Insomnia: Alright, I know I will catch grief for this so let me disclaim right away! Do not take essential oils undiluted. Okay, now that you all know that I know... Marjoram oil. Marjoram oil: about eight drops in a capsule will do. Awesome for headaches too.
On the positive side, for insomnia, I can always rely on Melatonin, or its precursors (5-HTP and or L-Tryptophan), for one day, and one day only, on day 1.
However, on the negative side, when, on day 2, I attempt to use the same supplement at the same dose, I have insomnia on day 2. Then when, on day 3, I double my initial dose, then it works for me again, but only on day 3. It does not work for me on day 4. On day 4 I have insomnia again. Then when, on day 5, I quadruple my initial dose, then it works for me again, but only on day 5. On day 6, I have insomnia again, because my quadrupled initial dose is not high enough for me on day 6. Now, this kind of inconsistent and erratic performance motivates me to dump my supply of Melatonin, 5-HTP and L-Tryptophan, and start taking something else (for insomnia). Because, as to Melatonin and or its precursors, it is a tremendous challenge for me to try to determine what the proper dose should be for me.
All in all, based on the many books that have been written about Melatonin, I find it amazing how overrated and overpraised Melatonin is, when in reality Melatonin and its precursors perform unreliably and inconsistently.
I agree, when melatonin works, it works great. It just doesn't work consistently. I recently bought some gummies w/ melatonin (total 3 mg/ dose) and have started using apigenin as well. The first few days of these 2 items, I slept like a log. Then it stopped working and I was up and down all night again. So I added another apigenin and slept again. After the 2nd night of this higher dose, I see my face is breaking out. Not whitehead pimples, but red bumps that soon scab over. It looks like I have rosacea. So, what to do? I'd rather sleep than worry about my skin, so hope it gets better over time. This insomnia is terrible and NOTHING I have ever used works very long.
Hi Art, I've been following all your post regarding melatonin's effectiveness as far as anti-aging and sleep issues, which works best for my insomnia, glycine before bed melatonin 5mg. Is it safe to take it long term?
Also I've read, can't remember where, but there's a warning, do not take melatonin with b6 is detrimental to your health! Scared what may happen? Taking the brand that was recommended here in earth clinic. Your opinion what I value most. Thanks for your contributions to this site.
Melatonin is considered to be safe over the short and long term and has a "huge multitude of other prohealth effects" including, AD, PD and fighting cancer, but also having synergy with chemo and radiotherapy while also fending off the negative side effects associated with these two standard of care cancer treatments, but don't take my word for it, read this NCBI article that discusses an incomplete list of the many potential health benefits of melatonin as well as a very good safety profile based on a large volume of previous studies
Keep in mind that even though they explain how safe it is, I still maintain that some people cannot tolerate melatonin. Here is a most interesting quote from this article regarding very long term use of melatonin over 4 years at 75 mg/night :
Melatonin has also been suggested for use as a contraceptive for women,  which might raise the question of whether melatonin damages the female reproductive system. Notably, no side effects were reported in a report of a phase 2 clinical trial in which 1400 women were treated with 75 mg of melatonin nightly for 4 years.
Regarding the addition of vitamin B6 and its safety, most melatonin products contain only 1 - 10 mg of vitamin B-6 and since you are only taking 5 mg of melatonin, your max B6 dose would be 10 mg. Here is a link to an NIH vitamin B-6 fact sheet and below the link is an important quote from the report that should answer your question on the safety of long term use of vitamin B-6 :
Can vitamin B6 be harmful?
People almost never get too much vitamin B6 from food. But taking high levels of vitamin B6 from supplements for a year or longer can cause severe nerve damage, leading people to lose control of their bodily movements. The symptoms usually stop when they stop taking the supplements. Other symptoms of too much vitamin B6 include painful, unsightly skin patches, extreme sensitivity to sunlight, nausea, and heartburn.
The daily upper limits for vitamin B6 are listed below. These levels do not apply to people who are taking vitamin B6 for medical reasons under the care of a doctor.
|Life Stage||Upper Limit|
|Birth to 12 months||Not established|
|Children 1–3 years||30 mg|
|Children 4–8 years||40 mg|
|Children 9–13 years||60 mg|
|Teens 14–18 years||80 mg|
It is worth noting that too much B-6 can cause nerve damage/neuropathy as outlined in the above article and too little can have a similar effect!
