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Altostrata

Melatonin for sleep

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Insomnia in withdrawal and withdrawal syndrome is very common. Not only is it exhausting in itself, it seems to make all the other symptoms worse.

 

Darkness triggers melatonin, the nighttime sleep hormone made by the pineal gland to signal our brains that it's time to sleep. The natural human sleep-wake cycle is from nightfall to dawn. (Sunrise starts cortisol, the daytime activity hormone, which in excess causes the awful anxiety, depression, and insomnia of withdrawal syndrome.)

 

For several years, I've found a little melatonin helps a lot, at least in getting to sleep. (Staying asleep is a different problem.) Many people find melatonin to be helpful, but like everything else, individuals differ in their reactions. If it works for you, it works very well with almost no side effects other than a little drowsiness in the morning.

 

Studies show you don't need much melatonin to get sleep started, just .33mg. Often you can't get melatonin in smaller than 1mg tablets; half a tablet, .50mg may be close enough. These are physiological doses, the level that your body ordinarily maintains, rather than medical doses. If you get no effect with .3-.5mg, try a little more. (Personally, under my doctor's supervision, I worked up to 2mg melatonin at night. I've been taking it regularly every night for 3 years. I do not believe I've developed a dependency on it; I get sleepy when it gets dark anyway. Additional melatonin gives my brain a gentle reminder it's time to sleep.)

 

Large doses of melatonin do NOT aid sleep -- they might cause your oversensitive brain to wake up, instead. I found when I took more than 2mg of melatonin, I was weepy in the morning. If you get this or a paradoxical reaction (waking) or are dopey in the morning, it's a sign you're taking too much.

 

According to what I've read and conversations with doctors I trust, your body does NOT get dependent on it and does NOT compensate by reducing natural melatonin output. Of all the difficult choices available to us, melatonin is relatively safe.

 

It is important to take melatonin in accordance to the natural sleep-wake cycle, or you might train your body to a different cycle. Your adrenals also run on a sleep schedule of approximately 10 p.m. to dawn. They tend to reactivate if you stay up later, which may keep you from sleeping. If you can, get to bed by 10 p.m. and retrain your sleep cycle.

 

According to my doctor, a sleep medicine specialist, if you've spent most of your life sleeping fairly regularly, you can get back on the neural pathways for a normal sleep cycle.

 

Here's how to re-establish your sleep cycle with melatonin:

- Start with .25mg-.50mg melatonin for 3-4 days.

- Take at the same time, nightfall (but, given that it's summer, not later than 8 p.m.), every night.

- If needed, gradually increase by .25mg for 3-4 days at a time.

- Use the lowest effective dose.

- Try to turn lights off or keep lights low after sundown. Your bedroom should be quiet and dark. Darkness triggers natural melatonin production. Artificial lighting, including staring into the computer, can give the wrong signal to your pineal gland.

- Keep to a very regular schedule -- this is what your circadian rhythm needs.

- Do NOT take melatonin regularly at any time but nightfall or you might scramble your sleep-wake cycle.

 

I have gotten good results with Source Naturals sublingual melatonin, which comes in 1mg tablets. It is very inexpensive, 100 tablets for around $6. Trader Joe's, a food store in the US, is now carrying chewable melatonin in .5mg (500mcg) tablets at a very reasonable price, under $4.00. At last, a source for melatonin in the right starting dosage. Those Trader Joe's folks are brilliant. Their supplements are usually reliable.

Edited by Altostrata
updated

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stan   
stan

it is well known that american take many supplements, i scare , i am totally blocked since my paxil adventures, i fear to trust, i am suspiscious, i am in withdrawal, maybe , a day ...

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summer   
summer

Trader Joe's, a food store in the US, is now carrying chewable melatonin in .5mg (500mcg) tablets at a very reasonable price, under $4.00. At last, a source for melatonin in the right starting dosage. Those Trader Joe's folks are brilliant. Their supplements are usually reliable.

 

I tried taking melatonin about a year ago, altho I don't remb what brand or how much I took. I think I may have taken too much. I just remb not liking how I felt. When I come back I think I'll try it again... with TJ's .5mg.

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summer   
summer

I started taking melatonin again a few weeks ago - .3mg. It was like taking a placebo. Didn't do anything to relax me, and I stopped taking it. Some people have had success with it... I didn't.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Perhaps you need a little more, summer?

 

I worked up to 2mg -- that's what I take every night.

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summer   
summer

Perhaps you need a little more, summer?

 

I worked up to 2mg -- that's what I take every night.

 

Hmmmm... I returned the bottle but I'm pretty sure I meant to say 3mg.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Melatonin is one of those things where you have to take just the right amount. Too little will do nothing and too much will not help.

 

Studies have shown, for most people, as little as .25mg can be effective for sleep. That's why it's a good idea to start very low and work up gradually, to find the lowest effective dosage for you.

 

Too much melatonin can even keep you awake. It can have other side effects too -- grogginess in the morning, moodiness. I'm taking 2mg, when I tried 3mg, it made me weepy the next day.

 

I don't know why stores sell 3mg tablets. That's way too much for most people to begin with. There is a fad, however, of taking large doses of melatonin for supposed life-extension properties.

