General Question

St.George's avatar

What have been your experiences with Melatonin?

Asked by St.George (5865points) March 18th, 2011

I have just begun using it sparingly. Want to hear other peoples’ experiences, especially those with insomnia or other issues it may have helped with. Does its effectiveness stop after an extended period of use?

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21 Answers

cak's avatar

I use it, my son uses it (as directed by his pediatrician) and my husband uses melatonin. OK, so I’m not using it tonight!

I like using it during the week, I have a hard time with most sleeping pills – they are just too strong for me. Melatonin doesn’t knock me out, it just makes falling asleep easier. My son says the same thing. I take 3mg, it’s plenty for me. My husband (keep in mind he’s much bigger than me) takes between 6 and 9mg – usually 6mg. He says it does make him sleepy.

I’m guessing because I don’t use it everyday, I don’t feel that I’ve ever reached that point where I feel I need to bump up in dosage.

With all this said, without knowing your medical history (any medications you currently take) I would suggest you talk to your doctor, or at the very minimum, a pharmacist about any interactions with anything you are currently taking.

faye's avatar

I’ve tried it twice and each time it turned me into an energizer bunny brain, so I leave it alone. My daughter has tried it when she is working nightshifts but it doesn’t works very well for her. I know a lot of nurses that use it and like it, though.

ETpro's avatar

I tried Ambien and had just about all the bad side effects—except for getting up during the night and driving off somewhere without knowing it. At least I don’t think I did that. But I had rebound drowsiness the next day, problems with short term memory, dizziness after standing up, confusion. Frankly, insomnia was better than that.

I’ve been a fan of melatonin ever since I first read about it. It’s relatively inexpensive and it’s a naturally occurring compound in both plants and animals—including humans. It is very well tolerated. Research on doses up to 50 Mg. showed no ill effects other than vivid dreams. And it works great for me. You may have to test a bit to find the minimum dose that helps you drift off to sleep. I use the 10 Mg. caps now that I have established what works for me, but 3 Mg works for my wife. Take it about a half hour to an hour before hitting the sack.

Read up on it on Wikipedia. They have a very informative page on it.

St.George's avatar

@ETpro That article makes it sound like a wonder drug…what can it not cure? Thanks for that.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@ETpro Is absolutely correct, it is tolerated well and is quite safe.

My 5yr old son’s doc said our son can have 3 to 4, 3mg tabs per night. So far we haven’t needed more than two.

A few years ago I had tried it and it didn’t work for me. Now, I know more. It does work.

Melatonin works best as a sub-lingual tablet (aka lozenge) or in liquid form. At the time I tried it, I had bought capsules that were to be swallowed…definitely not as effective

I have chronic insomnia. I have just recently started using the melatonin in place of a prescription. So far, I’m doing alright on it. I’ve only been taking one per night though. I may up that to two.

It has worked extremely well for my son. I’d say it’s worth giving it a good month or so of consistent use. That way you’ll be able to judge if it’s helping you.

KateTheGreat's avatar

I love using it. It helps me get so much more rest.

gondwanalon's avatar

I don’t like it because it makes me feel weird.

Jeruba's avatar

It helps my husband get to sleep every night.

It helps my friend adjust to the time change every time she goes back and forth to India.

It does nothing at all for me.

ETpro's avatar

@Megan64 Glad to be of help. I don’t know if it is a wonder drug, but it works well for this night-owl to finally get some peaceful sleep.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@ETpro It is a wonder drug for parents that have children with Autism/Asperger’s/ADD/ADHD-etc…It’s a wonder how we lived without it! ;)

St.George's avatar

It helps me 75% of the time to sleep better, mostly my issue is staying asleep – I often wake at 3:00 or 4:00 and can’t get back to sleep. The strange thing is that the next day, and the day after, I feel calmer, way less stressed, and I have a very high-stress job, so that was an added bonus. I knew of it for a long time, but never had tried it. After not sleeping well for a month and having to be on my game for a few things recently, I tried it so I knew at least I would be rested for the next day’s drama, and it worked. I have been using it on and off for about 3 weeks and It has worked intermittently since that first wonderful time. I started off taking half of a 2.5 mg, but recently have been taking a whole 2.5. My fear is that it will stop working and I’ll be in insomnia hell again.

