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Follow-Up: Sleep Well and Cheap, But Beware Melatonin

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Last week I posted an impromptu series on Ten Free Ways to Improve Sleep (part one and part two) with additional thoughts on the finance of sleep loss. J.D. continued the thread on Get Rich Slowly with A Brief Guide to Better Sleep. J.D. mentions the circadian rhythm, which is genetically imprinted in humans to produce sleep hormones, melatonin, on a twenty-five hour cycle.

Speaking of melatonin, J.D. also suggests that those with sleeping problem purchase over the counter melatonin to use as a supplement to encourage sleep. Since this hormone isn’t regulated by the FDA, you never know what you’re going to get. It’s probably not dangerous, but the efficacy of the supplements is disputed.

Bright lights at night delay the natural production of melatonin in the body. If you want to fall asleep easier, stop staring at the computer monitor when you should be in bed. Some day, I might take my own advice.

Updated August 9, 2011 and originally published May 9, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar J.D. @ Get Rich Slowly

Since [melatonin] isn’t regulated from the FDA, you never know what you’re going to get. It’s probably not dangerous, but the efficacy of the supplements are disputed.

Good points. I’m fortunate that the the brand (Naturemade?) I pick up at the local supermarket seems to do the trick. I’m not sure whether I mentioned in my post or not, but the tablets I take are 3mg. These are often too much for me, and will make me groggy in the morning. I usually cut them in half to get 1.5mg doses.

I’ve also tried a 0.5mg table from Trader Joe’s (with mint flavor, which is bizarre because mint actually stimulates mental activity), but don’t find it nearly as effective.

I’ve been sick for the past couple weeks, and got out of the habit of taking my melatonin. I was grousing to my wife that I wasn’t sleeping well when she pointed this out. I started taking the stuff again, and I’m back to sleeping like a baby!

Thanks for the follow-up!

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avatar G

Tips on getting good sleep:
Exercise during the day
Don’t take any naps during the day
Get into a routine near bedtime
Don’t use your bed for watching TV
Try reading before going to sleep
Don’t drink caffeine or stop drinking it by 6pm
Try meditation

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Thanks, G — that’s basically a reiteration of what I was writing about here and here. I guess you missed that part. :>

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avatar J.D. @ Get Rich Slowly

Here I am browsing the web, in bed, on a laptop.

This is Not Good.

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avatar Anonymous

Actually melatonin works especially in low doses. Efficacy of long term use haven’t been proven yet but studies are being conducted for that.

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avatar Jon

I made the mistake (years ago) of taking melatonin while on prozac. They interact and it was a very uncomfortable and scary experience.

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avatar Lazy Man and Money

It’s worked for me in the past. Often times when I can’t get to sleep putting on some light helps reset things and get me going again.

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