Monday, March 12, 2012

A journey of melatonin

Sleep, you are a heartless wench.

Sleep has eluded me for the past week. Throughout my life, I’ve always had trouble sleeping. I wake up in a full-fledged panic, thinking about things that I cannot solve at 1 a.m., imagining fantastic worries, and just raising my anxiety up a few notches and not getting the needed sleep I craved. My life has frequently been like this.

Until running.

Running was my outlet, my cure. Especially when I started my Ph.D. program, running was my sanity. I quickly found that running helped calm me and allowed me to sleep deeper than ever before. Ah, running, my love. Then, as I became a better athlete, I had to run harder and faster and longer to sleep well. Four miles, that should do it. I should sleep well that night after a four-mile run.

Last week, I ran a half marathon and drove over four hours back to my house. That night, at approximately 2:30 a.m., I woke myself up in a panic because I forgot to email my dissertation adviser back. So what did I do? Rolled over, grabbed my smart phone, and texted out a reply.

I think that classifies as crazy, right?

I haven’t slept the past week. I know why – one of the big reasons being my proposal defense next week. I don’t particularly like the idea of taking sleep aides, but, at this point, I need to sleep! So this weekend, I downed some Nyquil and slept wonderfully Saturday night…

…and most of Sunday.

Nyquil will not allow me to wake up the next day. I found myself dozing at practically every moment I was awake – even while I ran my short distance! So, no more Nyquil for me.

While I don’t like sleep aides, I have a couple of friends recommend melatonin, a natural supplement designed to help people sleep. If you’ve used it (or if you have some other good sleep tricks up your sleeve), let me know. I’m going to try it tonight and, if you’re like me and have trouble sleeping, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Sweet dreams, friends.

5 comments:

Mari said...

We use it for our patients on a regular basis. It really helps most people.
When I worked in the hospital we used Benedryl for a sleep aid. I think that would put you to sleep too.
Hope you sleep well tonight!

Sommer said...

i gave ella melatonin for her alopecia. i don't have trouble sleeping very often because MS makes you feel zombied most of the time (and i run my measly little mile), but a nice glass of wine will put me out in no time.

misti said...

I've heard good things about melatonin.

And a fat glass of wine puts me right to sleep too:)

Brooke said...

sometimes i wake in the middle of the night and only a hot shower will allow me to go back to sleep. someone told me that was because of the melatonin that the steam naturally caused your body to produce.

Rena said...

I recently started taking melatonin after years of switching back to Benadryl. I'm not sure why I switched from melatonin on my last journey with it. Perhaps I opted for a cheaper bottle of Benadryl once I ran out. I buy the generic brand of Benadryl. In the long it's not really cheaper, though.

As most medicines do, the Benadryl's effect wore off. I'll be honest--I've taken many of my husband's Xanax throughout the years but not consistently. It's not an ideal fix-all to my own sleep issues.

So recently when my mom bought some melatonin she passed some along to me. I'm still working on dosage. These are 3 mg each whereas I think I took 5 mg before. I've found myself waking in the middle of the night with a little difficulty falling back to sleep.

But you should know that I do wake up several times nightly most nights. I drink a lot throughout the day {perhaps symptomatic of my low blood sugar} and therefore, have lots of trips to the bathroom at night. But since taking the melatonin I've found that it is a little difficult going back to sleep. So now I've tried taking an extra 3 mg at this point.

All and all I'd say the benefits far outweigh those of the competing sleep meds. I wake up feeling rested for the most part and not groggy at all.

That's my take on it. Here's to happy sleeping!

P.S.
I sleep with an eye mask, ear plugs and nature sound playing rain in the background. I also sleep with lots of pillows. High maintenance much? ;)