Your comments and experiences have be reassuring. I hope more folks will share as well.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Megan64 What you described:

It helps me 75% of the time to sleep better, mostly my issue is staying asleep – I often wake at 3:00 or 4:00 and can’t get back to sleep. The strange thing is that the next day, and the day after, I feel calmer, way less stressed, and I have a very high-stress job, so that was an added bonus.

Is exactly what happened to me the first time I tried it. It also happened the first few nights I gave it to my son.

You really can take more than the 2.5mg dose you are taking. If you’re like me, you know your insomnia by now. Try taking it just a bit earlier than you are now. Then see if you need another one or not.

I now can tell when just one won’t do it for me. I can also tell when my son needs another. Also, you may want to try a different brand. We’ve found the best sources are those that are pure. (It will say on the bottle does not contain/processed in a plant free of shellfish, eggs, wheat, gluten, casein-etc)

If you continue waking up, then I’d recommend you get a bottle of the liquid to keep at your bedside. One dropper of mine is only 1.5mg. I do not find myself groggy in the AM, if I’ve needed a bit more during the night.

If your insomnia is anything like mine, it is probably worse during different periods of your cycle. If you start to keep track of that, then you can combat it by taking two on those nights.

ETpro's avatar

@SpatzieLover I am delighted to hear how it helps with your son. I had no idea is was helpful there. Melatonin is the body’s natural sleep regulator, but production of it drops off as we age. If it is not working or working intermittently for you, I’d suggest upping the dose. I have used 50 Mg. when I ws really stressed out over something and knew a night of tossing and turning wouldn’t help me get on top of the situation the next day. Of course, for @faye who has a paradoxical reaction to it, that may not hold true. But if it’s not quite working well enough, just use a little more, or do as @SpatzieLover suggests and use the liquid or sub-lingual form instead of caplets.

St.George's avatar

@SpatzieLover Yes! I think it is totally related to my cycle, but having funky peri-menopause makes it somewhat unpredictable, though I do keep track. The brand is Source Naturals

@ETpro I do take the sublingual. Orange flavor, nice.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@ETpro Especially in the kids I mentioned, there is a sleep cycle problem as many of these kids are deficient in melatonin. Since I know you’re a science guy here’s one study on it for ASD kids.

@Megan64 That’s a great brand. Get the liquid, too. You’ll be glad you did.

ETpro's avatar

@SpatzieLover Thanks for the link. Interesting information.

Jeruba's avatar

Does anyone know if there’s a risk in using it in combination with various sorts of pain meds?

I’m recovering from surgery and also experiencing an intense increase in my long-time chronic neck and shoulder pain as a byproducts of splint, sling, having to sleep favoring the broken arm, etc. One result has been sleep problems. Since my accident nearly 3 weeks ago, I have slept as long as 2 hours just once and otherwise no more than an hour at a stretch, broken up by long periods of wakefulness ranging from 2 to 10 hours, with 3 or 4 hours being typical.

On the basis of what I’ve read here, I’d be willing to give liquid melatonin a try as long as there isn’t a danger in combining it with other meds.

ETpro's avatar

@Jeruba Check with your doctor. It may depend on the pain medication you’re taking. I have osteoarthritis in my neck from a very old whiplash injury. Because the cartilage disks are nearly gone, my vertebrae in my neck can pinch a nerve running out into my shoulder and back muscles. The pain is excruciating and my back spasms, which sets up a syndrome. I have had oxycodone, ACAP 5/325 (take 2),. hydrocodone ACAP (take 2), and Vicodin™ 10/325. I have a paradoxical reaction to any codeine analog pain med. They make me drowsy as expected, but while they help most people sleep, they leave me completely unable to drift off, even with melatonin. I just lay there with my head feeling like it is made of wood—and that feeling keeps me awake. The doc added diazepam, (Valium)(TM). 10 Mg of that will both break the muscle spasm and let me sleep. And with all that, I have never had any adverse effects with melatonin.

mattbrowne's avatar

It’s illegal in Germany. Most doctors and our “FDA” over here consider it to be too risky.

Truth_and_Freedom's avatar

Hi !

Melatonin was the only sleep medicine or pill that helped me.

But my insomnia is so bad, that once my body started getting used to Melatonin, I had to take more.

Truth_and_Freedom's avatar

It worked for me, but I bought a strong dose. It would make me sleep after 10 minutes. But the more I took it, the more I needed, and I still had insomnia.

Plus they say you should not take it daily.

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