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summer   
summer

There is a fad, however, of taking large doses of melatonin for supposed life-extension properties.

 

Well, why didn't you say that before? Now, I'm going out to buy every bottle of melatonin I can find. Think I'll try mixing it in with mashed potatoes. :D

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neurosoup   
neurosoup

Dear Alostrata,

 

I was wondering since your doctor is a sleep specialist how long before bed does he recommend taking melatonin for it to kick in? Also I was wondering if he has any advice about how to help nocturia which is causing sleep disturbance?

 

I have chemical poisoning and was also wondering if he has any advice for someone who it takes a long time to fall asleep for example from up to 2-3 hours.

 

Thanks,

Neurosoup

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Hi, neurosoup. I attached your question to the existing Melatonin topic. Just about everything I know about melatonin is posted above.

 

Take melatonin at nightfall. It also helps to turn off all the lights, so your brain gets the message it's time for sleep. Computers and bright lights give your brain the stay-awake signal.

 

A little magnesium can help relax you.

 

Also see these topics Important topics about symptoms, including sleep problems

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Jemima   
Jemima

I'm a night person, at least for now after my sleep cycle got decimated by antidepressants, and speaking only for myself I found that taking Melatonin at nightfall didn't work - it wore off hours before I was ready to go to bed. I now take it roughly one to two hours before I plan to go to sleep, and that works for me.

 

Other things that have helped are shutting the computer down early in the evening and not doing anything stimulating or irritating after dinner, such as reading my beloved detective stories, elaborate cooking, or assembling furniture. Gentle, slow exercise seems to be okay, but nothing that gets the heart rate elevated. I leave only enough lights on to prevent falling over the furniture plus a low-wattage bedside light for reading. The idea is to slow down from daily activites and *relax*.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Just wanted to note that I have been taking 2mg melatonin nightly for 3 years with no ill effects.

 

I do not believe it causes physical dependency -- half-life is only a few hours -- but I intend to taper off when my sleep is stable.

 

Melatonin does not downregulate any receptors.

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fefesmom   
fefesmom

Hi. Thanks for all the information on melatonin. I am going to TJs later and get some. I have been going to sleep around 10pm and then get up around 4am to feed my cat (she is very demanding) and when I get back into bed the bad/negative thoughts start up. I try meditation, breathing etc. etc. but spiral downward and finally get up around 4:30am. Does anyone have any suggestions about when to stop eating in the evening? Does it matter? I do often watch tv/movie until I go to sleep and maybe that isn't so good either. I recently got DVR so have no reason to watch tv/movie late. What do you think? I am going to shut down the computer at 6pm and see if that helps. I have no trouble falling asleep and even fall back to sleep after I get up to use the bathroom around 3 a.m. Your input will be appreciated. I also read another thread about aromatherapy and am going to get my lavender oil out and start sniffing Thanks. FM

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

It seems to me the problem is dear little Fefe waking you up at 4 a.m. If she didn't wake you up, would you be able to sleep later?

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fefesmom   
fefesmom

Hi. I do think you are right. I think I will "banish" her from the bedroom tonight and see how that goes. In the past, she paws under the door and when I open it in the a.m. she is right there. I did buy some melatonin at TJs today and will try it if this doesn't work. I think I'll "banish" her for 3-4 nights and see how that goes. I guess she needs to learn that she doesn't get fed at that ungodly hour either. Thanks!!

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Maybe you could give her a little food before you go to bed and she won't get hungry.

 

TJs had 1mg melatonin, last time I looked. Is that what you got?

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fefesmom   
fefesmom

Hi again. I will try the food at night; the TJ melatonin is 500mcg - I'm not sure what that is in grams. Could you tell me what it is in grams??? Thanxxxx

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fefesmom   
fefesmom

I just googled it. It looks like 500mcg is .5mg. If I take it should I start with .5 mg and work up if needed?

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Right. You could even cut it in half and start with .25mg.

 

TJs is great -- even carrying reasonable doses of melatonin! They make a good fish oil, too.

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fefesmom   
fefesmom

Hi. Eureka. I hope. Went to sleep at 9pm last night. Slept through til my usual 3:15 to do my business. Gave Fefe a scoop of food. Right back to bed and closed the door. Slept through until 5:15. Got up (enough sleep at 8 hours) and she was lying right outside the door. Fed her. Everyone is happy. Thanks for your suggestion. I still have the melatonin in case I have to bring out the big guns, so to speak.

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jfrank17   
jfrank17

Hi I was reading about melatonin and was able to get the Source Naturals 1 mg sublingual. I was just wondering if these are able to even be divided down to half so I could start out with 0.5? I wish I had a Trader Joe's around here. They seem to have so many good things available.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Yes, you can cut them up. I use them all the time.

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alexjuice   
alexjuice

I haven't yet tried melatonin... Dunno why not, probably the state of fogged confusion I live in played a part...

 

I need some sleep. I know others have experienced insomnia. I have through this process but intermittently. Last few months lack of sleep, waking with anxiety... It is wearing me done and affecting my health.

 

I think the benzos I take used to help but they aren't helping me since I entered this phase after a bad detox bath in Febuary.

