Monday, June 8, 2009

Nighty Night

For the last few months I've had trouble getting a good night's sleep. Some nights I toss and turn for an extended period of time before I doze off, and other nights I wake up in the wee hours of the morning and have a hard time getting back to sleep. I understand the problem is common among women "of a certain age", but it's getting really annoying. Recently an acquaintance shared a few ideas that helped her when she experienced the same problem. I followed up on one of them and last night I took melatonin to help me sleep.

Before I put any foreign substances in my body, I did a little research. I found out that:
  • Melatonin isn't a chemical; it's a hormone produced by the pineal gland (a small gland in the brain) that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles
  • It is secreted only at night
  • Natural melatonin production decreases with age
I bought a bottle of melatonin at the chain pharmacy closest to my house and put it in the bathroom until I needed it. Last night I turned in at the regular time. As I climbed into bed I turned the radio on low. I pulled the sheet up to my chin, got my pillow situated just right, and closed my eyes. I listened to one song, then another, then a third. Turned over to my other side and listened a while, then turned back the original way. It was ridiculous! I got up and went to the bathroom where I took out the bottle of melatonin and read the label. The suggested dose was one 1 mg tablet. After putting a tablet in my mouth I discovered the bathroom cup was still in the dishwasher, so I scooped up some water with my hand, washed the tablet down, and went back to bed.

This time it only took about fifteen minutes to fall asleep. Hallelujah! I woke up once about four o'clock to use the bathroom, but went right back to sleep. When the alarm went off this morning I was well-rested. I didn't even need my normal mid-afternoon nap to stay focused. Life is good.


  1. I have a friend who swears by melatonin. I may need to try it - does it help for hot flashes that wake me up?

  2. Andrea-so far I've been blessed to be hot-flash free, so I don't know.

  3. I've tried melatonin for jet lag as I get it very badly and it tends to ruin the first two/three days of a holiday [or longer if I end up getting ill as a result of lack of sleep]. It didn't help unfortunately, though I know others that swear by it.
    I would recommend also valerian if you are having trouble sleeping. I use it when I'm experiencing insomnia - it's very widely available.