However, from a psychological standpoint, it's a very good thing melatonin is so safe. Every single person I've ever recommended melatonin to, I've directed to this article and discussed it with them. Every single such person then went ahead to promptly forget the discussion, NOT read the article, and take mildly retarded doses. For example, "one (5mg) pill didn't work, so I took 8 more at 4am." Another uses it almost recreationally - large doses to intensify his dreams; pretty much zero attempt to use it to improve his sleep. I don't talk to people about melatonin anymore.
For a quicker idea of where melatonin sits vis-à-vis other sleep drugs (WARNING: Hilarious Ambien Walrus referenced):
How dependent on it would you say you are? How well would you function if you were unable to get hold of it?
I recommended 1mg per 50lbs of body weight, and get the fast acting one, not the slow-dissolving one; those made me drowsy the next morning.
It is a little harder to snap to attention right after waking up, but I shake that off quickly; probably a sign I slept well.
It does affect everyone differently though. I haven't had any negative effects myself, other than with the slow-dissolving "long-lasting" pills (but some might need that to stay asleep).
I recommend starting at the smallest dose you can find designed for sublingual (under-the-tongue dissolving) administration. 0.3mg to 1mg is a good range.
This is the one I use that works great:
You might consider installing blue-light reduction software like f.lux - it's drastically improved my ability to fall asleep late at night.
When I don't take it my sleeping time seems to be a function of sleep hygiene.. Your melatonin production cycles are probably most strongly controlled by zeitgeber factors, like the mentioned blue light wavelengths. My insomnia used to be as bad as yours and now it's fairly normal for me to fall asleep at 1am, even using the computer. Once you get in a pattern, it has some persistence to it.
I used 300mcg for months and months, slept better, had vivid dreams, and the effect didn't change. I switched to 500mcg pills from Trader Joe's only because the 300mcg pills stopped being carried locally.
Source: an in-depth article I read years ago that I can never seem to find.
every hormone that you have in excess of what the body expects, have compensation of the opposing message hormone, feedback effect. anyone has any idea which one is for this case?
another consequence is that the original producer of such hormone will get de prioritized by the body and atrophies after too much time. does this happen here?
The change has been dramatic. Previously it was a 3-4 hour battle each night for her to get ready for bed and stay in bed. Now with 3mg of Melatonin she spontaneously decides to get ready for bed herself and goes to sleep in minutes.
The most interesting thing about Melatonin isn't that it makes you drowsy or helps you sleep, it's that it increases the _desire_ for sleep. While I don't usually have trouble sleeping, it's often hard to break myself free from a computer or a device at night, and Melatonin changes this. As the author says, "It works."
The dose response relationships in 11 of the studies
(see Refs. 17,18) support the existence of a plateau
effect, with maximum effect generally being achieved
at low doses (e.g. 0.3 mg) and maintained or
diminished at higher doses.
The pills I have are a dual-release version, so that might have had an affect as well (http://www.swansonvitamins.com/swanson-ultra-dual-release-me...).
Not only that but I take medication to treat my ADHD. This medication is a pretty low dose, but sometimes it's still going strong at 8 or 9pm, which is not good for sleep.
Melatonin has helped A LOT. I take between 1 - 3mg. It's not a drowsy feeling. I just want to sleep after taking it. Glad to see there seems to be no side effects.
Especially given that you are dealing with a developing brain and melatonin is a hormone.
Exactly! After having tried almost all Hypnotics/Sedatives for a sleep disorder that has lasted better part of a decade, it was so refreshing to find something that:
Doesn't have any hangover,
Doesn't make you feel more crappy if you are unable to go to sleep after taking it. The headache/light-headedness that follows if you don't sleep after taking other sedatives/hypnotics is generally very annoying and sometimes even unbearable.
The quality of sleep is much better too. No nightmares as such. More dreaming, yes, but that may be just because of better sleep quality.
I take 0.5 mg myself.
1/2 a teaspoon of sugar is now a 0.5 melatonin dose.
But: see here, this is very relevant: http://hpmor.com/notes/98/
Search MetaMed (a few screens down) for Eliezer Yudkowsky's experience with a sleep disorder (his normal day is 24.5 hours): after spending years trying a whole laundry list of solutions including melatonin, he finally paid MetaMed somewhere north of $5K for their analysis, and got a solution using melatonin that worked (but was not the normal approach to melatonin supplementation).
