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mlktwins

Please talk to me about taking Melatonin :-)

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So...I am not getting a lot of sleep these days.  I am exhausted and fall asleep easily, but I'm up between 3 and 6 hours later.  I have a lot on my plate right now (very stressful things and I am running on fumes.

I have medical anxiety and worry about having a bad reaction to medication (it happened before and started my medical anxiety).  I was at Costco the other day and picked up Natrol brand Melatonin 5 mg extra strength.  Instructions say to take 1 tablet 20 minutes before bedtime.  I am scared to take it -- LOL -- but I really need to get some sleep on a more regular basis.

I don't want to read on-line about reactions because that will increase my medical anxiety :P! 

Anyone care to share their experience?  I would really appreciate it.  I know I need to take better care of myself, exercise, and eat better, but that isn't likely to happen until late spring.

 

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My understanding is that Melatonin helps you fall asleep, but not stay asleep. Can you talk to your doctor or maybe a therapist for ideas?

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Melatonin is made from recycled serotonin, so perhaps your meds need tweaking (if you're on any) and/or you need to increase your intake of foods that contain the ingredients for serotonin.

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2 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Melatonin is made from recycled serotonin, so perhaps your meds need tweaking (if you're on any) and/or you need to increase your intake of foods that contain the ingredients for serotonin.

I'm not on any medications except vitamins, but I have meds for anxiety if needed.  I rarely take them.  I will look at foods that contain serotinin.

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I'd start with a much lower dose. I've found that for me 0.5 mg. is good (but I'm a relatively small person). It helps me sleep but doesn't cause weird dreams or leave me groggy the next morning. 

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Sorry about your sleep troubles!

One of our dc tried melatonin to help him sleep. It didn't help him stay asleep, and it gave him weird dreams, so he stopped taking it. I am interested in learning more about lower doses because I often wake up between 1-3 AM and have trouble getting back to sleep.

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I would start with a much lower dose and see how much you need.  You can also get time released melatonin that is supposed to help you stay asleep.

I struggle with this a great deal but found that the Meijer brand Women's centruy multivitamin/mineral really helps.   I started taking it for the iron but it heloedy sleep.

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Melatonin has been a life saver for me.  I use 3 mg.  It is not always successful, but most of the time it lets me sleep through the night.  I have no ill effects.  I hope you get some rest!!

Edited by bzymom
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As far as anxiety goes, I found 5-htp to be far more effective. Melatonin is good for me when I am changing my bedtime due to shift work, but doesn’t really help me get to sleep if I’m not already relaxed and ready to sleep.

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I have been taking 3 mg to help me get to sleep.  It has been a lifesaver.  I am usually sleepy and ready to go to sleep about 30 min after taking it.

My daughter has taken it for years (as directed by her pediatric neurologist).  It has been fantastic for her. 

As someone else stated, melatonin will help you go to sleep, but not stay asleep.  However, I have found that it does help me get into a better sleep and thus I have been sleeping better all night long.

Edit:  Also, I have found that I am not groggy or "hung over" the morning after taking it, I just feel much more rested and alert.

Edited by peacelovehomeschooling
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My experience with giving it to kids is that it's good for falling asleep, but not for staying asleep. An eighth of a pill works fine for them (these are little kids taking kiddie pills, YMMV), so you might try breaking up a pill and seeing what amount works for you. I don't like using it because it can leave them feeling groggy the next day. I find that we don't need it much, anyway. For us it works best as a re-set, something to do for just a few days to get the body used to a good sleeping schedule again. I think it really depends on the nature of your sleep problems. Good luck!

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1 hour ago, arctic_bunny said:

As far as anxiety goes, I found 5-htp to be far more effective.

Yup. You can even run your genetics at 23andme (or download from wherever else you had them run) and see if your TPH2 is defective. If it is, then you would take the 5-HTP, which bumps your serotonin AND melatonin, helping the anxiety and insomnia, boom.

Melatonin is a methyl donor, and only a very small amount is needed. If you don't tolerate methyls well (due to other genetic defects), then you could have some side effects from that too. Another thing that can contribute to waking in the night is b vitamins. Have you tried eating some brown rice? 

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The forms that aren't extended release last about 3 hours--so not great for staying asleep, just getting to sleep initially as others have said. However, they do make extended release forms. I would try one of those instead of regular if you want to take it to start your night. In fact, that might be the best thing to try in your case I think. You should be able to get extended release forms local to you. 

