Patients with asthma can improve sleep with the hormone melatonin. Research has shown that melatonin plays a key role in the sleep cycle. The Brazilian study included 22 women with mild-to-moderate asthma. For the study, the participants were divided into 2 groups. One group (n = 12) took melatonin for 4 weeks while the other group (n = 10) took a placebo.
Using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the results of the study showed that the women in the melatonin group had improved sleep quality, compared with those in the placebo group. Neither group exhibited changes in asthma symptoms, in daily peak expiratory flow rate, or in their use of asthma medication. Also, no side effects were reported by the melatonin group, the researchers reported in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (November 2004). The researchers concluded, however, that additional studies are required to examine the long-term effects of the hormone before it is recommended for all asthma patients.