"their best suggestion, although it had little or no clinical backing, was that I should take my low-dose melatonin 5-7 hours before bedtime, instead of 1-2 hours, a recommendation which I’d never heard anywhere before.
And it worked.
I can’t #&$ing believe that #$%ing worked.
(EDIT in response to reader questions: ”Low-dose” melatonin is 200microgram (mcg) = 0.2 mg. Currently I’m taking 0.2mg 5.5hr in advance, and taking 1mg timed-release just before closing my eyes to sleep. However, I worked up to that over time – I started out just taking 0.3mg total, and I would recommend to anyone else that they start at 0.2mg.)"
I used to be an owl for years--decades. A regular 9-5 schedule seemed out of reach. All previous attempts quickly led to backsliding and accusations of moral failure. However, I found that an involuntary physiological response to artificial light in the range 460-484nm was involved.
This May I changed my environment by filtering out blue light after 8PM, turning off white lamps and turing on amber compact fluorescents. I'm asleep ~ 10PM and up usually ~ 5AM. This is now my regular schedule. It would have been inconceivable for me six months ago.
I use the following:
1. Inexpensive Uvex amber goggles from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Uvex-S0360X-Ultra-spec-SCT-Orange-Anti... Wear them at least an hour or two before bedtime. I also have the considerably more expensive glasses from lowbluelights.com. In my experience, the inexpensive goggles work just as well, although the more expensive glasses filter more blue light.
2. I replaced most of the white compact fluorescent lights in my apartment with amber compact fluorescent lights https://www.lowbluelights.com/index.asp
3. And I use a sunrise simulator alarm clock. http://www.amazon.com/Philips-HF3520-Wake-Up-Colored-Simulat...
Sometimes I forget to set the clock--now I don't seem to need it.
Not to mention f.lux (pardon the paralipsis), though again, in my experience, filtering is necessary.
Concerning the scientific basis for the claim that blue light in the range 460-484nm suppresses melatonin production, here is one reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosensitive_ganglion_cell
Moral: Nagging and moralizing was both uninformative and ineffective. Science and engineering was both informative and effective.
What clued me in was when I went camping for a weekend after not camping for almost a decade. I found myself falling asleep and waking early, feeling better, even after a single night, and it got even better the second. Real darkness after sunset, and tons of bright sunlight in the morning.
Wearing the goggles IS a pain though. Worth it but a pain. F.lux didn't do nearly enough in my experience though it does seem to have an effect.
I also find that sunrise simulator clock is okay for waking up but not strong enough to replace bright light exposure in the morning. I would recommend eating breakfast outside in the sun for awhile, and if you find that helps, get some lights with some heavy duty lux for the winter mornings inside.
Could you please provide a source for that statement? :)
I think it's probably similar to what you're doing with your amber compact fluorescent lights. I'm happy with the results.
Btw, there was a new study recently, http://www.sci-news.com/othersciences/neuroscience/science-n... or the paper directly http://www.jneurosci.org/content/33/32/13081.abstract
Supposedly red light during the night is the least 'traumatic' to endure.
I minimize all of the blue light in my place though I am left wondering if just minimal light is the most important part.
Turn all the lights off, a few nightlights, a computer monitor (flux or better), and a dim tablet seem to do the trick.
...it wasn't until I became very mindful of light
pollution past 9pm that I saw a huge correction in my
terrible sleep patterns.
Never even heard of that goggle trick, fascinating.
On another note: although I don't have a Facebook account, I find it more than a little amusing that the goggles black out the blue color scheme of Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg's green-red color blindness led him to adopt a color scheme that may have exacerbated insomnia around the planet.
I minimize all of the blue light in my place though I am
left wondering if just minimal light is the most important part.
I've used melatonin for years, as have many of my friends and family, and I've never had anyone mention this. I've always had more vivid dreams with melatonin, but I've never had nightmares.
On the other hand, I really miss it back when it worked mostly wonderfully. I coupled my intake with an experiment on segmented sleep, where I'd take it some time before 4pm and sleep till around 9pm, often waking up in a so called "writer's mood," and then sleep again (without Melatonin) from roughly 1am till 4am. I tend to be a very unfocused person, but on these intervals between first sleep and second sleep I'd feel in an elevated state of consciousness where my focus was like a laser I could point anywhere. Sublime is a good word, everything feels light and effortless, and the right thoughts just flow when you need them. I'm sure people have felt similarly while on other kinds of drugs, which is interesting to say the least. But I was sober and really productive, and have written my best fiction in this way.
