Sleep – we know we need it, but too often it’s the first thing we neglect when we are under deadlines, stress or crunched for time. Our blasé attitude toward sleep has created a society of “zombies” walking around at half-power. And the worst part is that we might be too tired to even notice! If you do nothing to support your sleep habits over the years, it’s a slippery slope to zombieland.
You have heard people say “I don’t need much sleep” Most of the time when someone says they only need five or six hours of sleep, that means their ability to tolerate sleep deprivation is better than most. They’re actually walking around with sleep debt which negatively affects the human body, but they are used to it!
What really happens when you sleep? I mean sleep, not snoozing because all of your neurons do not rest when you just nod off for a bit. When you have good sleep, your brain clears out debris that accumulated during the day. And decides what was important to keep in your memory bank and what should be discarded. So you get increased mental clarity! Also, hormones reset during sleep and that is VERY critical.
When you regularly skimp on sleep, you establish a state of impairment that becomes your baseline, so it is hard to recognize that anything is wrong. When people who’ve had one night of impaired sleep take cognitive tests, they’ll say they did “terrible,” But after that first day, they stop noticing their impairment: “Cognitive performance goes down, down, down, but they seem to lack perception that this is happening.” So, you feel “Normal” and consider yourself one of the “lucky” people who don’t need much sleep. This is erroneous. Sleep should be your secret weapon!
Stop touting your ability to “just get 5-6 hours” and go back to normal sleep. Melatonin maintains our 24 hour circadian rhythm which gets disrupted when we have too much light stimulation in the evenings or by hormone imbalances. Melatonin is known as the “Sleep Hormone”
IMPORTANT: You cannot undo Monday-through-Friday deprivation damage simply by sleeping in on Saturdays and Sundays.
Give yourself 2-6 weeks for melatonin to do its job. You did not get out of balance quickly…it took a while…so give yourself grace time to get back into a normal rhythm.
Melatonin enhances dreaming. In fact, vivid dreaming is the #1 side effect reported by users. I believe many of us are not only sleep deprived, but also dream deprived. Dreams are necessary for our mental health.
Yes, melatonin has been found to alleviate depression and also anxiety, taking 3 mg per night for 6 months. Great for perimenopausal and menopausal women.
It can also help with the pain of fibromyalgia, pelvic pain like endometriosis, irritable bowel and migraines.
HOW TO TAKE: It is not a sleeping pill where you swallow it, crawl into bed and expect to go to sleep.
You can take melatonin up to 2 hours before bedtime. But 45 minutes works for me. . If you have a difficult time staying asleep, go with the time-release version.
Recommended dose: 1-3 mg. You can go up to 6 mg per night for severe insomnia.
You will feel GREAT and find all the wonderful information that has been “lost” in your brain due to your sleep deprivation. You will be surprised when you remember things that you thought you forgot!
And please do not turn to products like Tylenol PM or Advil PM. These products contain an antihistamine which when used regularly, can lead to cognitive decline and dementia in people over 50. And AMBIEN, prescribed as a sleeping drug is even worse. People are found to be sleep cooking, sleep eating, sleep shopping and even sleep driving without remembering it. Some people have even gotten DUIs because they were driving while impaired AND they did not even remember getting in the car!
In conclusion: Not getting your zzzzs? Melatonin is for you.
Melatonin has no adverse side effects and is found to be helpful for children as young as 6 who have sleep disturbances related to ADD, ADHD or Autism. And for teenagers who are increasingly experiencing insomnia.
Don’t want to use Melatonin? I also love this product: Relaxing Sleep.
I mix it with a little unsweetened juice and “down the hatch” I actually use it in addition to my melatonin if I’ve had a stressful day.
Relaxing Sleep Tonic
Want to start with a great melatonin product. Here are my favorites.
Restful Night Melatonin
Melatonin Sublingual 3mg
Melatonin Time Release
Email me if you have more questions, or if you would like my Insomnia Handout. I am here to help. email@example.com