Or, alternately, you can take regular melatonin when you wake up in the night to see if it helps you go back to sleep. My son was instructed to do that by his sleep medicine doctor (though his problem is falling, not staying asleep). Just don't take it (non-extended release forms for this) if you don't have 3 hours to sleep. If I'm 5-6 hours into sleep, I've not had success with that myself. But it may help. 

My son has been taking melatonin, with doctor suggestion/endorsement since he was around 3 years old. I take it as needed. I do not think melatonin is at all risky to try. 

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I started my ds on it several months back, it has been wonderful for him. He still doesn't sleep alot but falls asleep much quicker and sleeps soundly, he wakes in the morning with no trouble. He is about 105 and takes 0.5 mg, that seems to be the perfect dose for him. 

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We keep melatonin gummies on hand at all times.  We all find them incredibly helpful when we are having trouble sleeping.  I buy 2.5 mg gummies from Walmart.  The dosage on the package says to take two, but we all almost always just take one.  About 30 minutes after I've taken one, I feel ready to sleep.   I settle myself in and I have a counting pattern that I repeat and I fall asleep easily.   Taking just one melatonin, I've never felt groggy or had issues the next day.   The few times I took two of the gummies, I had issues if I didn't have the time to devote to extra sleep.

That being said, if I've had a series of clunkers of days and I just really need a night of long, deep sleep, I will take the full dose and take two gummies. 

Both of my kids take one gummy the night before an event that would normally keep them up all night in anticipation. DS used to really struggle the night before a dance competition- he'd lay awake all night long.  That one gummy makes such a difference for him.  He doesn't necessarily get a solid night of sleep, but he gets some, which is more than he was getting before.

We're pro melatonin here.  

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Just my opinion--Personally, I would not use anecdotal evidence as the sole source of advice when it comes to taking something that acts on the brain like melatonin.  I would ask my Dr.'s advice, too, since she knows me, my medical history, and the interactions and side effects (and proper dosage for me) of supplements and medications. Not everyone agrees, but I have read cautionary articles about self-dosing with melatonin.  

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I have started keeping melatonin next to my bed; that way if I wake up during the night and can't fall back to sleep I can take it then.

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Personally I have found an herbal formula called Deep Sleep or 5-htp taken before bedtime better for my sleeping.  I have trouble with headaches in general,  and melatonin supplement was a headache trigger for me  

As others have said, melatonin is related to hormonal biorhythm regulation, so I am not sure it is a good idea to take it outside of trying to fix something like jet lag.  I think melatonin production is supposed to decrease with age, so if you are older and your own production of melatonin is low, that might be a reason to use it.  Also bodies don’t produce it well if there is light affecting pineal gland, so making sure you have a dark room could be better than a supplement .  

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1 hour ago, Pen said:

Personally I have found an herbal formula called Deep Sleep or 5-htp taken before bedtime better for my sleeping.  I have trouble with headaches in general,  and melatonin supplement was a headache trigger for me  

As others have said, melatonin is related to hormonal biorhythm regulation, so I am not sure it is a good idea to take it outside of trying to fix something like jet lag.  I think melatonin production is supposed to decrease with age, so if you are older and your own production of melatonin is low, that might be a reason to use it.  Also bodies don’t produce it well if there is light affecting pineal gland, so making sure you have a dark room could be better than a supplement .  

You're the only other person I know who this happens to!  Even our doctor didn't seem to believe us.  Both my dh and a dd have trouble sleeping, and both have chronic migraines.  Melatonin over and over again has triggered a headache or migraine for them.  We finally figured it out and they no longer take it.   What can you tell me about Deep Sleep/5-htp?

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Taking Melatonin regularly can effect your body's production of your own melatonin.  It is ok to take it short term to help reset your sleep.  However, first I would try, 30 minutes of exercise daily combined with 30 minutes of sunlight.  Dimming the lights in your home at 7 p.m. and making sure you either avoid screens altogether or put blue light filters on everything since blue light inhibits the release of melatonin.

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3 hours ago, J-rap said:

You're the only other person I know who this happens to!  Even our doctor didn't seem to believe us.  Both my dh and a dd have trouble sleeping, and both have chronic migraines.  Melatonin over and over again has triggered a headache or migraine for them.  We finally figured it out and they no longer take it.   What can you tell me about Deep Sleep/5-htp?

