1

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Melatonin for sleep?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 10, 2011 at 9:43 PM

If anyone has had experience with supplementing melatonin at night, what have you found to be a good amount? Do you prefer the sublingual or the timed release?

B9673e4701dbf7017da7d75e9a44da6d

(609)

on February 29, 2012
at 03:57 PM

I live in Amsterdam and saw Melatonin on the shelf at the health store today.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on February 29, 2012
at 02:21 PM

According to my thyroid/hormone doc, that is false-and he specializes in this. That's not hard proof or anything, but I think he knows since he sees patients that use it like every single day.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 29, 2012
at 08:07 AM

Yeah they made it OTC again when they saw all the positive studies around it.

Medium avatar

(393)

on February 28, 2012
at 10:27 PM

It's not true that you would only get Melatonin with a prescription here, in The Netherlands. One can buy it OTC in drugstores. I even saw 5mg tablets! It used to be that you had to have a prescription but apparantly changed.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on December 12, 2011
at 01:21 AM

Quick google search has at least one forum post claiming melatonin is banned in the EU.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on December 12, 2011
at 01:20 AM

Quick search has at least one forum post claiming melatonin is banned in the EU.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on December 12, 2011
at 01:16 AM

Netherlands. To be more accurate, it's prescription only. Same in Finland, and I'd imagine most of EU.

C1c86f42410cd4788bd9c5cf801dcd8f

(2246)

on December 11, 2011
at 11:01 PM

Where are you that is is illegal?

7255a87872b75e6f691d84dca769b87e

on December 11, 2011
at 07:55 PM

If your shades are shut you won't wake up naturally at all.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on December 11, 2011
at 09:13 AM

I'd worry about screwing up your own melatonin production by using it on a regular basis. My father-in-law basically can't sleep anymore without taking melatonin. Not so sure that's a good thing.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on December 11, 2011
at 02:14 AM

Melatonin can worsen depression in some studies. I stay far far away from it - not least because it's illegal here.

Medium avatar

on December 11, 2011
at 01:37 AM

Also, it's not recommended for people with digestive problems because it slows gastric emptying, which is the main reason I had to stop taking it. It's very similar to serotonin in that most of it is made in the gut and like serotonin it can help some people with IBS and hurt others depending on their symptoms.

Medium avatar

on December 11, 2011
at 01:34 AM

I think the main reason not to take it is because the body no longer has to produce its own melatonin, and you have to ask, if a person can't sleep without melatonin, what's causing their natural production of melatonin to be lower or stopped completely? Other hormones like cortisol and leptin affect melatonin production so taking melatonin is just treating the symptom. I do think it can be used temporarily to reset one's circadian rhythm which studies show it does, and for people switching time zones, but not for long term use.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 11, 2011
at 01:13 AM

And why not just take melatonin, which has a decent safety record?

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on December 10, 2011
at 11:31 PM

If your shades are shut I don't think it will wake you up earlier than usual

Medium avatar

on December 10, 2011
at 11:08 PM

I don't agree with Peat on that because as long as you get enough of all the other amino acids in your diets, especially from bone broths, it balances out. Plus, if you take it at night most of it is converted to melatonin. If you're worried about tryptophan having its own negative effects take 5thp which is one step closer to conversion to serotonin. Many people take either of these and find they help with sleep. For people with insomnia they likely have hormone imbalances so ideally fixing those will help with sleep, but if they're having trouble doing so or until they do, these can help

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 10, 2011
at 10:55 PM

Would not try tryphtophan; read ray peat on supplementing with individual amino acids, especially tryphtophan. Or just look up tryphtophan supplements and eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome

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11 Answers

4
Medium avatar

on December 10, 2011
at 09:56 PM

Haven't tried timed release. Sublingual works for me.

Experiment with the dosage, see what works for you. High doses of melatonin (50 mg) dramatically increased REM sleep time and dream activity in both people with and without narcolepsy:

Lewis, Alan (1999). Melatonin and the Biological Clock. McGraw-Hill. p. 23. ISBN 0-87983-734-9.

There's widespread reference online to an extensive clinical trial, where a high dose of 75 milligrams of melatonin per day was given to 1400 women in the Netherlands for up to four years with no ill effects. Haven't found the citation for the study, however.