The other day I posted that anyone using high dose melatonin (HDM) with B6 in it should not use this type of melatonin because you can potentially get too much vitamin B6 using HDM or very high dose (VHDM). This is when you could potentially expose yourself to nerve damage/neuropathy, so don't do it. Dr Neel does not use HDM with B6 in it and Dr. Shallenberger does not use the type with B6 either.
I've been taking melatonin the way Art suggested--2 hours before bed I take 1/3 total dose, then 1 hour before the next 1/3, then at bedtime the final 1/3.
I also take niacin, 100 mg, at bedtime since it helps also. So, most nights this really works and I fall asleep fast. I still wake several times per night but go right back to sleep. I wake up well and feel okay for several hours, then feel like I could nap but power through it since I'm at work.
I've been taking a total of 15 mg melatonin. But, like last night, nothing helped me sleep. I took another 5 mg melatonin an hour after bedtime and still didn't sleep but maybe 3 hours total. Any idea why? Or is this just something you have to deal with? (No choice there, I guess). Also, some days I get a real headache that lasts until noon or so. Is this the melatonin? I think so but it could be allergies.
Thanks, Art, this has worked more often than not and I'm happy for that.
Yes, unfortunately I have not found anything natural that works everytime, not even medical marijuana which is the best natural sleep aid I have found using the indica variety with high THC content and low CBD content. Overall, melatonin 123, for me is more effective than just taking the melatonin all at one time.
I would suggest you use Deirdre's addition to the melatonin of magnesium l threonate (Mag-T) or magnesium glycinate will also have a similar effect. The melatonin helps to slow the mind down a bit and magnesium tends to help your muscles to relax. Mag oil (MO) can also work quickly if you forgot to take your magnesium pill about an hour to an hour and a half before bed, by applying to the back of the neck and shoulder area as well as the chest as that whole muscle group tends to tighten throughout the day making it harder to get to sleep at night and MO loosens those up quickly, just spray it on and rub it in. Magnesium Taurate works also for helping with sleep. Melatonin and magnesium (M&M) are better than either one alone. My personal experience is that M&M gives a slightly better quality of sleep than either one alone.
The medical marijuana is generally my last resort and it also works well with magnesium and that combination probably is the strongest in the natural products. If that isn't enough, then you would have to talk to your doctor about prescription sleep aids, which I have never done.
Some people do fairly well with valerian root extract or GABA or both, but I consider these a bit weaker than the above mentioned items. Some people use benadryl, but this is not good for regular use as it is thought to contribute to the potential for dementia and or other neurodegenerative issues. Nyquil also has a product that contains Diphenhydramine, the active component from Benadryl and of course it will have the same drawbacks as Benadryl in longer term usage.
The blackout soft fabric night glasses are useful too when you are unable to darken your room enough. These fabric sleeping glasses let your body know that it is definitely night time. The soft foam ear plugs can help if there is significant background noise such as traffic.
A 10 to 15 minute dose of bright morning sunshine every morning helps to get your circadian rhythm back on track.
No computer, tablets, laptops, bright lights or tv for at least 1 1/2 hours before bed as these trick your body into thinking it is still daytime and will not allow natural melatonin production to do its job properly. Generally, the more active you are during the day, the easier it will be to get to sleep.
For mild sleeping problems, ashwagandha, lemon balm, teas for sleep, chamomile, deep breathing, epsom salt bath soak, passion flower and valerian root extract can be helpful. There are also combination sleep aids that have many of these in various combinations. One word of caution, the valerian root extract capsules have a smell to it that to me is disgusting and I can not tolerate that smell every night.
Lastly, getting on a regular schedule of sleep and waking is also longer term helpful and it is free.
Art has given excellent advice BUT if you don't do things like stop caffeine intake early in the afternoon, indulge in chocolate at night which has caffeine, use your computer before going to sleep, have light emanating from devices in your bedroom you will have problems.
Work on above and sleep improves. Also setting regular sleeping hours! Melatonin does work. I love it. I get deep rest from it.
Another option is to listen to theta waves with headphones before sleeping. if you are not familiar with these just google theatre waves for sleep.
