Mela Tonin

Wonderful stuff, a natural hormone made by the gut and the pituitary, available over the counter in the US. Uses:

  1. You just flew to some place >2 hours out of your timezone to do some business. You can't afford to be lagged. 6 hours before your new waking up time, pop an appropriate amount of MelaTonin. Voila, your sleep pattern is reset and you're well rested when you wake, bright-eyed and ready to work.

  2. It's 2am. Never mind how it got to be 2am, it just is. You have to be at work and really honestly awake at 9. How the hell? As above - swig down the appropriate amount of MelaTonin, set the alarm, and you'll be good by 8.30.

What's an appropriate amount? Seems to vary from person to person a lot. Also with age. Try 1-3mg and see what happens. Takes about 1/2 hour to come on. Stay away from the time-release stuff if you want to use it as above.

Warning: IamNotaDoctor.


This instruction conflicts with recommendations used in Norway, at least, where the patient is told to ingest MelaTonin approximately 12 hours before they intend to wake up again. It takes about 4 hours before you start falling asleep, then you sleep for about 8 hours. Depends on dosage and what they mix it with. Given the tendency for US residents to go for very strong drugs, I'm thinking that may account for the difference. (Around here, sleeping drugs that take less than 30-60 mins to work are pretty much not used at all, Codeine requires a prescription, etc.)

Apparently, my home and my workplace are about 4 timezones apart. After the weekend, it's even farther. I'll never understand how that could happen.


Y'all could consider adjusting your sleep patterns before you make that jet trip... -- PhlIp


I'm not a big fan of melatonin. I've been told that the reason why I have Seasonal Affective Disorder Syndrome (winter makes me sleepy) is because I have too much melatonin in my brain. This is also why I naturally phase shift to night-time hours. I can control my lighting then. Also, http://usemod.com/cgi-bin/mb.pl?HackingAtNight may have played a role in my formative years. -- SunirShah

I thought SADS was about depression, not sleepiness. I get sleepy in the winter too, although it's probably just because I eat more (hard to overcome the winter survival techniques of my ancestors, I guess). -- MattBehrens

As I understand it, that kind of depression means not enough stimulus. Which leads to sleepiness and grumpiness. -- ss

I usually feel sleepy in spring. -- Xiaoqing

I'm sleepy all the darn time!! -- WhiteEagle?

I'm asleep right now. -- DaveVoorhis

Can someone explain how shift work doesn't produce the same effect as jet lag or SAD?

It *does* produce the same effect... when you've just started your new shift schedule. And folks do the same things to try to remedy it: melatonin, light boxes, and not switching schedules frequently. I vaguely remember that it is better to switch shifts forwards vs. backwards, but I may be misremembering.

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