Re: Melatonin, other sleep cycle affecting stuff, info please

Dennis Roberts (
Mon, 19 Jul 1999 14:29:42 -0400

"O'Regan, Emlyn" wrote:

> Self modification in action...
> My wife Jodie is about to begin working nights (10:30pm - 6:30am) week on,
> week off. We are both a bit worried about how she can adjust to this kind of
> routine without going mental.
> I remember reading about Melatonin - is it useful in this context? Are there
> other drugs/supplements which can help with a freaky sleep cycle?
> Thanks in advance,
> Emlyn

Here's a repost of 7/1/99 -Sleep Tools

I've learned a few tools to enable sleep. ( Had to, working long overnight hours in various hospital settings, like I did.) They all have their advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few. (1) Melatonin:

(A) fast acting, cheap, low dosage- I found that 3/4 mg would knock me out for a good 4 hours, PREVENTS COLDSprior

to using melatonin, I had 2-3 SEVERE colds each year, since I discovered this effect several years ago I have been

100% cold free. Using myself as a guinea pig, I determined that a single 1 mg dose every 3-4 days is probably sufficient FOR ME , to never have another cold. I do use a fairly high level of supplements and am very active regular runner and I don't smoke, so adjust your dose if your immune system is not what it should be.

(D) long 1/2 life in the body-you'll stay groggy longer, but if you have
to sleep in a noisy environment ( barracks, dorm or have young kids) and do get awakened you'll quickly return to sleep, IMPORTANT-if you have high blood
pressure you might want to take it easy with this stuff, melatonin has been shown to constrict the vessels in the Circle of Willis ( main arterial vessels in the brain ) over use or high dosages might contribute to a CVA by raising intracrainial BP, don't drive or operate heavy equipment (2) Kava

(A) fast acting, short 1/2 life- you wake up after a full night's sleep clear headed, also cheap, the sensation produced by the herb is pleasant.(400
mg works for me)

(D) the sleep inducing effect is not as intense as melatonin even at higher dosages > 800 mg, consistency of effect across brand may differ since herbal preparations vary a lot
(3) chamomile tea

(A) short 1/2 life, cheap, effective symptomatic treatment for nausea vomiting

(D) tea has less than pleasant taste (4) stimulation of seratonin production

(A) anyone can do it- eat a plate of food high in both starch and complete protein ( mashed potatoes heavy on the milk, pasta with meat sauce, etc.) forces your brain- do to a quirk in amino acid metabolism- to over produce seratonin which induces sleep

(D) ya'll get fatter'n hogs, if ya do this too often (5) calcium- magnesium tablets

(A) both are essential nutrients, since both help with pain reliefcalcium can block pain and magnesium is a very effective muscle relaxant the combo is good if pain is what's keeping you awake

(D) slow acting, long 1/2 life- you will be groggy the next day if you take too much
(6) Vitamin C/ exercise

(A) both very good for you in many ways, cheap but use buffered C not plain or chewable- long term use of high doses of C (2-5 gm/day) raises the level of endorphins in the body to a level that is manageable( no overwhelming sleepiness on the job ) and you tend to have a great attitudesustained exercise ( a good run, biking a few miles, some sustained horizontal exercise) adds a load of new endorphins to the mix for a really mystical experience before sleep comes
(7) hypnosis
(A) nothin' cheeper, has other useful benes if you learn how- pain reduction, hypermnesia(love this one when I'm cramming for an exam) (D) not fool proof- if you're distracted or in a hurry it may not work, practice is essential may not keep you asleep all night

Dennis Roberts