Thank you for your feedback on melatonin. Yes, I've found sometimes melatonin works and sometimes it doesn't. It definitely has more of an effect for me if taken with magnesium l threonate, as Art mentioned. Also, I found that 30 mg works better than 20. And I take it all at once... Didn't find I needed to stagger the dosage after all.
One thing I would like to mention is that going for a walk to the point of body fatigue has also been very helpful for my sleep. My sleep issues actually correlate to the aging of my two dogs. I used to do a minimum of 3 miles a day with them. However, now they are over 14 and don't want to walk even to the end of the block on most days! Since walking them less, my sleep has gotten progressively worse. The past week I have been walking (on my own), trying to get back to 3 miles and wow, it has made a tremendous difference to my sleep. I sleep better after walking than after an exhausting 1 hour karate class. Interesting, no?
Just thought I'd put that out there for all with sleep issues. Walking, whether slow or fast paced, is unbelievably beneficial to health.
I started lifting weights to help with sleep, so I lift every other day and then swim several miles on the other days. I follow all the other sleep hygiene rules, so blue light/devices, wrong foods, etc, are already under control. I can only take magnesium through my skin and do that every morning and at night. If I use too much, I get loose even if it's topical applications. I am under much stress (husband passed, had new floors installed, a/c broke and had a plumbing leak all at once). And my cat is mourning DH being gone, so she's acting up a bit. I am handling all of this well enough (he was sick for so long that it's actually restfully quiet around here now) but just need to get some good, restorative sleep. Haven't felt rested in years. Menopause doesn't help. I will try to up the melatonin and see if it helps. But last night was worse than the night before and I really thought I'd be too tired to not sleep. I drink one cup of coffee in the morning and then nothing but water the rest of the day.
There are different forms of magnesium to take. Look up and try this form of it: Magnesium glycinate
Most magnesium supplements that you will find at drugstore are with the oxide form because it's cheap.
Are you able to find a pool? Water is an excellent therapy, it de-stresses and soothes.
Do you really think I would say I cannot take magnesium if I haven't tried? Trust me. With my ibsd, ANY form of magnesium will trigger my bowels. Period. I can use mag oil but only up to a point. As I said in my post, I swim several miles on the days I don't lift weights. I am doing everything in my power to get myself some sleep. Not much works and, like the melatonin, what works one day may not work the next.
A couple more things to consider. The form of magnesium that Deirdre takes is Magnesium L Threonate (Mag-T) and for me this one has never caused diarrhea, but I do not have IBSD. I think the reason for this is the L-Threonate is the largest ingredient that is supposed to target the magnesium to the brain. It may be worth a try to see if it helps with sleep.
Here is a link to a typical product :
Since melatonin at 15 mg/night is doable for you, it may be worth testing a 5 mg melatonin product that has vitamin B6 in it. Melatonin is poorly absorbed and the B6 aids in the absorption of melatonin. I am currently experimenting with a melatonin product with B-6 and time release and it does seem to be slightly more potent than the same quantity of regular melatonin. Here is a link to a 5 mg melatonin product with vitamin B-6 and time release in it:
Here is another melatonin product with vitamin B-6 without the time release :
The mag oil (MO) applied to the upper chest, shoulders and rear of neck should be synergistic with the melatonin while having minimal if any impact on the gut.
The night shades can be useful in signaling your body that it is definitely nighttime and time to go to sleep because they block out almost all light in the room and when combined with the bright sunlight exposure for 10 to 15 minutes in the morning, can help to put your circadian rhythm back on track which should also help you get to sleep. Here is a link to those fabric sleep glasses and this one comes with ear plugs which can be useful if you are dealing with significant background noise :
It sounds like your daily activity level is likely high enough to help induce sleep, but this may be a case of more is better, so you can experiment a little to see if slightly more daily exercise will be additive in promoting sleep for you.
The medical marijuana is also a consideration if legal where you are located, but I would "only use it on the nights when your regular regimen is not letting you get to sleep". The less you use it, the more effective it can be for the purpose of sleep. Think of it as an emergency backup plan only to use when you absolutely have to get to sleep. The form to consider is Indica with high THC content and low CBD content. This is strong and very little should be needed. The Sativa variety, in my experience, tends to wake me up, but definitely does not help me sleep.