A friend who was prone to nightmares tried melatonin and it made her nightmares worse.
So perhaps it just induces worse nightmares in those prone to having them in the first place.
I consider it irrational for someone to believe that a limited number of hand-selected studies can give you absolute confidence.
Even if it were a limited number of studies, gwern's not going for "absolute confidence". (Indeed, requiring "absolute confidence" before attempting a thing is irrational by the following sentence.) Irrational here means doing something with expected value less than zero. If you're a person living in an industrialized society with ready access to electrical lighting -- the possible gains are too large to be balanced out by the time wasted trying it. That's what gwern's saying.
I don't argue that this doesn't help a fraction of people, but the case is pretty weak and the long-term results of tampering with a critical hormone are unknown.
No offense to the author but I've read at least 3 of his articles posted here and they all follow a similar pattern.
A positive but cautious conclusion like http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/psychology/health_psychology/m... would have been much more appropriate.
The black swan is a pretty useless concept at this point, because people like you will drag it out against anything they dislike. You cannot give any rigorous formulation or evidence for it, and the best you can do is drag out some old example like thalidomide.
Yes it's hard and often impossible to quantify black swans. But keeping them in mind is a way to avoid overconfident articles like the one you wrote.
Alright, let me clarify it then: by the remotely meaningful version presented by Taleb, your argument doesn't work and Taleb's writings support taking melatonin, rather than not taking melatonin. Why? Because even in the event of a negative 'black swan' your losses are strictly limited: the worse that can happen is you die. In fact, if I may borrow Taleb's 2x2 table from _The Black Swan_ where he brings up positive 'black swans' as well, it's easier to make a case that taking melatonin is a positive 'black swan': the negative possibilities are strictly in Mediocristan, with limited losses, easy to measure over large populations, predictable, not varying over time; while the positive possibilities look like some of Taleb's examples of attempting to exploit positive 'black swans' in Absurdistan - improved productivity, healthy, and seizing opportunities, things with potentially unlimited payoffs - such as moving to cities and networking with people.
> For example, a greater risk of dying after 20 or 30 years of use - which has not yet been studied.
Not at all. Taleb like to use the example of selling insurance and shorts, where your downside is unlimited. Millions, billions, trillions... Think AIG or LTCM. Not everything has consequences solely for health.
> You do not mention any studies of long term effects and you consider FUD raising the possibility that there could be adverse effects.
In the absence of any evidence whatsoever for that, and plenty of positive correlations, short-term studies without any problem... Yes. It is FUD. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
> When more and more studies show negative long term effect of substances that were considered innocuous (like vitamins), it's not FUD, it's being reasonably cautious.
Only some vitamins show any mortality effects, the mortality effects while real are pretty small, the vitamins did not deliver the long-term health benefits promised (but never really demonstrated in experiments) which might offset the harm, and the vitamins were being consumed in huge doses. The first reduces the possibility of any such outcome, the second points out that you are exaggerating the harm, the third means that vitamins were a purely speculative play unlike melatonin, and the fourth reduces the concern that any such thing would happen with melatonin when one sticks to the suggested doses like 0.5mg rather than 5mg.
You do not mention any studies of long term effects and you consider FUD raising the possibility that there could be adverse effects. When more and more studies show negative long term effect of substances that were considered innocuous (like vitamins), it's not FUD, it's being reasonably cautious.
That kind of numbers is a red flag to me. It indicates that these studies may have issues, which I suspect they do.
 "Dietary supplement industry says 'no' to more information for consumers (again)" 3 October 2013
If I could trust where I get my melatonin from, I would gladly take it. But I've learned too much about how terrible this industry is.
This also means that people with depression or sleep disorders can not be prescribed these products as they are not FDA approved and insurance will not pay for it either. This forces people into patented phara drugs that may or may not be better for them and in all cases have more side effects (upto including death being common disclaimer on the long list).
Same issue in the UK and more so in that melatonin is not allowed to be sold. Sure you can get it on the internet, but from some contries but as there are no standards it is hard to tell. Is it syntheticly made or the type extracetd from animal and with that the whole area of concern starts to rise.
If only some benificial billionair would fund FDA tests for approval for this and other unpatentable naturaly occuring medicines. Certainly be positive for everybody.