 

Either taken about an hour before bedtime seems to help sleep quality for me. And neither seems to trigger my migraines.

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Besides/in addition to medicating, have you tried exercise? Something that's fun, completely distracting from the stress, and tiring. it's really helped me through some tough weeks. I can't fit it in all the time, but it really helps rebuild some energy and peace of mind.

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My doctor wanted me to try Melatonin this past winter. It didn't work in the sense that my biggest problem is early waking insomnia and it also gave me a migraine. So no to that and back to Trazadone at a slightly higher dose.

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On 9/29/2018 at 7:03 AM, Chris in VA said:

Just my opinion--Personally, I would not use anecdotal evidence as the sole source of advice when it comes to taking something that acts on the brain like melatonin.  I would ask my Dr.'s advice, too, since she knows me, my medical history, and the interactions and side effects (and proper dosage for me) of supplements and medications. Not everyone agrees, but I have read cautionary articles about self-dosing with melatonin.  

 

My husband swears by melatonin (he started using it for jet lag), and I finally tried it & found that it doesn't help me fall asleep, but it does help me sleep through the night better. So I started taking it every night. However, we just got back from England and found out that there, one can get melatonin only with a doctor's prescription, and only for people 55+ who have sleep disorders. Doctors in Europe have misgivings about melatonin's effects on body/brain chemistry (as Chris says). So now I am re-thinking my habit. 

P.S. We met someone (a Brit) who buys melatonin when in the States, then smuggles it back into the UK in a candy jar ....

Edited by Laura in CA
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There  is a slow release form which is supposed help keep you asleep. I envy that you can get it at Walmart etc.  Here I can only get it on prescription and it is 50 cents per mg.  Ds9 takes 2 to 3 1mg pills a night.

Edited by kiwik
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OP here!  Thanks everyone for your input!  

I'm going to do a bit more research and talk to my doctor (need to schedule a physical and blood work anyway).  I am going to try to get in some exercise and take my vitamins in the meantime :-)!!!

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You can manipulate natural melatonin levels by changing your light exposure. Wear amber glasses for two hours before bed, then wear a sleep mask (unless your bedroom is pitch dark). You can rea d about this approach at lowbluelights.com

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Sometimes that waking in the middle of the night is hormones. I don't know your age, but it's another thing to add to the mix. And are you getting tired unusually early? You said you're exhausted at night. Starting at what time? There's such a thing as sleep phase disorders, and in one of them you tire early and wake up early, ie. the whole sleep cycle shifts too early. So in a situation like that, you're supposed to be doing the OPPOSITE, keeping the lights ON in the evenings, getting more sun during the day to reset your circadian clock, etc. 

There's research on using melatonin to reset circadian issues, sure, but if it's actually a sleep phase issue then dealing with the root problem (needing more sun exposure and more light overall) would help.

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11 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Sometimes that waking in the middle of the night is hormones. I don't know your age, but it's another thing to add to the mix. And are you getting tired unusually early? You said you're exhausted at night. Starting at what time? There's such a thing as sleep phase disorders, and in one of them you tire early and wake up early, ie. the whole sleep cycle shifts too early. So in a situation like that, you're supposed to be doing the OPPOSITE, keeping the lights ON in the evenings, getting more sun during the day to reset your circadian clock, etc. 

There's research on using melatonin to reset circadian issues, sure, but if it's actually a sleep phase issue then dealing with the root problem (needing more sun exposure and more light overall) would help.

I am 51 and hormones are definitely playing a role!  I am also getting ready to move my dad from his home of 50 years to a seniors apartment complext.  That is my biggest stressor at the moment!

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1 minute ago, Terabith said:

Magnesium is something else to look into.

Yes, thank you!  I just started taking my Natural Calm again yesterday :-).

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2 minutes ago, mlktwins said:

Yes, thank you!  I just started taking my Natural Calm again yesterday :-).

fwiw I never had any luck with Natural Calm helping me sleep but Mag Glycinate helps.

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2 hours ago, mlktwins said:

I am 51 and hormones are definitely playing a role!  I am also getting ready to move my dad from his home of 50 years to a seniors apartment complext.  That is my biggest stressor at the moment!

Oh dear, we did that a couple years ago. It's really rough in the moment but good once everything calms down. 

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