Lastly, you can also test some of the multi-ingredient sleep aids that may contain some of the herbs and supplements that I mentioned in my previous reply to you. Mixing all of these options up seems to be useful in insuring that they all remain effective for you.
I forgot to mention to you regarding your IBSD because I was so busy talking about melatonin usage for sleep. Look into low dose naltrexone (LDN) for the IBSD, because if it works for you as it has for others, that relief is also likely to help ameliorate your sleep issues. Melatonin may also be useful for this issue, but quality studies on this specific health issue are insufficient, but the known methods of action for melatonin would also tend to suggest potential benefit from melatonin.
Art, is the LDN over the counter or by prescription? I would definitely try it but, when I look at Amazon, I don't see it. Can you tell me where to get it or recommend a brand? Thanks. I see my gastro doctor at the end of August, so a prescription would probably be doable.
Gertjr, I see you are a beautiful soul, applying knowledge and energy to your life. I read a lot trying to find solutions to my questions three and I'm a weirdo . I use to resent my weird but now it is what makes me me. I read Dr.Batmanghelidj when I ruptured L-5 and spend a lot of time in the tub praying . In his books he talks about how healthy exercise can create more cortisol issues and affect digestion further. I realize you are going through a lot and my heart is with you in prayer most days. Faith and love surround you. My gut health was a mess since birth . Dr. Eric Berg, free information on you tube, has really shed light on my gut health. I don't do the fasting or keto stuff. I have to take ox bile most days to eat food. I use the mag threonate in the now brand most days too for my brain. Mag does not bother me at all but I got c diff once from a dental treatment and had a horrible time trying to get my life back from that. I know what these things are like to walk out day in day out. I only pipe in here as led. I have my own dragons to slay and frequent Mark Hemans on zoom for miracles. I am still learning how to be who I was created to be. A spirit being in a body full of all the power to override any natural facts with spiritual truths. I still use a lot of supplements but hope to enter the day when the truth that I know overrides all facts. Bless you Gertjr as you journey, you sound like an amazing woman. Charity
LDN is available by prescription only, but if the doctor is familiar with LDN and its good safety profile, they will sometimes prescribe it for you. It is generally used at less than 5 mgs per night. Otherwise, some of the LDN websites can recommend a doctor in your area who will prescribe it for you. LDN is used for many health issues and more recently, possibly for Covid-19. Here is a link to a brief article that discusses the use of LDN for IBS-c/d :
Here is a link to 2 LDN sites :
I realize everyone reacts differently to doses and remedies. I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. There are many causes. I think my cause is my blood sugar goes up during the night and wee morning hours. I tried so many remedies, what works for me at night is 6mg. Melatonin and 1 cup of Organic So. African Red Rooibos Tea. I buy it (80 bags) on Amazon, the tea relaxes. Everyone has to find the right dosage of melatonin that works for them.
I have been experimenting with melatonin after reading Art Solbrig's extensive two articles on it in the Coronavirus and Supplements section of EC. I want to report my results as they have been quite amazing. I hope this will be helpful for those with sleep issues, stress, and anxiety.
Starting a few weeks ago, about 30 minutes before bed, I took 10 mg of melatonin with magnesium L threonate. I slept very deeply and woke up the next morning feeling like my brain had finally gotten a chance to recuperate after YEARS of sleeping poorly. I was astounded at the sensation of deep, restorative sleep. You don't realize how badly you've been sleeping until you start sleeping deeply again. It must have been like that for 10 years, at least.
I continued the 10 mg melatonin with magnesium protocol for one week. The first few days, like many report, I was extremely tired during the day. But I didn't fight the sleepiness, I just took a nap or went back to sleep in the morning, figuring I needed the extra deep sleep time. I felt so much calmer and more peaceful as the first week of melatonin and magnesium went on.
After 1 week, the sleepy effects wore off as Art said they would, so I upped it to 20 mg (still with magnesium ) at night. More deep and restorative sleep.
Now on week 3, I am testing 30 mg of melatonin and finding it wonderful. I no longer have the drowsiness issue that people report from melatonin.