That said, there isn't much incentive for a company to do this. Let's say a company spend $200M getting FDA approval for melatonin. Considering the huge population that it would be used in, the FDA would require a very large trial to determine safety. Once launched, the drug company would need to recover that cost plus a profit, so suddenly melatonin goes from a few pennies per dose to several dollars. The push back from the public would probably kill any chance of making it a profitable venture.
What drug companies did do was create melatonin analogues. Rozerem by Takeda is a great example. It hasn't done that well.
As for omega-3s, GSK did get Lovaza approved by the FDA although they did have a patent on it (a specific form of omega-3s).
Sad about the investment needed for the limited return window which would be enough time to promote the benifits intime for the market to mature just outside the window of opertunity.
Does make you wonder how many good useful medications are kept back due too fiscal investment to get the various approvals. Not aware of a universal World accepted standard of drug approval, certainly would make sense cost wise for the global return. But guess there is money in running trials as well.
Any doctor can prescribe it off-label if they wish, although they might be hesitant in the non-insomniac population due to the relatively high cost (>50p per 2mg dose)
I have many issues with my sleep cycle and quality of sleep. Melatonin is one of the few things that alleviates my problems. However, for me, it's only good for one night. I can take melatonin for one night out of a month, and get a blissful, restful night of sleep. If I take it two nights in a row, evil side-effects start creeping up.
It begins with a headache. If I take melatonin two nights in a row, the next day I will wake up with a headache that's hard to shake. My dreams, while very vivid and pleasant the first night, become more gloomy and depressing the second night. By the third day, my dreams are full-on, vivid, terrifying nightmares. I feel depressed and angry all day, and the headache borders a migraine. After four days of melatonin, I'm a wreck. It no longer puts me to sleep, nor gives me restful sleep. It becomes nothing more than a pill full of nightmares, depression, anger, and a bad migraine.
The first time I started taking melatonin, I had no idea it was causing these side effects. It took a while to pin down, and I just assumed it was related to my ongoing battle with sleep. I do recommend it, just know that you may have adverse reactions to continued use.
I had to stop taking it.
It also reached the point in the last year that I needed to be at one work site a few days a week, but at 6am, then another site different days at 9am, then work from home the rest of the time which meant trying to "catch up" with a 10-11am wakeup.
I finally broke down and started taking 3 mg of Melatonin, but only if I've had 2 recurring nights if bad sleep. The effect is kind of strange. About 20-30 minutes after taking it, my strongest desire in the world is to want to go to bed, but it doesn't exactly make me "sleepy". After my head hitting my pillow, I'm asleep in about 10 minutes. If I need to, I'll take it multiple days in a row until I feel like my sleep cycle is sorted out, then I stop. I'll also take it if I need to suddenly change my cycle and get up very early the next day or something. Wakefulness comes smoothly and refreshingly, not jarring.
I finally got my wife to start taking it and now all the fuss over getting her to go to sleep has ended completely. As soon as she starts wanting to do things and it's late at night, she pops a Melatonin pill and is asleep inside of 40 minutes.
It's absolutely transformed our sleep/work/live/wake cycles. It feels like I can finally wrestle a bit of control back from an overburdened modern life.
The only problem is that the next day I usually feel very cloudy headed the entire day and have a mild urge to go back to bed until mid-afternoon.
It is very hard to do (headaches, sleepy in the day etc), but worth a shot.
I also use earplugs, which I find it very hard to sleep without now (unless drunk). They not only block out noise, but you get conditioned that when you put them in it's time to sleep, it kind of gets you into a sleep mind set.
The other thing I find helps is if I find my mind racing I try and slow my breathing down as much as I can. I think it works on two levels, I focus on breathing and free my mind of jumping all over the place and it also slows your heart rate and therefore oxygen to the brain, which I think has the same effect :P
It seems to be the first therapy for tinnitus which was confirmed in clinical trials. Unlike TRT, it can actually make the sound go away and not just make you less unhappy about it.
Honestly, the only people that bring this up are people still steadfast against fluoridation of water and people looking for an overly simplistic cause for alzheimer's.
Not only that, but your study observed extreme cases: "The majority of patients included in the study had a history of seizures or minor head injury."
I never heard of calcification linked with fluoridation and Alzheimer's. So I wasn't suggesting that.
Apparantly you've never given magnesium citrate to older family members and watched them get the best sleep in a long time. Moreover, an American diet filled with calcium + little magnesium + Americans taking calcium supplements for osteo-porosis + plus deficiency of various nutrients is bound to lead to various problems. Then again, I'm not a doctor. In fact, I don't even have a college degree. So feel free to ignore anything I say.
