This little post is sparked by me taking too much melatonin last night and feel like a walking zombie. Damn, it really does work! This overdose sparked me to look into what exactly melatonin is and why it works so well.
BACKGROUND OF MY MELATONIN USE
I was introduced to melatonin pills by a nurse, and best friend, who worked the night shift at a hospital. Now, this friend is very into all things health [duh… she is a nurse after all], so anything she suggests I do without question or further research. At this time in my life, my live-in-boyfriend-soon-to-be-husband was also working a night shift. For any of you that have partners who work night shift: I am so sorry. It is the shittiest thing in the world to wake up when your partner is going to bed. I will try not to go on a bitchfest about this, but I felt like the two of us lived on different planets. I was a much bigger baby about it than he was, though he was the one working in the middle of the night while the rest of the world was sound asleep in bed.
So basically, melatonin has been a part of our lives for about 4 years now. I am terrified of becoming dependent on pills, so melatonin was a great alternative to sleeping aids.
WHAT IS MELATONIN?
Since I have not yet explained exactly what melatonin is, let me try the best I can. Melatonin is a hormone the every person naturally produces from their pineal gland. This pineal gland is a gland in your brain that acts as your internal clock. As we get older and older, we lose the natural melatonin hormone. These supplemental pills can act as a substitute. It is non-addictive and can assist in “curing” sleep problems. There is even some studies that show melatonin can stop or slow the spread of cancer, make the immune system stronger, or slow down the aging process. This research is still debatable, but it seriously sounds like an all natural miracle pill!
There are downfalls of melatonin: grogginess, vivid dreams [this sounds like a bonus to me! I love my fucked up vivid dreams], and low blood pressure. If you take too much melatonin, like I did last night, you actually sleep worse and feel unrested, yet exhausted.
HOW TO USE MELATONIN
As a user for 4 years, I am pretty aware of what works and does not work. You cannot use melatonin daily, this will mess up your actual sleep cycle and the melatonin produced in your body. I can happily use about 3 mg of melatonin pills if I know I am going to have a rough night falling asleep [I weight about 120] and my man can do 6 mg [he weights about 185]. Last night I used 10 mg and that was way to much. Start small, and see what mg works for you. Also, buy the pressed pills – is that what they are called? Meaning, buy the pills that allow you to break them in 1/2. We made the mistake of buying the capsule pills at 10 mg. Now we can only take 10 mg or buy new ones! At least the pressed pills can be split in 1/2 and last longer. One more melatonin hint: do not fight falling asleep. I have taken melatonin too early and, when I get tired, try to stay awake. This totally messes with your sleep cycle and you will get a shitty night sleep – guaranteed.
OTHER INTERESTING FACTS
According to the encyclopedia, here are some other interesting facts about melatonin and it’s effect on our bodies:
- Light affects how melatonin is produced. During the winter, you have more melatonin in your system because your retinas detect less light.
- Melatonin plays a large roll in the production of hormones in females. One of the locations for melatonin receptors is in the ovaries; female menstruation is slightly connected to melatonin.
- Mating in animals is influenced by melatonin. Melatonin production coincides with season and spring is prime time for mating!
So, my nurse friend was 100% right. Melatonin works and can be good for you if used properly. Do you all use any other sleep aids?