Use melatonin with darkness. That is, when you're done with computer, TV, and reading. Exposure to bright lights in the evening disrupts the normal melatonin cycle of the body.

Don't the the idea of some safe Paleo "norm" keep you from experimenting. Larger doses of melatonin expand dream potential. Our ancestors knew the importance of dreams. They were guided by their dreams in charting their quests. So check the dosage label for "relaxation" or "sleep," and then up the dosage and go for some serious nighttime inner voyaging.

3
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on December 10, 2011
at 09:48 PM

Dosage is very individualized, you have to experiment..and time release or not depends on if you can't fall asleep at first versus night waking that keeps you up.

2
4a80da7ba5f4034bd1988a627f2db5b5

on February 29, 2012
at 04:55 AM

To me it is relatively mild in strength but definitely abnormal. I used it only a few times because I wanted to find a reason for my insomnia instead. Because the melatonin comes from a pill and not your own pineal gland as a part of a natural need for sleep, I can't see that it will help sleep health over the long term, wouldn't it just confuse your brain? I don't think anyone can tell yet whether a pineal gland is functioning by scanning it in any way, except if there is an obvious tumor destroying it, or other obvious structural damage. In that case I would think you'd be a chronic insomniac, unable to do much of anything, and melatonin supplements wouldn't be useful at that point.

So I think now the mainstream thought is that melatonin can be useful for jetlag and temporary disruptions to sleep that you might have avoided except for the cicrumstances, for nearly all people.

There are stronger prescription-free sleep aids you can use (doxylamine, but watch out for diphenhydramine) but in my experience I felt temporarily messed up as a trade to using them (only a few times at normal doses), and not cured of anything. I suggest not dealing with sleep aids at all. If you use sleep aids please don't drive for some days after using them, because you can be clumsier than usual and not know it.

2
De787530dd6cf65e2cd03ada9f4cd214

on December 11, 2011
at 08:01 PM

I had some horrible experiences with melatonin, and will never touch the stuff ever again (but other people use it with no problems).

I had tried a 1 mg dose the first night, and it worked like a charm to resolve my insomnia issues. However, the following night, I took 1 mg again, and couldn't sleep a wink -- and the following morning, when I had to get up for work, I felt like I had literally been dosed with horse tranquilizers, I felt so completely doped up and incapacitated. That night, I took 2 mg, and it worked great. But then, the night after that, I took 2 mg again, and couldn't sleep at all, and again felt super-drugged the following morning. Apparently, my body was quickly developing a tolerance for melatonin, and was requiring ever-higher doses just to fall asleep.

2
464e1c66609d402615ae2b3cf72d53fb

(1472)

on December 10, 2011
at 11:20 PM

1mg a night works for me. I take it about a 1/2 hr before I'm ready to go to bed. For some reason more than 1mg tends to screw up my sleep.

2
6e37f170409bc1b100c880c57508c5fd

on December 10, 2011
at 10:38 PM

Love it! I use Source Naturals from WF. I started with 1MG but read on one of the Paleo blog's to do 1/2MG. While I never had a problem sleeping pre-Paleo, once I went Paleo I had so much energy that trying to FALL asleep was very difficult.

1/2 MG 1/2 hr before I want to fall asleep does the trick. I usually take it at 8:30pm and always feel it coming on so I just turn the TV in the LR off. I make sure I have already done my last dog potty run, my night-time rituals done (brushed teeth, taken vitamins, pjs, etc) so I can just fall asleep on the floor near the dog (see Durante's post on this). The dog usually wakes me up a few hours later, and I haul myself to bed (DH likes to sleep with TV on), turn the TV off and climb into bed. I sleep soundly until 7am and usually don't hear the household rising before me. I do have to be careful climbing the stairs. I'm not groggy when I awake 9 hrs later. I feel very refreshed. After having had CFS for a few yrs prior to Paleo and never feeling refreshed in the morning, this is great!

HTH!