If people want to be more concerned about vitamins/supplements rather than a diet rich in iron/HFCS + deadly FDA-approved drugs, so be it. I will take my chance with the vitamin fanatics like Linus Pauling (took mega doses of Vitamin C, died of cancer... at the age of 93).
I will grant your wish. I will stop talking about vitamins and supplements on HN. However, for any crackpot vitamin fanatics out there, head over to http://knowledgeofhealth.com That's one of the best sites I know and are very good at spotting mistakes in mediocre research proving that vitamins are deadly, cancer inducing toxins.
300 - 600 mg: magnesium citrate.
My favorite brand is "30 Minutes of Sunshine" http://www.lifespannutrition.com/lsn/products.asp?itemnumber...
Bio-Tech Vitamin D3 is also very good: http://www.biotechpharmacal.com/
For example biphasic sleep is a pattern that arises when the darkness period is significantly longer than the human need for sleep. If the darkness period is reduced to about the same length as the sleep need, then the sleep period is less interrupted. But humans are not any more or less healthy under either sleep regime.
If we're talking from an evolutionary stand-point, humans have protections to keep the sun from killing us. If you're in the sun a lot, you would have darker skin (or skin that grows darker as the sun's rays increase in intensity per the season). You wouldn't be spending all day inside in the Midwest and then be in Brazil the next day. The sun is natural, the way you're exposing (or not exposing) yourself to it is what is unnatural.
It's the same argument that cyanide is natural. Yeah, but humans tend not to find cyanide very tasty at all (as an evolutionary protection). People don't go around eating peach pits just for fun. Pure cyanide being added to foods in concentrated doses as a poison is a human invention and is not natural. Melatonin being used by the body to regulate sleep cycles is natural in the sense that it happens whether we supplement it or not. The unnatural human invention is to boost the natural effect by taking more, or by taking it at a specific time rather than trusting our body to fully regulate its production.
I think it's an important distinction to be made here that melatonin is something you already produce at certain times of day (maybe not the desired time), and not something your body does not normally encounter, which you put into your body to interrupt a normal process.
This is not to say that any concerns about melatonin are invalid; only that one shouldn't be as wary of melatonin as of, say, Ambien.
I think it's important to identify what's causing the insomnia. It's not always going to be the same thing for everyone, or even for you, every single time.
Some days, for me, it's just simply because I have too much on my mind. Other times, it's because I've had too much stimulation and some times, it's just because I haven't had enough physical exertion during the day (most of my work is on a laptop).
Here's the routine that I now employ and I've been really good for a number of months straight (I helped a friend create a similar "routine" and he even blogged about it).
So my routine is as follows
1. No HN, book reading ,or any kind of blogs, reddit etc (basically anything intellectually stimulating) after 8pm.
2. Some strenuous physical exertion (e.g. Gym) every 2nd or 3rd day
3. Anything that puts me into a more relaxed state, e.g Some fresh air at least half an hr before bed time, writing in a journal if my mind is going crazy with ideas, or reading some poetry/fiction (but nothing intellectually stimulating. i.e. something entertaining or relaxing).
4. No computer screens at least 45mins before bedtime
5. 1 teaspoon of blackseed oil 5 minutes before bedtime
6. A decent mattress (Mine is a silentnight miracoil) - Some people don't realise how important your mattress is and how badly it can affect sleep.
7. No stimulating conversation at least 45mins before bedtime, that includes emails, text messages, in-person conversations and phone calls.
I also make sure that i'm out of bed before 8am each day if i want to make sure I get good sleep for that night.
Basically, i've whittled it down to identifying which state is not in a relaxed mode and getting it to a desirable state .
i.e. emotional state (writing in a journal or meditative exercise), mental state (avoiding anything intellectually stimulating), physical state (physical exertion/blackseed oil/mattress)
I don't use it regularly but sometimes I just know when I'm going to have trouble falling asleep, and will take one about a half hour before I'd like to be asleep. Works like a charm.
My professor in psychology grad school presented it's functioning and said it's best taken not later than ninety minutes before bed.
Anecdotaly, I find melatonin usage helps my brain rewire itself every night. My belief is that increases the number of connections and associations that various concepts have, and it also elevates my mood. Not bad for something that costs mere pennies!
