L. (2018). Efficacy of melatonin for sleep disturbance following traumatic brain injury: a randomised controlled trial. BMC medicine, 16(1), 8.