That's funny - I JUST was researching melatonin last night and even put a post on the UC board about
it. I've done a ton of research on it in the past as well, so I feel I've got a pretty good handle on it all.
Melatonin has been shown to boost the immune system, which is why people with autoimmune disorders are cautioned; since it was partially our immune system attacking our own colon, it basically does the opposite of immunosuppressants. However, since your immune system is no longer damaging your guts, I wouldn't worry about
it (unless you by chance have Crohn's instead of UC). I personally think a boosted immune system is a good thing, even for us!
In addition (sleep and immune system aside) Melatonin actually plays a large role in regulating the digestive tract and it is being studied and considered as a treatment for UC! From what I read, it sounds like it could also be beneficial to us J-pouchers. Here is an article explaining the gut-melatonin link: www.naturalnews.com/033554_melatonin_immune_function.html
I also found a study showing that it can potentially slow motility. It for sure at least slows and regulates the process of food emptying from the stomach into the small intestine, which is also helpful.
I personally take it every night because I have delayed sleep phase disorder, which means I have a lot of trouble both falling asleep as well as waking up because my body clock thinks it should be set later than everyone else's. Melatonin is an excellent treatment for that because it resets my body clock when I take it before bed. So I take it partially to help me fall asleep (no, it won't just knock you out like some other sleeping pills), but more to help me wake up in the mornings... I naturally wake up between seven and eight hours after I take the pill, every time. (Otherwise my body desperately wants to sleep until noon.) Last school year I woke up before my alarm clock EVERY DAY, which my family would tell you is nothing short of a miracle, because normally waking up early in the mornings is physically painful for me (literally). I have found it to be somewhat of a miracle pill because for one, I HATE alarm clocks, but also it seems to help me stay more alert
and in a better mood during the daytime and cuts down on my food cravings.
I say take it every night for a couple of weeks to see if you notice a difference. If the effects are positive, keep it up. If there are no effects or if the effects are negative (highly unlikely), then don't bother!