Sleeping well may hold more answers to preventing and treating COVID-19 than we thought, according to a new study from researchers at the Cleveland Clinic.
The hormone melatonin, which people often use to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle, is linked to a nearly 30 percent reduction in the chances of contracting the virus.
According to the Clinic’s PLOS Biology study, by scanning through a COVID registry of 27,000 hospital patients, those who regularly take melatonin supplements are 28 percent less likely to test positive for this coronavirus
Feixiong Cheng, Ph.D., lead researcher of the Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute, said, “Large-scale observational studies and randomized controlled trials are critical to validate the clinical benefit of melatonin for patients with COVID-19. But we are excited about the associations put forth in this study and the opportunity to further explore them.”
The key to this development is that melatonin can serve another purpose, by also helping regulate the immune system.
Another study conducted by researchers at the University of Messina in Italy shows that melatonin can reduce chronic and acute inflammation, with a third study by Columbia University supporting the notion that patients using melatonin after COVID-19 intubation saw better results.
Dr. Cheng recognizes melatonin as a way to improve the human body by building a tolerance to tissue or organ damage that can be caused by coronavirus.
With the administration of COVID vaccines currently ongoing across the United States, researchers are diving deeper into possible uses of melatonin to increase the efficacy of the vaccines.
As an inexpensive over-the-counter supplement, melatonin could become the cheapest and most readily accessible medicine to combat the disease. However, doctors want to ensure that patients are not overdoing it.
“It is very important to note these findings do not suggest people should start to take melatonin without consulting their physician,” said Dr. Cheng.
As these various clinical trials continue to be conducted, a follow-up study detailing more of the specific effects melatonin has on COVID-19 is expected within the earliest months of 2021.