I don't have insomnia but I'd noticed significant improvements in longer and deeper sleep with dreams by applying all natural aromatherapy sprays. It is 'unofficially' balancing my hormones. The herbal complex in the sprays are to support hormonal balance in energized water/alcohol.
Rigorous daily exercise can promote sustained sleep through the night. I am a 58 year old female in menopause. 1-2 + hours of brisk walking or strenuous landscaping does the trick.
Regarding Deep Sleep Deprivation:
I always had a sneaking suspicion I was not getting enough deep sleep at night, but it wasn't until I got a smartwatch recently that I saw how shockingly little I get in the deep sleep cycle each night. While the recommended range for adults in my age group is 1.75 to 2.25 hours of deep sleep each night, I was averaging 13 minutes up to 28 minutes the past 6 nights.
I started my smartwatch sleep monitoring without any usual Magnesium or Melatonin for the first couple of nights and my deep sleep average was a dismal 13 to 17 minutes. Once I added magnesium, it went up about 10 minutes. Last night I took 40 mg of melatonin (my usual dose when I take it) and my deep sleep total amount went up to 47 minutes last night. Woo hoo! Still under but better. I'll report back as I experiment more with supplements, herbs and exercise. I highly recommend a smartwatch if you're interested in how much deep, core, and REM sleep you're getting each night. Very interesting.
And a big thanks to Art for all of his articles on melatonin. I never would have experimented with higher doses, had it not been for all of his research and postings!
Thank you for the critical feedback information, Deirdre! This is an important feature about melatonin that you would never know if you were just taking it and not monitoring as you are. Melatonin can not only increase deep sleep, but it can also increase REM sleep which are both useful for promoting overall health. Again, you would not normally know that such changes are taking place, but it is and it is a healthful change. Melatonin works in the background helping to maintain your body in a state of homeostasis. All things you would not know or realize unless you tested these aspects of health before and after taking melatonin.
Based on my very extensive research occasionally taking melatonin is okay, but never long term.
I had a sleep study in a sleep clinic and my sleep index was 37% (85% and higher is normal). They know how to treat an obstructive apnea, but have no clue about central apnea, fragmented sleep, night time sympathetic activation, etc.
Absolutely nothing works for me, including melatonin (trust me I've tried everything there's to try -supplements, healing modalities, therapeutic devices, earthing, red light therapy, sun light therapy, mind body connection, hypnosis etc). I am not looking for any advice on insomnia here, I know too much to believe that a pill would help/cure me. Just want to warn you that there's more than an eye can see when it comes to supplemental melatonin. Just like with cancer, a radical surgery won't cure you of cancer, the same with melatonin and other supplements- find the root cause, which could be environmental, and the body will heal itself.
A Neurosurgeon's Take On Melatonin.
TIME #17: MELATONIN AND INSULIN ARE SOLAR METRONOMES
I just read the link from the neurosurgeon's take on melatonin and he is partially correct, but the most important thing he didn't say was that melatonin levels decline with age and reach a very low level by age 45, right when age-related diseases start to increase. He also didn't mention that melatonin is produced in the gut at a rate that is estimated to be 400 times the amount produced by the pineal gland. This production of melatonin in the gut helps maintain the health of the gut microbiome, but with the age-related decline of melatonin, gut health suffers and this becomes very apparent around age 50. Melatonin is produced throughout the body and the body has melatonin receptors throughout.
Supplementing melatonin can help compensate for this age-related decline and help to maintain our health well beyond age 50. He is only looking at one part of the puzzle and is not seeing the larger picture. Declining melatonin levels is in no way healthy for us. Ignoring that fact by saying the body makes enough melatonin on its own is just foolish and detrimental to our health.
Sam in Miami.. Did you ever have a flu vax or any other & then had sleeping issues? I provided cpaps & bipaps to patients for many years. While talking with the patients, I observed that most of the Central Sleep Apnea patients were regularity getting vaccinated. Sad to say, most doctors do not understand the difference between Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) & Central Sleep Apnea.
Taking melatonin orally long term can lead to serious eye damage, according to these studies. They appear to thin your retina by ruining photoreceptor regeneration.
Impact of oral melatonin on the electroretinogram cone response
Melatonin increases photoreceptor susceptibility to light-induced damage.
