Will melatonin help you sleep if you have sleep apnea?

This question was asked in North Shore, Louisiana on 10/16/2012.
I have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine for treatment. I have also used Ambien and other sleep medications in the past. What is your opinion of a melatonin supplement to help with sleep? I have tried a supplement and have not had a problem for about 3 days. However I wake up a couple of time with a dry throat, with or without a humidifier. I do not take sleeping pills when I take the melatonin.

Doctors Answers (2)

Richard J. Schumann Jr., MD
Answered on: 10/30/2012

No., not directly. This a drug used for insomnia, jet lag and possible REM sleep behavior disorder. This can be used to help patient's struggling to use CPAP initially fall asleep. It is non addictive and an effective sleep aid.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 10/24/2012

Melatonin may help you to fall asleep but it only lasts in your system for a couple of hours so it rarely helps to keep you asleep. It should not make much difference in how effective it is if you do or don't have sleep apnea. As you are using your CPAP, then you are more like a person who does not have sleep apnea. If you choose to use melatonin I would recommend you not take over 3-5 mg at bedtime. If you sleep better taking melatonin I would keep taking it. Some persons alternate sleep aides to avoid building up a tolerance. Your dry mouth suggests you may be losing air through your mouth. A chin strap or a full face mask may help. There are over the counter mouth washes which are specific for dry mouth and some persons find relief by biting into a Vitamin E capsule and swishing the contents around in their mouth then swallowing the gelatin lining. It will line your mouth for awhile.