However, as I mentioned in my Glycine article, after serving 2 years in the army, the quality of my sleep deteriorated to such a degree that it was impossible for me to sleep for more than 2 hours without waking up.
So you could say I had a bit of a sleeping problem.
CAUTION: Medical Disclaimer
Table of Contents
My Experience with GABA
Personally, I am against all types of medication but I am always up for trying a natural solution especially if it comes in supplement form. So, around 2004 I started investigating melatonin by reading articles, reviews and studies online. In 2005, I finally tried it. My first dose was 3 grams.
I will never forget how effective it was. It was the best sleep I had gotten in years. I slept so deep that when I woke up I felt like I was reborn. The only side effect I experienced was a bit of grogginess which was fixed once I lowered the dose.
After 3 months of use and because I wanted to cycle melatonin, I also tried other sleep aids but never found anything that worked as well as this one.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland and its secretion is in direct relation to the presence of sunlight or darkness. When the sun goes down, the pineal gland releases melatonin which induces the feeling of sleep. Melatonin levels remain high while we sleep until the sun comes up which is when the pineal stops melatonin production causing us to slowly wake up.
Melatonin was initially recommended for overseas travelers to reduce jet lag and re-adjust sleep-wake cycles. It is currently available in tablet, sublingual pill or even in liquid form.
Melatonin benefits include:
- Improving insomnia since it helps readjust sleeping cycles and optimize sleep hygiene.
- Improving sleep patterns in blind people and older people (melatonin levels decrease naturally as we age).
- Helping people on blood pressure medication to improve their sleep.
- Helping children with ADHD, autism or other intellectual disabilities to improve their sleep patterns.
- Fighting off free radicals and even has cancer-protective properties due to its strong antioxidant power. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, men with prostate cancer and women with breast cancer had low melatonin levels. According to a study of the American Cancer Society it can stimulate white blood cells, which attacking cancer cells.
- Has anti-aging properties as it can stimulate Growth Hormone production. (also known as the fountain of youth)
Note that, while melatonin works for people who are traveling and changing time zones, it may not be as effective for people who do shift work and have to sleep in the mornings as melatonin is light-sensitive.
When and how to take it
Melatonin should be taken 30 minutes before sleep. I recommend the use of tablets and not liquid supplements as they tend to be released gradually in your system.
There are also melatonin creams but I would use them more for their sun-protection benefits rather than a sleeping agent.
Also make sure that the supplement you take has ONLY melatonin in it. Avoid supplements that contain melatonin precursors (such as L-tryptophan and 5-HTP). These have not been proven as effective in treating insomnia and on top of that there are safety concerns that they may be linked to a debilitating condition called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS).
Safety and side effects
Do not take melatonin if you are on any type of medication, are being treated for immune system disorders (severe allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, lymphoma) or if you are currently undergoing cancer treatment and consult your doctor before taking melatonin supplements.
Melatonin is considered to be safe for most people who are not on any type of special medication when taken for a short-term period (under 3 months).
- Some reported side effects include headaches, drowsiness, stomach cramps, dizziness and irritability.
- Do not drive or operate machinery for four to five hours after taking melatonin.
- Because melatonin may slow blood clotting and can lead to excessive bruising or bleeding, avoid taking melatonin with blood clotting medications or herbs that produce that effect such as angelica, clove, danshen, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, Panax ginseng, red clover and willow.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Since no studies can indicate the full safety of this supplement during pregnancy and breastfeeding or trying to conceive, it is best to avoid use if you belong to this category.
Also, because it can interfere with hormones and growth, it should not be given to children unless absolutely necessary or prescribed by a doctor.
Also, it may not work so well for people with depression, people on blood pressure medication and people with epilepsy since there is a concern that it might worsen symptoms in both types of people. These categories of people should not take melatonin.
Contraindications or interactions with other medication/substances:
- Avoid taking melatonin with sedative medications as they can cause extreme sleepiness and drowsiness.
- Avoid taking melatonin with birth control pills as they can interfere with hormone production. (since most birth control pills are hormones such as ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone)
- Certain medications that include caffeine can decrease the effectiveness of melatonin.
Consult with your doctor before using this supplement and if you have any of the above conditions or take any of the above medication/substances. Other medications that require doctor’s clearance before using melatonin include the following:
- Antidiabetes drugs
- Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs
- Blood pressure lowering medication
Do I need to cycle off?
Since melatonin is a hormone, it should be cycled to allow its natural production in the body to be fully recovered. It is highly recommended to use for a max of 60-90 days and cycle off for at least 30 days.
I am currently working on an ebook with the Most effective Supplements where I reveal the dosages I use for different purposes and the brands I personally recommend for optimal results. So make sure you bookmark this page and come back to check for more info or just subscribe to my newsletter to receive the latest updates from this website!
Sleep is perhaps the biggest tool that humans have when it comes to health. During our sleep we reset all our systems and rebuild our body, mind and spirit. If you are having trouble going to bed I hope you now know how to fix your sleep with one supplement alone. When it comes to sleeping aids, I have tried every type of supplements and melatonin is still my top recommendation.