In your first study(2009) people were given melatonin at a time when melatonin would not normally be present in significant amounts in the eyes. Melatonin should mainly be taken at night except for serious diseases such as Covid-19 or late stage cancer. Also the study only had 12 participants and since it was an RCT only 6 participants got melatonin. It is hard to draw meaningful conclusions from such a small study.
Melatonin has protective effects on the eyes when taken at night when its presence in the eyes is normal. The following study(2016) discusses what melatonin does in the eyes to help prevent age related macular degeneration :
Here is a relevant study quote :
' Melatonin behaves like synthetic mitochondria-targeted antioxidants, which concentrate in mitochondria at relatively high levels; thus, melatonin may prevent mitochondrial damage in AMD. The retina contains telomerase, an enzyme implicated in maintaining the length of telomeres, and oxidative stress inhibits telomere synthesis, while melatonin overcomes this effect. These features support considering melatonin as a preventive and therapeutic agent in the treatment of AMD. '
Your second study (1992) is an animal study that again gave the animals melatonin during a time when the pineal gland would not be excreting melatonin into the system and then they exposed the rats to high intensity lighting for 24 hours straight to induce photodamage and then they returned the rats to normal light cycling, before killing and removing their eyes for examination. I'm not sure what the point of this study was because these are not real life conditions that humans would likely ever be exposed to except possibly under torture, but it certainly does not prove that melatonin taken under normal conditions is deleterious to the eyes by any stretch of the imagination.
Normally light exposure suppresses melatonin production and excretion by the pineal gland so the eyes would not normally have significant amounts of melatonin during the day. On the other hand suppression of melatonin at night from artificial night lighting is unhealthful as discussed here :
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side#:~:text=Exposure to light suppresses the, circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion.
Here is a relevant quote :
' Exposure to light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms. Even dim light can interfere with a person's circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion. '
I am not aware of any studies that prove that long term exposure to melatonin is bad for our health and on the contrary there are many studies suggesting that long term use of melatonin implies multiple health benefits as melatonin is protective of most major organs in the body, including the eyes and helps to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease.
There are over 31,000 melatonin studies on just PubMed alone and I don't think they continue to do an ever increasing number of melatonin studies because it is bad for our health, on the contrary they continue to research melatonin because of its multiple health effects throughout the body. I have read hundreds of melatonin studies and melatonin is clearly very good for our health. That is why I have taken high dose melatonin for over a decade.
I too have taken Melatonin for just about 20 years.
I read a book on it many years ago with all the studies and found nothing bad about it. I sleep well with it. I take 3 mg every night. ( 7 hour sleep and refreshed in the morning).
Art, just want to thank you for the effort in critiquing the studies cited.
Too many times research papers, even "peer reviewed" RCTs, reach conclusions not worthy of citing due to a plethora of issues calling into question the validity of the research. John Ioannidis took a deep look at this subject circa 2005. For anyone interested, here is a link to that paper.
Why Most Published Research Findings Are False
John P. A. Ioannidis
40 mg melatonin?? Averages sleep supplements are 3 - 5 mg.
EC: Please read some of the many articles and posts on EC from Art about melatonin.
Have you looked at the Melatonin Book by Jeff Bowles. I can't remember the exact name of the book, but in it he includes tons of research on taking high dose melatonin and all of its numerous benefits. Thought you might be interested, if you haven't already seen it.
Thank you for the recommendation, Madelyn!
I have not read the book, but I will look for it.
one reason why you might not be getting deep sleep is that the smart watch against your body exposes you to microwave radiation which is the same frequency as a cell phone. microwave radiation interferes with the body's production of melatonin. what an ironic situation. if you look at the precautionary information with your cell phone it will tell you to keep an inch from your body. a little known fact. many people with smart watches report skin irritations and other problems. get rid of the watch, get rid of your cell phone, get rid of wi-fi and replace with hard wired internet connections. check out www.ehtrust.org
Thanks, David. Those are good points, but I had sleeping issues for a few years before I started wearing an Apple watch two weeks ago. I used the smartwatch for about 10 days, gathered sleep data, made a few changes that have helped (such as no caffeine in the afternoon), and now no longer wear it at night as I have a good idea of the quality of my sleep. It was incredibly helpful, though, I must say.
Here's an article from Apple's legal on their 42mm watch RF exposure information: https://www.apple.com/legal/rfexposure/watch1,2/en/.