During the time I had almost no sleep, I would take quite a bit of melatonin in a desperate attempt to get some kind of rest. At times I would pop 25mg or more. I found there were no side effects, except perhaps being sleepy for the next couple of days.
I've also quit a number of times for various reasons. Just a few months ago I quit for three months due to surgery. I found quitting to be completely symptom-free, which kind of amazed me. I figured with years of usage, quitting would make it impossible to sleep. I based this opinion on numerous studies that show when you replace a naturally-occurring hormone with a supplement, your body stops producing it. Instead, I slept fine. Once I was out of the no-supplements period after surgery, I started back up with the melatonin. No side effects, and I almost immediately noticed an increase in creativity and mood.
I'm a supplement junkie. It's that irrational thing that I do, my black swan interest. Yes, I know, most of the market is just BS and marketing hype. But not all of it. Melatonin is one of the 2 or 3 supplements I use that I believe really make a huge and immediately perceivable difference. Can't recommend it highly enough.
What would the other 2 or 3 be? I've found Vitamin D (taken as a liquid) to be one.
Resveratrol is on my "maybe" list. I'm seeing some really interesting research, but the good stuff may end up being patented and sold as a drug, which sucks.
I'm still a Vitamin C fan, even though it's fallen out of favor. Seems to help when I've stressed out my system through alcohol or other chemical irritants.
Also on my "to-watch" list is delta tocotrienols, one of the components of vitamin E. Saw some interesting evidence that it might be good at actually helping to remove coronary artery blockage, but it's still WAY preliminary. And no, that's not a recommendation for vitamin E itself, which in larger doses can cause all sorts of problems. Just the delta series.
The B series of vitamins are interesting, as there seems to be a good-sized gap between the amount most people have in their bloodstream and the amount that they can carry easily. A little dose of B-12 seems to help me enormously with concentration. At least for a short period. YMMV.
Note this is all subjective, and based on half-assed research and gossip. That's one of the rules in this arena: there are no rules. :)
2) It might not be as effective as you're making it. It surely isn't as simple as "replacing the melatonin you're lacking". Melatonin you naturally produce happens in a series of step; the melatonin you take via a pill surpasses some of these steps, which means there isn't the same effect.
My girlfriend however reported nightmares when she started supplementing with it, but it appears to have gotten better.
Definitely recommend it if you travel internationally.
Melatonin related supplemements helps you relax quickly and really sleep deep.
I personally found that taking 1/3 of recommended dose works perfectly.
Taking full doze making me wake up in such a limb state - that it takes me literally one hour for muscles to get back into their ability to move the body.
Another thing is that I found that taking it for a week or two (no more) is optimal. Few cycles of deep, relaxed sleep are enough for body/mind to get into relatively better balance than before.
Adding regular physical exercise to the mix helps to reignite the whole system back.
1 week was enough for me.
It allows to relax and fall asleep quickly. Small doses will do and they will not diminish your ability to wake up and take care of kids.
Again - start with 1/3 of recommended dose and you should be fine.
I have no doubts that melatonin is very useful for getting to sleep quicker, but if the reduced sleep claim is accurate, then it may move from an occasional use when needed, to a default use.
There are many melatonin users here- any regular users care to share their feelings/anecdotes (or better!) on this?
I use melatonin when I know I'm stressed and would normally have trouble falling asleep. I try not to use it more than once a week and I am hesitant to habituate myself to it.
It is an interesting idea that my nights with early waking might nevertheless be more restful when taking melatonin, but I haven't noticed this particularly. Presently I am hoping more exercise will get me sleeping more solidly through the night.
My other 'hacks' to keep my sleep cycle regulated are f.lux where possible, using only dim incandescent lights in the evening around the house once I am ready for bed, and NOT using a laptop, iPad, or anything with white/blue LEDs in bed. Wake-up is accomplished with an alarm clock that activates a piece of "wall art" that slowly changes color spectrum to full daylight using LEDs and shines on the bed.
Having good control of my sleep cycle keeps jet lag, time changes, mid-night alerts, and other things that disrupt most people from disrupting me as much for as long.
I take 1mg of melatonin between 7 and 9pm in the target time zone's frame, usually starting the day I travel or sometimes the day before. This translates to taking a pill at noon or so in SF before flying to Europe. I follow that up with a pill on the first few evenings of a trip.