Do you have problems sleeping? Have you ever tried Melatonin and if yes, did it help you? Let me know in the comments below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Don’t forget to click on the Share button below and show your support to this blog. Until next time live your life: strong, healthy and free!
by Nick Sigma
C.W.C, E.H, YRT-200
- Arangino S, et al Effects of melatonin on vascular reactivity, catecholamine levels, and blood pressure in healthy men . Am J Cardiol. (1999)
- Nishiyama K, et al Acute effects of melatonin administration on cardiovascular autonomic regulation in healthy men . Am Heart J. (2001)
- Cagnacci A, et al Influences of melatonin administration on the circulation of women . Am J Physiol. (1998)
- Forsling ML, Wheeler MJ, Williams AJ The effect of melatonin administration on pituitary hormone secretion in man . Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). (1999)
- Kostoglou-Athanassiou I, et al Melatonin administration and pituitary hormone secretion . Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). (1998)
- Kongsuphol P, et al Melatonin attenuates methamphetamine-induced deactivation of the mammalian target of rapamycin signaling to induce autophagy in SK-N-SH cells . J Pineal Res. (2009)
- Cramer H, et al On the effects of melatonin on sleep and behavior in man . Adv Biochem Psychopharmacol. (1974)
- Waldhauser F, Saletu B, Trinchard-Lugan I Sleep laboratory investigations on hypnotic properties of melatonin . Psychopharmacology (Berl). (1990)
- Effect of inducing nocturnal serum melatonin concentrations in daytime on sleep, mood, body temperature, and performance
- Nave R, Peled R, Lavie P Melatonin improves evening napping . Eur J Pharmacol. (1995)
- Reid K, Van den Heuvel C, Dawson D Day-time melatonin administration: effects on core temperature and sleep onset latency . J Sleep Res. (1996)
- Zhdanova IV, et al Sleep-inducing effects of low doses of melatonin ingested in the evening . Clin Pharmacol Ther. (1995)
- Zhdanova IV, et al Effects of low oral doses of melatonin, given 2-4 hours before habitual bedtime, on sleep in normal young humans . Sleep. (1996)
- Pinto LR Jr, Seabra Mde L, Tufik S Different criteria of sleep latency and the effect of melatonin on sleep consolidation . Sleep. (2004)
- Wade AG, et al Nightly treatment of primary insomnia with prolonged release melatonin for 6 months: a randomized placebo controlled trial on age and endogenous melatonin as predictors of efficacy and safety . BMC Med. (2010)
- Wade AG, et al Prolonged release melatonin in the treatment of primary insomnia: evaluation of the age cut-off for short- and long-term response . Curr Med Res Opin. (2011)
- Lemoine P, et al Prolonged-release melatonin improves sleep quality and morning alertness in insomnia patients aged 55 years and older and has no withdrawal effects . J Sleep Res. (2007)
- Luthringer R, et al The effect of prolonged-release melatonin on sleep measures and psychomotor performance in elderly patients with insomnia . Int Clin Psychopharmacol. (2009)
- van Geijlswijk IM, et al Evaluation of sleep, puberty and mental health in children with long-term melatonin treatment for chronic idiopathic childhood sleep onset insomnia .Psychopharmacology (Berl). (2011)
- Lewy AJ, et al Antidepressant and circadian phase-shifting effects of light . Science. (1987)
- Teicher MH, et al Circadian rest-activity disturbances in seasonal affective disorder . Arch Gen Psychiatry. (1997)
- Lewy AJ, et al The circadian basis of winter depression . Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. (2006)
- Lewy AJ, et al The human phase response curve (PRC) to melatonin is about 12 hours out of phase with the PRC to light . Chronobiol Int. (1998)
- Biology of Depression: From Novel Insights to Therapeutic Strategies
- Valcavi R, et al Melatonin stimulates growth hormone secretion through pathways other than the growth hormone-releasing hormone . Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). (1993)
- Smythe GA, Lazarus L Suppression of human growth hormone secretion by melatonin and cyproheptadine . J Clin Invest. (1974)
- Melatonin As a Free Radical Scavenger: Implications for Aging and Age-Related Diseases
- Allegra M, et al The chemistry of melatonin’s interaction with reactive species . J Pineal Res. (2003)
- Reiter RJ, et al Biochemical reactivity of melatonin with reactive oxygen and nitrogen species: a review of the evidence . Cell Biochem Biophys. (2001)
- Poeggeler B, et al Melatonin–a highly potent endogenous radical scavenger and electron donor: new aspects of the oxidation chemistry of this indole accessed in vitro . Ann N Y Acad Sci. (1994)
- Reaction of Melatonin and Related Indoles With Hydroxyl Radicals: EPR and Spin Trapping Investigations
- Noda Y, et al Melatonin and its precursors scavenge nitric oxide . J Pineal Res. (1999)
- Zhang H, Squadrito GL, Pryor WA The reaction of melatonin with peroxynitrite: formation of melatonin radical cation and absence of stable nitrated products . Biochem Biophys Res Commun. (1998)
- López-Burillo S, et al Melatonin, xanthurenic acid, resveratrol, EGCG, vitamin C and alpha-lipoic acid differentially reduce oxidative DNA damage induced by Fenton reagents: a study of their individual and synergistic actions . J Pineal Res. (2003)
- Mills E, et al Melatonin in the treatment of cancer: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials and meta-analysis . J Pineal Res. (2005)
- Pineal control of aging: effect of melatonin and pineal grafting on aging mice
- The Pineal Aging and Death Program. I. Grafting of Old Pineals in Young Mice Accelerates Their Aging
- Stokkan KA, et al Food restriction retards aging of the pineal gland . Brain Res. (1991)
- Reiter RJ The melatonin rhythm: both a clock and a calendar . Experientia. (1993)
- Ferrari E, et al Neuroendocrine features in extreme longevity . Exp Gerontol. (2008)