Note to Art Solbrigh - thank you so much for writing so extensively on the health benefits of melatonin! Had it not been for all your research and pubmed studies, I probably wouldn't have experimented with it as I didn't like the drowsy feeling it gave when I tried it in the past. Very grateful to you!
I'm very happy that melatonin is useful for improving your sleep! The addition of Mag-T is also additive at helping you to get to sleep and sleeping well. Mag-T, like magnesium taurate are both noted for targeting the brain. Another form of magnesium that is quite helpful for sleep is magnesium glycinate and I always find that adding the magnesium to the melatonin is very helpful for getting the best quality of rest!
Thank you for the feedback as it is helpful in confirming what is useful and what is not useful for everyone on EC!
Hello Art and Deirdre,
I've been taking a lot of things (ashwaghanda, valerian, etc) for sleep. I had read that melatonin for sleep was best if taken in low doses, but here you say large doses helped you. So, if I want to take only melatonin for my insomnia, how much would you take to start?
I've been taking 3 mg along with my other herbs and sleeping fitfully. I had surgery and the tramadol plus my other stuff has made me sleep wonderfully but, taking the tramadol at night only for pain (and I don't have pain anymore) I only have 4 left.
So I'm now stressing about not getting good sleep anymore. I need to be awake for work, but have a long weekend coming up and could start a high dose to see how it affects me. Any suggestions? I really don't like taking a whole concoction of stuff, it tastes terrible and doesn't really work all that well anyway.
It could be difficult coming off something like Tramadol that is fairly strong and can be on the habit forming side, especially since it was helping you with sleep. Your body has adjusted to it so you could try tapering off of it gradually instead of just stopping it all at once to help with the transition off of it.
Deirdre has the best method of taking melatonin with magnesium. The magnesium tends to help the muscles and tension relax, while the melatonin helps with sleep. Magnesium glycinate is going to be about as good as any form of magnesium for this purpose taken about 1 1/2 hours before bed.
The lowest dose of melatonin that has shown effectiveness for sleep is one third of a milligram, but you are already taking 3 mg. The next dose is 5 milligrams and then 10 mg. Myself, I have used a method I call "melatonin 123" to help me get to sleep. I determine what time I want to go to bed, so lets say I want to go to bed at 11:00pm, I take one melatonin at 9:00 pm, one melatonin at 10:00pm and one melatonin at 11:00 pm and usually by 10:45 I am yawning and ready to go to bed. In your case, you might use 1 mg x three melatonin in order to maintain your current dose of 3 mg. The time released melatonin can have a similar effect as "melatonin 123", but my preference is the melatonin 123. The idea is to release melatonin at a more natural rate into your system. When I take my dose all at once, I do not get as good of a sleep effect as melatonin 123.
There are additional things you can do to help improve sleep. The first thing is exposing yourself to a good dose of morning sunlight, to try and get your circadian rhythm in sync. Avoid using the tv or computer monitor at least 1 1/2 hours before bed because these can trick your mind and body into thinking it is still daylight. Make your bedroom dark enough where you can not see your hand in front of your face in the dark. Failing that, using the soft fabric night glasses like these can make it plenty dark:
If there is ambient noise such as traffic, noise deadening ear plugs may be useful.
Medical marijuana can also be useful, but may be on the habit forming side too.
Antihistamines can help initially, but they are not good for you on a regular basis or long term as they have been shown to possibly contribute to dementia with long term use and they can affect blood pressure in some people.
Lastly, getting on a regular sleep schedule or routine sets your body up for certain expectations of when to fall asleep and when to wake up in order to help sync the circadian rhythm.
You may have to make this extra effort to help with the transition off of Tramadol in order to get back into a good sleep rhythm.
Good luck and keep us posted on how you do!
I suggest you take Art's lead on the melatonin dosage. I am going to try his 123 method tonight with 10 mg each hour. I decided to skip melatonin and magnesium last night to see how I would do. Was wide awake at 3:00am and couldn't fall back asleep, so I ended up taking 10 mg of melatonin and mag l threonate at 3:30. It did eventually kick in.
Note: I also regularly use my Waff max to help put me in the sleep and peaceful zone. Not sure you saw my video on it a year ago. It's almost impossible to explain how well it works until you lie on one and, unfortunately, there is no way to demo it unless you happen to work at Loreal in France where they have a giant room with Waffs for their employees to recuperate on! At any rate, the Waff at least once a day plus the 2 supplements have totally turned night-time around for me in the past month. Good luck!
