It’s very tempting for any of us in a pattern of sleep problems (which we all experience at some time) to think of taking sleeping pills. And if you are doing those 10 Things To Do When You Can’t Sleep and things are still not right, then possibly sleeping pills would help.
If you go to your doctor, he/she will no doubt give you a prescription. Please make sure the he/she monitors how you are doing. The idea, whether the remedy is prescription or natural, is for you to regain your healthy, unaided, natural sleeping patterns.
Here, we emphasize natural sleeping remedies. What follows is information for you if you want to go down the natural/herbal route for your sleep problems.
*But please, especially if you are taking medication or if you have a condition such as sleep apnea, always, always take medical advice and assistance in getting help with your sleep.*
That being said, let’s get natural.
Melatonin and your body clock
The sleeping process is brilliant biochemistry linking with the wonder of light and colour.
Melatonin is a natural hormone made by your body’s pineal gland – a pea-sized gland located just above the middle of the brain. During the day the pineal is inactive.
As the sun goes down and deep blue darkness arrives and finally, light disappears into the dark of night the pineal “turns on” and begins to actively produce melatonin, which enters the blood.
Usually, this occurs around 9 p.m. As a result, melatonin levels in the blood rise sharply and you begin to feel less alert. Sleep becomes more inviting.
Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated for about 12 hours – all through the night – before the light of a new day when they fall back to low daytime levels by about 9 a.m. Daytime levels of melatonin are barely detectable
Sleep problems and melatonin
Melatonin supplementation is meant only for short-term use—generally recommended for about two months or less. People who have found that melatonin works for them usually find themselves falling asleep faster than normal and waking up less frequently. However, melatonin doesn’t seem to help people sleep longer than they normally do.
In doing all of the things mentioned in these pages, you are taking charge of remedying your sleep cycle. As part of that, be sure to monitor how long it takes melatonin to send you off to sleep, and how long you are sleeping for. Then you can time your dose so that you can wake up approximately when you need to.
Forgive me for spelling that out. In other words, if you find it takes melatonin one hour to induce sleep, and you are sleeping for eight hours and need to wake up at 7 am, you would need to take it at 10 pm.
Also, be sure to take melatonin only when you wish to go to sleep – and it’s safe to do so! Don’t take it, for example, before driving a car or doing anything that requires great focus and alertness.
Other Considerations in Using Melatonin
Talk with your doctor before you try melatonin forany sleep problems. If you take a prescription sleep medication or if you have a health condition that could be affected by the supplement, it’s especially important that you discuss the idea with your doctor. Drugs that may present interaction problems include blood thinners, birth control pills, and diabetes medications.
It is extremely important to understand that melatonin is not a strong prescription drug, but it is powerful. And it may be just what you need.
See my sleep aid review to read more about the ingredients of sleep itself and a supplement that includes natural sources of melatonin. Importantly, it also blends natural ingredients that address other problems that often go with sleeplessness, such as anxiety.
Happy days! and peaceful nights