I've been doing this for a few years now, and the only remnant of jetlag on such trips is that I feel terrible around 3pm in Europe, which translates to 6am. So I'm guessing that my natural not-yet-shifted sleep cycle is rebelling at that point and trying to convince my body that I just stayed up all night.
Of course, I am an n=1 population size, and the routine has worked so well that I haven't dared to do a significant time zone shift without it. So it could just be me, or it could be the placebo effect. And I'm perfectly ok with that, as long as the jet lag stays at bay.
Melatonin is amazing for people that smoke weed. If you're one of those people that casually smoke but wake up the next morning feeling groggy and out of sync, take melatonin at night as directed in this article and other places. Getting into your bed will feel amazing. You will drift off to sleep, even if your iPad or music is on. And you will wake up like a normal person, except a bit more relaxed. As I became more and more successful I smoked less and less because of how it affected my performance the next day. With Melatonin I can smoke like Sophomore in college enjoying Adult Swim on a Sunday for the first time.
What no one else is talking about:
Melatonin can make you super constipated. Eat fiber, take fiber pills, eat a balanced diet high in vegetables and it should else. If you're on a neckbeard died, say goodbye to pooping regularly and when you do, it will be compact.
It's a prescription only med in some places (UK) so you might not be able to get it.
But it is "remarkably effective" for jet lag.
You might want to consider sleep hygiene as well as (or instead of) melatonin or other sleep meds. (I really like zopiclone.)
I think melatonin is a better drug for correcting problems with sleep cycles which can include jet lag, changes in season and the like but there's plenty you can do help your sleep quality without drugs.
Here's a great article (about Huntington's disease but applies to everyone - it really helped me) based on a published paper in Experimental Neurology:
Are you thinking of the Consumer Labs report? I quoted that in a footnote, but it does not show what you seem to think it showed:
> Can melatonin help you sleep? "Melatonin supplements may help some people get to sleep sooner, particularly those with chronic sleeping problems, but don't just buy any supplement - they vary [substantially] in strength, dosage, and cost," says ConsumerLab.com President, Tod Cooperman, M.D. ConsumerLab.com recently selected and tested nine different melatonin supplements. The testing showed that all contained their labeled amounts of melatonin, but the suggested daily dosage ranged from 1 mg to 50 mg [!]; and cost ranged from just 4 cents to $1.36 for an equivalent dose of melatonin. This means you may not be using the right dose for your needs and you could be paying as much as 33 times more than necessary. ConsumerLab.com also found that one supplement failed to properly disclose all of its ingredients.
That is, each contained all the melatonin it claimed to, but there were irresponsible doses being offered. Unfortunate, yes, but this is not a problem for anyone who did their homework and know what dose they want to try.
Doesn't seem to be prescription-only unless I'm misunderstanding.
The page you link to doesn't allow me to buy any product. Entering [melatonin] in their search box doesn't return any products containing melatonin.
"You can't buy melatonin over the counter in the UK" (http://www.webmd.boots.com/sleep-disorders/insomnia-in-adult...)
MHRA does regulate melatonin sales and prescriptions. Here are two examples:
UK website has prescription only melatonin, being advertised for off-label use (jet lag) and is told to stop (http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Howweregulate/Medicines/Advertisingof...) (Even though Cochrane found it's excellent for jetlag)
Also, unlicenced product (http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Howweregulate/Medicines/Advertisingof...)
EDIT: also, a web search for [buy codeine uk] returns many hits for offshore pharmacies selling into the UK.
I buy it when I'm in the US which is fine for me as I take it for jet lag but I know GPs (family doctors) I talk to are often confused to learn they can prescribe melatonin and will often prescribe much more powerful and, in my opinion, dangerous hypnotics. I think that's probably because there's no patent on melatonin so not much marketing push to inform GPs of its uses - though I believe there's a patented slow release version of melatonin that might get a bit of marketing behind it.
Zopiclone is not a benzodiazepine but I don't know if it has been studied in a similar manner.
My life partner started taking 20mg melatonin per day when she started her chemo and radiation treatment after surgery for grade III anaplastic glioma (fully resected) about year and a half ago. She's taking it ever since. No side effects. It doesn't seem to help her sleep. She always fell asleep easily and slept good.
We decided it should be safe for her as there was a research (can't locate it now) where some women were given 20mg/day dose for, I guess two years or so, in hopes it shows some contraceptive properties. It didn't but no side effects showed up.
Also, one thing I like about Melatonin is the lucidity of the dreams I experience while sleeping with it. Colors, sensations, and my memory of the dream the next morning are very intense.