If you turn a smartwatch to Airplane mode when you sleep (which will disconnect it from Wifi and BlueTooth), you won't get radiation. One can always test RF with an inexpensive Dr. Gauss meter if curious about the RF levels from a watch too.
Thank you for the relevant feedback, David!
It is unfortunate about the politics and money involved in studies, but that is the world we live in. I am always excited about supplements that fair well in meta analysis and multi study reviews, because that is not an easy feat for supplements to achieve. Study quality is frequently an issue.
Melatonin is one supplement that generally fairs well under such increased scrutiny and is just one of the reasons why I like melatonin as much as I do.
Omega 3, Soy Lecithin, Honey
A sleep combo of omega 3, soy lecithin (two forms) and a swallow of honey
At bedtime I take a combo of 4 items that I am pretty happy with for sleep. The first item is large softgel of Spring Valley 1000 mg omega 3 fish oil concentrate, sold on the shelf next to Walmart pharmacies. The brain has a sizable percentage of DHA.
DHA makes up over 90% of the n-3 PUFAs in the brain and 10%–20% of its total lipids. DHA is especially concentrated in the gray matter. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Spring-Valley-Omega-3-Fish-Oil-Soft-Gels-1000-mg-180-Count/413918797?from=searchResults
Also, I take a 1200 mg softgel of liquid soy lecithin and one half rounded iced teaspoon of soy lecithin powder. The phosphatidyl choline in lecithin is a nervous system relaxant. Approximately 1/3 of your brain is made from lecithin! When you include lecithin in your diet, you are nourishing your brain and helping to support your nervous system. https://www.pipingrock.com/lecithin/lecithin-non-gmo-1200-mg-240-quick-release-softgels-823 https://bulkfoods.com/lecithin/lecithin-powder.html
Also I take a swallow of honey. Honey has been used for centuries for the treatment of insomnia because it has hypnotic action. Additionally, traditional Ayurvedic experts recommend honey for skin disorders (such as wounds and burns), cardiac pain and palpitation, all imbalances of the lungs and anemia.
Usually I look for a 5 lb jug of honey, a quantity that lasts for a while: https://www.walmart.com/search?q=pure n simple honey 80 oz&typeahead=pure n simple https://www.frysfood.com/p/crockett-s-desert-gold-honey-jug/0007292100012?fulfillment=PICKUP&searchType=default_search
Yes Teri, and thanks. That is what I take evenings for sleep.
For other sleep suggestions, I recently received this latest free Health Alert email from natural Dr. Shallenberger at SecondOpinionNewsletter.com:
(currently Sonoita, AZ)
This is an insightful, kids ADHD melatonin/sleep article: Https://www.secondopinionnewsletter.com/Health-Alert-Archive/View-Archive/15288/The-Underlying-Cause-of-ADHD--and-the-Easy-Treatment-to-Fix-It.htm
Maybe hyperactive kids have also become deficient in phospholipids like phosphatidylcholine which are refined out of dietary oils. Maybe hyperactive kids have also become deficient in omega-3 fats. Sour cherries apparently have twice the melatonin content as sweet cherries.
(currently Sonoita, AZ)
The best thing that has noticeably helped my concentration is beet root powder (BRP), at just a rounded measuring teaspoon, mornings. I noticed a lack of concentration at my laptop several days after I had stopped taking the beet root powder. I have tried about 3 different BRP products, the Horbaach BRP and Box Nutra's BRP, and the sweetest tasting by far is from Nuts.com. I think BRP would be something to try for ADHD to increase concentration. The BRP apparently increases nitric oxide which dilates the blood vessels in the brain, so they are using it in the elderly for Alzheimer's and dementia.
I take 4 eye droppers of a dual extract (water infusion & alcohol extraction combined) of Reishi mushroom about 30 minutes before bed and it relaxes me so much that I drift to sleep naturally and effortlessly.
I would say that Taurine would be a good addition to the list. Although Taurine is an active component in many energy drinks that are meant to help you stay active with more energy, when taken at bedtime, not in the form of an energy drink, it can also help you to relax and fall asleep and potentially sleep longer.
Here is a relevant quote :
' A positive correlation was also observed between dietary taurine intake and the total sleep score. In particular, positive correlations were observed between dietary taurine intake and sleep scores for questions including ‘take a long time to fall asleep (p < 0.05)', ‘difficult to fall asleep again during fitful sleep (p < 0.05)', and ‘continuously sleepy in the morning (p < 0.05)'. '