 

Some health practioner at the People's compounding Rx recommended melatonin. And I thought, "duh...why haven't I tried that...I have some at home." anyway she recommended a 5mg sublingual and told me shed be okay with me going up to 25mg... I said, "yeah, ok...um, thanks..."

 

25mg is not a good dose for me. And this, any forum browsers or new members, is why it's so critical to check with the collective wisdom before following advice of a naturopath clueless about w/d hypersensitivities.

 

Anyway, I am totally exhausted, totally. I hope I don't spend 5 or 6 hours lying in the dark waiting for the sandman tonight. Need to sleep.

 

Hope everyone is feeling okay.

 

Alex

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

5mg-25mg melatonin is over the top.

 

If you have a 5mg tablet, you might try cutting it into quarters and then taking a piece of one of those.

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enufodat   
enufodat

I've had fairly good success with 3 mg melatonin plus l-theanine (that also includes magnesium). Definitely seems to work better taking both. Doesn't work every night, but helps considerably overall. The melatonin is time-released; I read in a couple of places that that is helpful for STAYing asleep. It seems to help for me, although when I tried it previously, non-time released, I was taking 5 mg so it may have just been the dose.

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alexjuice   
alexjuice

5mg-25mg melatonin is over the top.

 

If you have a 5mg tablet, you might try cutting it into quarters and then taking a piece of one of those.

 

That was my exact feeling.

 

Turns out we had a sublingual. I took .5mg twice. I take my morning blood sugar now and I had a bump of about 15 points. A search showed this sometimes happens. Also, I experienced a positive blood flow effect blow he belt and possibly even a testosterone boost. The morning after the second dosing I had a blood draw check t. It was up a bit. Maybe he better sleep caused this but, if I recall, a google search showed the melatonin as a possible cause.

 

I decided, due to the prediabetic sugars to stop the melatonin. My morning readings have returned to normal range.

 

I may find I can use melatonin safely and effectively by changing the dose or other variables. I sure could use some good sleep.

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basildev   
basildev

Hey everyone,

 

I'm reading conflicting stories on the net about melatonin.

 

Many sites say not to take it if you're currently taking an antidepressant.

 

Is this true?

 

Thanks in advance

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peggy   
peggy

i have taken 3mg fairly regularly at different times. I think it works really well, but sometimes i feel a little groggy the next day. I think it helps to get you back into a routine.

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alexjuice   
alexjuice

Interesting that this comes up. I have been unable to take melatonin because it triggers potent benzo withdrawal symptoms. So odd.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Fears of serotonin syndrome from taking melatonin with an antidepressant are somewhat overblown. There was a fad a while back of melatonin as a youth pill with people taking excessive amounts of melatonin, perhaps that's the danger.

 

If you take a reasonable amount, less than 5mg (see the first post in this topic), I doubt it would be a problem.

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basildev   
basildev

Just tried it 0.5mg last night when I woke at 2AM

 

I know you're supposed to take it before you go to sleep but I have no problem at all falling asleep.

 

It's sleep maintenance I have a problem with.

 

I had nothing to lose. I did fall back asleep for a couple of hours.

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peggy   
peggy

i still think i would try taking it before going to sleep - that way it might help you fall back to sleep faster - did you have any problems with .5mg? Maybe try a little more before you go to bed. What about the lactium? I got mine from a Priceline Phy - Ethical Nutrients - it is packaged as a stress and anxiety formula

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basildev   
basildev

Hey Peggy,

 

I'll try that option tonight. I have to work today so I was terrified if I took it before bed it might interfere with my falling asleep (which wasn't a problem before) and end up getting no sleep at all.

 

0.5 mg was fine. I'll go up to 1mg tonight and see what happens

 

I've ordered lactium, that's on its way.

 

Tried the sleep mask, that made no difference. I still wake up regardless

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mammaP   
mammaP

My daughter used malatonin for a year or so and it was really good for her.

She bought some for her husband and he did well on it too then suddenly

it's not allowed in the UK without a prescription! It is unlicensed for sale

here and there are just 2 brands that are licensed for doctors to prescribe!

I just tried to buy some online for myself after reading this

and had to order from the US!

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alexjuice   
alexjuice

My daughter used malatonin for a year or so and it was really good for her.

She bought some for her husband and he did well on it too then suddenly

it's not allowed in the UK without a prescription! It is unlicensed for sale

here and there are just 2 brands that are licensed for doctors to prescribe!

I just tried to buy some online for myself after reading this

and had to order from the US!

 

That's terrible. I suspect we're heading in that direction here in the US. More states are making it illegal to order lab panels yourself.

 

I expect the big pharma will start buying up the supplement makers and find ways to patent 'improved' vitamins. Meanwhile, smaller producers will be forced out of business by new, costly regulations for 'the public safety' or simply making their products illegal except via prescription. That's my long term prediction ...

 

I take melatonin and it helps me sleep well. At Life Extension they sell a 10mg melatonin so I am comfortable with any dose under 2 or 3mg, personally. However, I am very cautious to introduce supplements at very low doses to avoid adverse or hyperactive reaction.

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