Medication Monday: Melatonin

What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a natural hormone your body makes that helps you fall asleep. In some people, this is not produced enough or, due to insomnia, they need some help to go to sleep. Sometimes it is used for a sleep condition called ‘delayed sleep-phase disorder’ whereby someone has later sleep patterns than others e.g naturally going to sleep and waking up much later than is typical. Melatonin (in the UK) is licensed for use in children and those over 55. It can be hard, therefore, for young adults to be prescribed it but it is sometimes used “off-label” for sleep.

My experience with Melatonin
I was initially give melatonin as a a child, so it being prescribed wasn’t an issue. I was under the child and adolescent mental health service in my county at the time and the psychiatrist there thought it would be useful in tackling my long-standing sleep issues. It is relevant to note here that I have ASD and autistic people often have trouble sleeping! So did it work? Eh, a bit. I can’t say it worked really well but it might have been somewhat useful in getting me to fall asleep quicker. It’s come in more helpful when prescribed as an adult. I don’t actually remember who gave me it, which suggests I was in hospital? I also don’t remember when they doubled the dose, but I find it much more helpful for sleep at this age and this dose, although it’s hard to tell as I always take a benzodiazepine at night also. I still take it nightly and haven’t be tempted to skip a dose so hopefully it’s doing some good, I’d certainly prefer it to other medications used for sleep that are less natural and have more side effects, such as antipsychotics, (more) benzodiazepines and hypnotics.

I’m quite happy to take my Melatonin at night and drs have never issued any warning against it so I feel comfortable doing so! Has anyone else been on Melatonin? Was it helpful? I’d like to know because I’m not 100% sure myself!

4 thoughts on “Medication Monday: Melatonin

  1. Yeah, Melatonin is also available over the counter in the U.S. Taking it nightly for a long time has been shown to increase rates of depression, however. I love it though, it split up my usage of it so my body doesn’t get used to needing an extra boost to sleep. But it works when I just can’t seem to settle down!

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