Friday, May 23, 2008

Melatonin Works

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i really like to sleep. in fact i love it! and i think nearly every person on the planet could benefit from regular, deep sleep. and i don't think enough people do. in my (crazy) personal opinion, if more people were getting the right amount of sleep most of the time, less people would feel depressed, as some of the same symptoms of depression (mood swings, anger, sensitivity, restlessness, etc) are very prevalent in people with a lack of sleep. just think about it. i mean how many times have you gone a few (try 20) nights with a pitiful lack of quality sleep? chances are if you are a mom, at some point this was a problem, and you started to feel and act differently. because you were exhausted! and then maybe (if you are me) you have tried to counteract that sleep deficit by chugging liters of caffeinated soda (or maybe you are saintly and have not, but i won't judge regardless), only to have to deal with added problems of the shakes and more irritability! alright, maybe this article is just for me. well, if you or your children have some sleep problems i may have an answer for you!

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melatonin to the rescue! a bit of school for you: melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in your brain, and helps let your body know that it is time for sleep. a lot of us ignore that little hormone, way too often. you can purchase a synthetic form that induces a gentle (but seemingly more intense) state of drowsiness, within about 20 minutes. really, you should be where you want to sleep in 20 minutes or less. now, just like your body's hormone, you can ignore and "work" through the drowsiness, as this is not going to knock you out cold and hard and fast. i don't recommend that plan, however. i purchase my bottle from target for less than $5, and it contains quite a few little "magic" pills. the common dosing options seem to be 1 mg, or 3 mg. for an adult i suggest 1 of the 3 mg, maybe 2. 3 if you are hard-pressed, and super wired. this is my personal use with it. there are directions on the bottle, and feel free to follow them. most do state that this is not for children, however it can be (as it is safe) if you are needing something. i use it in one of 2 situations: when we are out of our home and on vacation (of sorts) my kids have a difficult time relaxing and wanting to sleep in a different environment. or when it turns sunny (i despise daylight savings) early on --and my kids go to bed very early--melatonin helps get them on the "new" schedule right away. no nights of kids running around after 10. i struggled several times a year for many years, until a very nice neighbor shared this very handy supplement with me. now, you can use chamomile as an option if your children are irritable and just want to be held (as mentioned in the chamomile posting), but sometimes melatonin is the right step. it is not for "drugging" your kids to do something they don't want to do, it is only to help get their sleepy bodies on track. i use 1 mg, for (average-sized) 3-5 year olds, and up to 3 mg for older kids (sometimes i cut a pill in half). i have used this, and read tons on this, and so far nothing to worry about (in case you are curious). melatonin is available in most supermarkets and other stores, and can also be purchased in a spray form and several herbal companies market sleep "blends" that usually use a combination of melatonin, chamomile and lavender. good sleep habits, are seriously important to your whole well-being, and melatonin is an excellent way to steer your body in the right direction.

1 comment:

Dana said...

I have used this lots of times. For myself and my children to help reintroduce a bedtime schedule. Things get out of whack and it's obvious my children aren't getting enough sleep (read: irritable, cranky, whiny, etc) The only thing is my husband worries immensely when I use it. I don't know how to calm his worries. That's what I could use a tip on. ;-)