Melatonin - Any opinions?

<p>I used to fall asleep easily and stay asleep. Not anymore. I finally bought some OTC melatonin pills. You can take one in the middle of night...let it dissolve...and you go back to sleep.</p>

<p>The pills totally work. I am amazed. </p>

<p>I have read about melatonin online. Nothing very negative. Just that it is safe for "short term use." What happens with long term use? Does it stop working or is there some danger?</p>

<p>Any opinions?</p>

<p>My ADHD son has been using Melatonin for years. Pretty regularly. And it works well for him.</p>

<p>Does he take it on a regular schedule (e.g.right before bed), or just as needed?</p>

<p>My son (17) has been taking melatonin every school night since he was diagnosed with "sleep phase disorder" a couple of years ago. It's made a huge difference in his life. He was going through the days exhausted, sleeping in class, and basically miserable because he couldn't fall asleep at night. All that is over. It's pretty amazing. His regular doctor said there was no issue with him taking it long-term. </p>

<p>I've battled insomnia my whole life and I do find the melatonin helpful but it's not a magic bullet like it was for my son. I've had best results with the "sublingual" kind that you dissolve under your tongue.</p>

<p>I always keep a bottle in the cabinet in case I can't get to sleep. For me, it seems to work best when I take it in the middle of the night, rather than right before I go to bed. It doesn't act the same way as a sleeping pill, ie keeping me asleep all night, just for several hours.</p>

<p>I take it sporadically so I guess that is considered short-term use. If I am having a period of sleeping troubles, I will always vary the medication (melatonin, AdvilPM, TylenolPM), so I won't get used to any one.</p>

<p>I used to take melatonin all the time for jet lag but I found that while it kept me in bed with my eyes closed, it invariably gave me such vivid dreams that my sleep wasn't entirely restful. Now I take Ambien when I travel and it works much better. I never take any sleep remedy for more than 3 days in a row so I don't know how they work long term.</p>

<p>I tried melatonin a few years ago and it just did not work for me.</p>

<p>I don't think it's a good idea to take substances to aid in sleep. They can be habitually addictive. You wouldn't be taking the substance if it didn't have an effect on your brain. Think about that. Do you really want to become dependent on the substance, take the substance over a long term, only to learn later how it might be harmful in some ways? </p>

<p>Maybe it's better to focus on techniques other than substances - a more comfortable bed, more comfortable pillow, more comfortable temperature (perhaps adding a room a/c), some white noise to mask external noises like traffic or barking dogs, making sure you get adequate exercise during the day, making sure you don't have a weight issue that could be contributing to sleep apnea (a very large percentage of very overweight people have it to some extent), making sure even if there's no weight issue that there's not sleep apnea (you might need a sleep study for this), reading a book before sleeping to focus the mind, learning other mind focusing techniques to permit better sleep, making sure your partner isn't jostling the bed too much or snoring you awake, etc.</p>

<p>Melatonin is non addictive. Not every substance you take is addictive. People use it all the time in bursts for jet lag and then stop using it without any difficulty. If it were addictive, this would not be the case. </p>

<p>Insufficient sleep is a much, much greater risk than the risk of melatonin...</p>

<p>I have used melatonin on and off for years. Sometimes it works very well, and other times, if I am especially stressed or anxious, it does not work at all. I have found that taking just part of one pill works as well as a whole pill. (Trader Joe's has chewable melatonin). It does not make me groggy in the morning at all. The only problem with it is that when it wears off, I will suddenly wake up very alert, and this is not good if it occurs at 4:00 am. So for me, the problem is getting the dosage right. I tend to take it when I have something important coming up that I think requires me to ensure getting some good nights of sleep beforehand.</p>

<p>I have read that melatonin is perfectly safe, and that it might be a "fountain of youth" type supplement.</p>

<p>I agree with robyrm2, that lack of sleep is more dangerous than risks associated with taking melatonin (which, as far as I can tell, have not been identified).</p>

<p>
[quote]
Melatonin is non addictive.

[/quote]
I said 'habitually addictive' which may be poor wording on my part but if someone takes the substance on a regular basis to achieve some physical 'feel better' result then it can become such a dependency that it can be difficult to stop. This seems to especially happen with substances taken to help sleep. I'm not talking about using it for a couple of international flights a year, but using it on a daily basis to fall asleep. It definitely can be addictive in this sense if not in the sense you're referring to.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Insufficient sleep is a much, much greater risk than the risk of melatonin...

[/quote]
Not determining the root cause of the sleep problem can be a much greater risk than popping a pill to get to sleep. For example, sleep apnea left unchecked can have very serious consequences including death.</p>

<p>My husband used to take a melatonin every now and then, but a pharmacist friend told him Tylenol PM was probably a better thing to take because the drug in it that has the sedative properties has been around for a long, long time and is safe while melatonin isn't regulated and there is conflicting reports about it. It does work, I took one by mistake thinking it was the regular Tylenol and I was out like a light.</p>

<p>Since most of the posters here aren't doctors, how about asking your doctor his/her opinion?</p>

<p>The sedative in Tylenol PM is 25 mg of diphenhydramine HCl, which is Benadryl. My daughter had a disrupted sleep pattern due to asthma and the effects of albuterol. She was put on melatonin to help normalize her sleep and it worked wonders for her.</p>

<p>My son takes melatonin almost every night. It helps him to fall asleep, and stay asleep. And he is a much happier person then when he does not sleep. Melatonin does not have addictive qualities. And it's only affect on the brain is providing what it is probably missing, like any other supplement. </p>

<p>As far as Tylenol PM, that is an antihistamine (benedryl), and I can not imagine taking that long term. Not to mention, I have hangover type of symptoms the morning after taking benedryl. So be really careful with that. Melatonin has a short half life, so clears quickly. There are many studies out there on Melatonin. And yes, if you look hard enough, like any substance (including soap), you will find negative studies. But there are also many that report positive results for sleep disorders, and that there are no identified adverse effects with high dosages. </p>

<p>Try it, if it works, it may help get your circadian rythem back, and you may only need it short term.</p>

<p>I remember reading that Tylenol is the number one cause of liver damage.</p>

<p>I don't know, I wouldn't think it's healthy to have to take anything every single night, melatonin or a Tylenol. Many hospitals have sleep labs where they can perhaps evaluate why you wake up and cannot fall back asleep.</p>

<p>I have been taking Melatonin occasionally, and I haven't really noticed that it works particularly well when I take it (chewable/dissolvable) but I think I'll try it for the waking in the middle of the night 3 am thing... An RN friend of mine recommended it, and it is safe to take every night. Another friend takes Benadryl every night to sleep and I was concerned. However, several MDs have told me that Benadryl is safe to take every night; as you all are saying better than being sleep-deprived.</p>

<p>Warning: I am not a doctor.
I do know from a doctor who is a sleep study specialist that the dose most people need of Melatonin is 1 mg and there is just about no one who sells it. You normally find 3mg and it is overkill. There are only a few drugstores who sell it</p>

<p>I get melatonin in the 1 mg dose in my local drugstore. You can also order it online.</p>

<p>I suspect that most people with chronic insomnia have tried everything: regular bedtimes, regular exercise, yoga, meditation, hypnosis CDs, herbal tea, different pillows, blackout shades, etc. All of these things can be helpful, but sometimes it's not enough. I know for sure it is not healthy for me to be chronically sleep-deprived.</p>