Melatonin and Insomnia

My name is Maeglin and I have frequent bouts of insomnia.

This is not due to mental restlessness, poor diet or health, or other sleep-depriving habits. As often as not, I fall asleep, wake up a mere half hour later, and cannot fall back asleep for the rest of the night. Currently I am on my third day with minimal sleep, and it is grinding me down.

This has been a problem for me since I was young. I have turned very briefly to barbiturates and light doses of alcohol (absolutely not at the same time). I have only used these methods to induce sleep perhaps a dozen times over so many years. I have a strong propensity to become psychologically addicted to any sleep aids.

So I have been thinking about melatonin. I am only 24, so I doubt that my melatonin levels are unusually low. Nevertheless, I think it might be worth a try.

I have done a fair amount of research on the internet already, so further links aren’t really necessary. I would love to hear your experiences with melatonin, or really any other sleep aid. And of course, if you are a doctor, please feel free to weigh in.

For the record, I am a healthy 24 year old male, on no prescription medicine nor any other dietary supplements save a multivitamin. There is no history of mental illness in my nuclear family, though let me tell you, some of us are pretty borderline.

Thanks! I could really use some ZZZs tonight.

Hola. I myself suffer from insomnia (among other sleep disorders). I’ve tried just about everything in the book.

As far as melatonin goes, I’m sure you’ll hear from a lot of people who swear by it, as it really does help you get to sleep/stay asleep. The only problem I had with it was the dreams.

Okay, I know what you’re going to say. “Dreams? that’s a problem?”

I’m normally quite an active dreamer, and pretty much everyone I’ve ever talked to about my dreams tells me that I have the strangest dreams of anyone they’ve known, but when it comes to melatonin, my dreams are completely and absolutely f*cking insane. And not in a good way.

I can’t explain this phenomenon, and I’m not the only person I know who has experienced this when taking melatonin. It was not at all a pleasant thing for me, but for others it has. YMMV.

I’d say go ahead and try it, but not if you’ve got to work the next day. Give yourself some time to test it out and know how it’s going to affect you.

Good luck!

Thanks, JetGirl. I have read from several sources that it can induce particularly vivid dreams, but that these dreams are typical when you take too much. Do you recall what your dosage was?

My brother in law hadn’t been able to sleep through the night since he returned from Viet Nam after three tours of duty, oh so many years ago. About 5 years ago he took his first melatonin, and now sleeps very well indeed. Apperently for him, it changes his dreams enough so they don’t wake him up.


Hm, well I only took one pill, not sure what dosages they come in, but then again I am pint-sized myself, so I usually have to cut pills in half. IIRC, though, even half a pill caused the same effects.

I took it for about a week or two over the summer a few years ago. Not all the dreams/hallucinations were bad, but a few of them were so bad that I don’t think I’d try it again ever. Of course, that may have something to do with youthful indiscretions regarding certain other hallucinogenic substances, but we’ll never really know for sure. ::grin::

Hello. My name is Loco and I’m an insomniac.

Typical sleep pattern is fall asleep quickly, light sleep for an hour or so, wake up feeling unrested, stay awake for four or five hours, fall back asleep for another hour with heavy dreaming, then grudgingly wake up to start the day.

I have tried melatonin under medical supervision and found it to be somewhat helpful at first. The sleep I did get was a biy more restful, except when I was awaken by external sounds or movement, in which case it was worse than just not sleeping. There was also a side effect that’s hard to describe, a feeling of mildly enhanced awareness in waking hours, accompanied by the kind of background nausea you might feel if you had just one potato chip too many. And everything smelled like corn all day, but that may just be me. I also got headaches after a while, so I stopped taking it.

My physician here once prescribed midazolam, a benzodiazepine used in the U.S. mostly (if not exclusively) as an emergency room sedative such as Versed. It is indicated in other countries to correct sleep cycles. (My daughter was also once prescribed some grape-flavored GHB syrup as a temporary remedy for childhood depression related to a series deaths in the family–the same GBH that the USFDA calls “a powerful date-rape drug” of unknown properties. I didn’t give it to her.)

But I digress. Sometimes an antihistamine like Benadryl is enough to help induce sleep for me (of course, I am not recommending that anyone else use OTC or other drugs for purposes other than those approved and indicated), but depending on what I’ve eaten may cause daytime somnolescence. The antihistamine components of Unisom and similar products don’t work for me.

I took melatonin on a transAtlantic flight, and didn’t have a good time with it. I dreamed evil, scary stuff, and was jumpy and freaked out for about 24 hours afterwards.

My husband swears by calcium. Although I don’t have much trouble sleeping, I tried it to see what he was talking about. I had my usual deep sleep, but no dreams. I enjoy my dreams, so that to me was a drawback. If the melatonin doesn’t work out, maybe you would like to give the calcium a try.

I had trouble both falling asleep and staying asleep from the time I was a little kid until around four years ago. I’ve taken melatonin and valerian root neither of which did much, but finally discovered an even better and more effective cure four summers ago: 15 minutes of exercise before bed each night. Now it takes me 10-15 minutes to fall asleep instead of 45 minutes, and instead of waking up every two or three hours I wake up 1-0 times. As long as I stick with exercise before bed, I sleep a lot better and so do other people. Give it a shot.

Do zombies get insomnia?

I have to get up at 4:30 AM for work and have a hard time getting to sleep early enough for a full night’s sleep. Benadryl helps but I don’t like the grogginess I have the next morning. I started taking 300 mg melatonin each night and it seems to have done the trick. It’s not magic, but it’s a lot easier to get to sleep at 9 or 10 PM than it has been. I haven’t had any adverse symptoms that I recall.

I take about 1/8 to 1/6 mg of melatonin; the 1 mg and (heaven help me) 3 mg tablets it generally comes in are far, far too much.

It works quite well for me, although sometimes I wake up an hour or two before I want to. I don’t have bad dreams with it, although they are fairly active. It causes my body to feel warmer, so I need either more A/C or less covers. I may have a headache or increased tinnitus from it, and I may be somewhat depressed the next day. Generally, if I only take it for one night, I don’t have any of these adverse affects.

Holy geez, I had a really confusing moment when I read that Maeglin was 24. Because I am pretty sure that he and I are close in age, and I haven’t been 24 in some years. But yes, I was 24 when the OP was written. Okay, all is clear now. Carry on.

One key thing to keep in mind, melatonin typically comes in two dosages. 300mcg and 3mg. The larger dose works less well than the smaller dose. (Cf. the dosage section in the Wikipedia article.) Too many people think more is better. It isn’t.

Damn, I meant 3 mg, not 300 mg. This is why I shouldn’t post from work.

I found the sublingual melatonin from GNC (little pills you slowly dissolve under your tongue) worked far better for me than the pill you simply swallow. They come in 1 mg doses, and I’d typically take 2 of them about a half hour before I wanted to be asleep. (I’m a big guy, though – start with one and see if that works.)

I found melatonin to be very effective at pushing my clock back to a reasonable bedtime – I usually simply couldn’t fall asleep until 2am, but then slept fine. (It’s also very good for reducing jet lag.) I don’t know if it would work as well for people who have trouble staying asleep.

I typically get a great night’s sleep after I’ve eaten someone’s BRAINS.

Sadly, I am no longer 24, so brains sometimes give me indigestion.

Nighty night.