2
7255a87872b75e6f691d84dca769b87e

on December 10, 2011
at 10:08 PM

I've tried melatonin and I dislike it. Because the hormone causes your body to respond to lightness and darkness as opposed to just making you sleepy, it won't work if you have lights on when you take it. It will also wake you up earlier than usual - when the sun starts to rise - so it can disrupt a full eight to ten hours of sleep. While someone who goes to bed at seven or eight could probably get away with taking melatonin, for most people who have to work into the night it won't function in a beneficial way. Calming, cortisol lowering, routines might enhance sleep more.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on December 10, 2011
at 11:31 PM

If your shades are shut I don't think it will wake you up earlier than usual

7255a87872b75e6f691d84dca769b87e

on December 11, 2011
at 07:55 PM

If your shades are shut you won't wake up naturally at all.

2
Medium avatar

on December 10, 2011
at 10:01 PM

Try tryptophan or 5htp instead, they give the body the raw materials it needs to make more melatonin. I used to take melatonin and it was too powerful for me at any dose, so I started taking tryptophan and it helps me sleep much better without being groggy the next day. It's not good for the body to rely on taking hormones when it can make them itself with the right conditions.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 10, 2011
at 10:55 PM

Would not try tryphtophan; read ray peat on supplementing with individual amino acids, especially tryphtophan. Or just look up tryphtophan supplements and eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 11, 2011
at 01:13 AM

And why not just take melatonin, which has a decent safety record?

Medium avatar

on December 11, 2011
at 01:34 AM

I think the main reason not to take it is because the body no longer has to produce its own melatonin, and you have to ask, if a person can't sleep without melatonin, what's causing their natural production of melatonin to be lower or stopped completely? Other hormones like cortisol and leptin affect melatonin production so taking melatonin is just treating the symptom. I do think it can be used temporarily to reset one's circadian rhythm which studies show it does, and for people switching time zones, but not for long term use.

Medium avatar

on December 10, 2011
at 11:08 PM

I don't agree with Peat on that because as long as you get enough of all the other amino acids in your diets, especially from bone broths, it balances out. Plus, if you take it at night most of it is converted to melatonin. If you're worried about tryptophan having its own negative effects take 5thp which is one step closer to conversion to serotonin. Many people take either of these and find they help with sleep. For people with insomnia they likely have hormone imbalances so ideally fixing those will help with sleep, but if they're having trouble doing so or until they do, these can help

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on December 11, 2011
at 09:13 AM

I'd worry about screwing up your own melatonin production by using it on a regular basis. My father-in-law basically can't sleep anymore without taking melatonin. Not so sure that's a good thing.

Medium avatar

on December 11, 2011
at 01:37 AM

Also, it's not recommended for people with digestive problems because it slows gastric emptying, which is the main reason I had to stop taking it. It's very similar to serotonin in that most of it is made in the gut and like serotonin it can help some people with IBS and hurt others depending on their symptoms.

1
B9673e4701dbf7017da7d75e9a44da6d

on February 29, 2012
at 03:59 PM

Melatonin doesn't help you fall asleep, it just makes you sleep more "sound". But it doesn't work the same for everybody. I took some recently after traveling from Amsterdam to Sydney to get over the jet lag. Took 10mg each night for the first three nights and had no jet lag whatsover. Same on the way back. If you want to fall asleep, have you tried Valerian root?

0
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 29, 2012
at 02:05 PM

I learned in a psych class a few years back that taking melatonin does not actually cause it to function as melatonin does in the body, so it has a low efficacy in treating sleep deprivation. Is that not true?

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on February 29, 2012
at 02:21 PM

According to my thyroid/hormone doc, that is false-and he specializes in this. That's not hard proof or anything, but I think he knows since he sees patients that use it like every single day.

0
E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on February 28, 2012
at 09:32 PM

This is a Paleo site and no one knows what Melatonin is?

Melatonin is a hormone made in the body to get you to sleep, by the pineal gland. It's more Paleo than a lb of bacon swimming in coconut oil. My brain makes it, yours does, and the EU can't do anything about it!

Know it or not, you go to bed with melatonin that is released by the brain. It is supposed to happen at dark, to prompt you to sleep.

What has happened in modern times is that our lifestyle has shattered the natural cycle. That's why using melatonin is the most logical place to start-not magnesium, not sleeping pills or other tricks.

People who try a melatonin supplements and put it away should be patient, try some different brands, and not give up. I'm sure there are some bad brands out there since it is not regulated.

I do 10 mg I get from my dr and an additional 3mg in Tranquil Sleep because it has 5-HTP and L-Theanine (something like that).

It's true most of the EU requires a prescription. That's a mistake.

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