Melatonin to regulate my sleep cycle which was worsening with age (62 y/o male). Give it 2 weeks or more time before you see results. People give up too soon when experimenting with melatonin. Give your brain time to adjust to a new circadian pattern. 3 mg sublingual melatonin before bed is what I do.
Melatonin for nighttime stress and anxiety. I take a low dose 3 mg sublingual melatonin 1/2 hour or more before going to sleep. I used to wake up in fits of anxiety a few times a night and it would take me 2 hours or more to get back to sleep. Sometimes it happened twice in a night. Since taking melatonin, I sleep much better. Still sometimes I do wake up but go back to sleep within a min or two.
For months I have been waking up at 4:00 am and unable to get back to sleep, either because I need to use the bathroom or someone moving around in our house or anxiety attacks. In the past, magnesium supplements have done the trick keeping me asleep but lately they have not helped much. Exercise that tires me out definitely helps keep me asleep all night, but on the days I don't exercise hard I wake up. I bought 3 mg melatonin and tried that. Helped the first night, but not after that.
Finally I tried 1 melatonin and 1 magnesium l threonate capsule before bed. That was the winning combination. I am sleeping deeply until the morning and feeling extraordinarily refreshed and energized. Don't want this to become less effective, so I'm only doing it 2-3 nights in a row, then taking a break from the supplements until I feel the need to do it again. Usually another 2-3 days off. Hope this helps someone.
I have struggled with insomnia. will try this. Thank you.
This supplement combination has been helping me sleep better at night. The article I got it from stated it was as effective as taking Ambien (but without the side effects.)
11.25 mg zinc
225 mg magnesium
Take 1 hour before bedtime.
I was on all sorts of pharmaceuticals to control chronic migraine for years, finally got off everything. Melatonin is a definite trigger for me--0.5mg and I'm vomiting, need drugs for migraine, can't see--if you have migraines, be careful.
2 things come right to my mind for sleep issues:
Sleep Assure (a melatonin + supplement) and Sleepy time tea. I have tried both and they both work well. Also, never take benadryl or anti- depressents before bed.. both can act as stimulates.
I had a stroke in 20005 at 28 y/o. so anything I say or propose, is something I have already tried or experimented with.
l have taken melatonin for years for insomnia that came on during menopause. The first time l took it l took a large dose (5 tabs of 5 mg each). It took 3 days before l got a full nights sleep but it worked mostly. I was able to cut back to 10 mg a night after 3 days. The only times it didn't work were because l had drunk some kind of caffeinated beverage after 6 pm at night.
I have found that Melatonin is extremely beneficial in helping me get to bed. This is on top of the Seroquel that I already take, which is dosed at 100mg. I usually start off with 3 mgs. of Melatonin, and if that doesn't help, I take another 3 mgs. (because the supplement that I take only comes in 3 mg. tablets).
The usual recommended dose of Melatonin to start with is 5 mgs., and then take it from there. This is a extremely effective supplement, and I would recommend it first before anything else.
NAY- I have tried Melatonin and I did not find it to be a good alternative for insomnia. Firstly I am on a antidepressant-Lexapro, and I feel like Melatonin really makes my depression worse, and it's effectiveness was inconstant, one time I felt real drowsy and slept good, another time only slept a few hours then woke up again. My boyfriend's Mom also tried it and said it did not work for her either.
(Hobart, Tasmania Australia)
Insomnia: My kids have a hard time sleeping at night. I've struggled for about 10 years trying to put my ADHD girl to bed at night. The older she became, the worse it was, telling me to "get lost" when I came in the room at 11:00 p.m. She would just continue on the computer and ignore me. It was very depressing. I had to sleep so I would just go and leave her alone. Her dad didn't help much. Rescue remedy! melatonin! I bought the chewable kind and used to give it to her when I was totally exasperated at 10 or 11 p.m. Now I give it to her at 8 or 8:30 p.m. and now she jumps into bed by 9 or 9:30 p.m. What a miracle! Why did it take me so long to figure that one out? She was sleep deprived for many years!