Currently I'm using Valerian root, which is all-natural, and I don't develop a noticeable tolerance.
The article says:
> A 2010 trial tested a delayed-release melatonin over 6 months and found minimal adverse effects and no tolerance or "addiction"
It does help me get to sleep. I've used it about 10 times now and only once did I still have trouble falling asleep, and even then I did within an hour or so.
Unfortunately, it does NOT stop me from waking at 4:30 or 5 AM and then having trouble falling back asleep. Still, this is less stressful than not falling asleep in the first place.
Note that the probable effective dose is much lower than what you're likely to get in one pill from the store. I couldn't remember the effective dose, got 5mg pills, ended up quartering them.
I don't have any hangover effects, and I wonder if you all that do are taking too much.
It's worth trying if you have sleep issues.
9mg was too effective at putting me out in 30 min (I weigh 200lbs). It was too difficult to wake up in the morning. 6mg seems best. My minds eye feels like it's wearing a sleeping mask because dreams are few and far between.
When I stopped taking it, dreams became vivid and memorable. I also took ZMA before and that does nothing in terms of getting to sleep, but you get some crazy strong dreams while on it.
However I've found that just not eating for 6-8 hours before you go to bed helps much more. Even eating an apple can disrupt sleep. This works really well because if you suppress eating before you got to sleep, you also wake up on time and pretty fresh to boot.
The only downsides are that some people get tempted too easily to eat before bed or that if you absolutely have to stay late an hour or two more, you'll still wake up 16 hours after you stopped eating, leaving you with less sleep than intended.
While I know a lot of people have sleep disorders, I think a lot of people have bad sleep schedules simply because they can.
One thing I would love to know is (I may have missed it in the article) is whether melatonin supplements help with staying asleep. I fall asleep just fine (10-15 minutes, often earlier) but it's when my brain gets into a routine of waking up at 3 or 4 am that I find particularly hard to deal with. I've simply not worked out strategies around it yet.
In practice, however, that didn't occur, at least for me.
I have no idea why. It would interesting to see if this is true for others. It's certainly true for other hormones besides melatonin.
I have yet to see others mentioning the following answer so ...
My doctor advised using sprayed liquid melatonin (purchased at Whole Foods). 1-2 sprays under the tongue and held there for 30 seconds, then washed throughout the mouth (a highly vascularized area) and swallowed, transports the hormone consistently so that sleep is compelled in 1 to 1.5 hours with no morning grogginess.
Stranger still is the herd of commenters who condone the stuff. Do you really think this will make you need an hour less sleep than everyone else?
Sleep is important. Don’t intentionally destroy your body’s ability to regulate it. If you aren’t already addicted to melatonin, it’s not too late:
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
Don’t drink caffeine after breakfast.
Expose yourself to natural sunlight every day.
Don’t play Grand Theft Auto after midnight.
And boy.. I usually have no trouble falling asleep except when travelling or otherwise "out of sync" so I tried it and I felt like I wanted to sleep almost constantly for two days. So it works, but perhaps a bit too well for me, even with a single tablet. Maybe I have an abundance of melatonin already coursing my veins? :-)
I'd still recommend melatonin as a short term way to re-establish a regular bedtime/routine. Long term usage - less so.
I did stop taking it though because I felt depressed after about 2 weeks of taking it every day.
I will probably take it again periodically if I am traveling.
The main side effect is being much more tired when you wake up, and that is cured by coffee. I love the stuff.
I noticed this the very first time I tried it - I slept in on a weekend, about 13h total and then felt very fuzzy and hung over.
That only happened once, and now I take it nightly.
Other recommended sleep hack: Tempur-Pedic sleep mask.
Seriously, it costs a lot more than the cheap plastic ones (although still only $30) but it is worth its weight in gold. For shift workers, it's great - you can sleep like a baby in full sunlight.
My biggest problem still is that my alarm at 6AM wakes me during my active dream cycle and most restful sleep. I'm not sure how to time shift that to meet my needs.
I'm using it mainly to track my sleep quality and to see my sleep patterns, but the app can wake you up when you're in the lightest sleep phase.
Unfortunately, I didn't use it extensively, so I can't give you adequate opinion on the wake-up function, but it's worth the try.
I'm living in Germany, but not a native speaker, that's why I'm asking.
Is it safe (is it worth it) taking Melatonin if you're under 30 years old?