For a long time my parents and friends urged me to "get medicated" for the problem, but I typically avoid putting drugs into my body for any reason. I won't even take Ibuprofen for pain most of the time. Sleep medications were definitely not high on my list of things I wanted to try. Recently, though, I did a little research on melatonin as a sleep aid, and decided it was natural enough and had enough supporting evidence to be worth trying as a sleep aid solution.
Source: Fowl Language Comics
Disclaimer: Swanson Health provided me with a gift card to purchase items to review. I chose melatonin supplements to meet my own needs, and received no additional compensation for this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.
Melatonin is found in other plants and animals, and acts as a stabilizer for body rhythms in those animals. It has been shown to help humans with sleep difficulties fall asleep more easily and to improve the quality of that sleep. I started taking one capsule each night, about a half hour before I intended to go to bed. Usually, it took more like an hour for me to start feeling like it's bedtime, but once I fell asleep, I was OUT. Not only did I fall asleep and stay asleep on nights when I took melatonin, but I almost couldn't wake up the next morning! I'm not sure if my typically sleep deprived body just wanted to cling to an actual full night's sleep for all that it was worth, or if the melatonin was keeping me zonked for longer than I really needed. Either way, I did struggle to get moving the next day and felt pretty groggy for a few hours once I did get out of bed.
After starting to use melatonin more regularly, I noticed the nights I forgot to take a capsule, I struggled even more than usual to sleep. I would lie awake for most of the night, and if I did drift off for a little while, it was short-lived; I'd be awake again in twenty minutes or so. Only when taking the melatonin consistently was I able to reliably fall and stay asleep. I also found the capsules to sometimes get stuck in my throat. They're not overly large, but the coating gets sticky quickly and I ended up coughing up the bits that stuck about twenty minutes after taking the capsule with a full glass of water. I recommend eating something after taking the pill to ensure that you swallow the whole thing.
My plan is to continue using the supplement for the next few months, to monitor long term effects. Should I notice any significant changes in my current review information over that time, I'll be sure to update, but for now it seems melatonin may actually be an effective solution for people who struggle meeting their body's rest needs. If you do try melatonin for your own sleep issues, it is important to establish a routine and stick to it - otherwise you'll be right back where you started!
Have you taken melatonin or another sleep aid? What were your experiences? If you don't take drugs or supplements but still suffer from sleep disorders, how to you find ways to ensure your body receives enough rest?