Old Topic about night shift and melatonin

  1. I've been having trouble sleeping and staying asleep. I'm sure it's because I flip flop my sleeping a lot on my days off. But lately it seems worse and I can't get a good days sleep.

    I'm thinking seriously of trying melatonin. I read that it can help with sleep, and subequently help with blood pressure. I'm borderline hypertension (usually 130s over 70s to 80s, but have been been the occasional 140/90 reading) and I drink too much coffee.

    But my question is for night shift workers and day sleepers. Does it really help? Anyone have any success or failure sleeping during the day with it?

    I tried it once and it seemed at that time it had the opposite effect. But there were other things going on then as well, and that was long time ago.

    Thanks for any input.

    Sleepy Tweety in Florida.............zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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    About Tweety, BSN

    Joined: Oct '02; Posts: 60,385; Likes: 16,568


  3. by   VickyRN
    I tried melatonin once or twice when I was working night shift and (for some reason) it caused me to have a terrible headache each time. Melatonin is a hormone, and not much is known about its longterm side effects. (see these links: http://www.mercola.com/1998/archive/body_clock.htm; http://www.mercola.com/2001/feb/7/in..._sunlight.htm; http://www.mercola.com/article/sleep.htm -- the last link may be especially helpful).
    One practical tip: try to avoid having any light shine on you while sleeping.
    I worked fine on night shift until perimenopause came along. Then I found I couldn't sleep that well on days any longer Something about the changing hormones made me very resistant to sleeping during the day (and this was after 5 years of successfully working nights and sleeping like a log during the day.)
    Is it possible, Tweety, that you may be going through some sort of male menopause hormone-shift thing? Just a thought.
  4. by   memphispanda
    I have no problem sleeping whenever the chance arises, but my husband is a different story--and he works days! What has helped him a lot is Valerian. It smells absolutely horrible, but it seems to work.
  5. by   jnette
    Valerian is wonderful.... my mom has used this for years and years... brings it back from Germany every year she goes over for the summer.. comes in two different strengths. Her are pinkish oval shaped tablets.. not sure how they are here. But it's all natural and no "hangover effect"... just mellows you enough to drift into a peaceful sleep.

    I also agree with the no light deal... have you tried one of those sleep masks ?

    And the coffee, of course is a real hinderance ! You'll toss and turn forEVER if you don't lay off the coffee a couple hours before you're ready to turn in for the day... !!!
  6. by   blueinplaid
    I'm a night shift worker and will find myself tossing and waking easily even though I'm exhausted if there is light coming into my room. Now I never tried melatonin, but I do know that once I put the shades I slept sooo much better. I am currently wearing an eye mask as I moved and didnt want to spend the money again at this moment. The eye mask is great except that I have a tendency to throw it off while sleeping, but my sleep is much much better and deeper. My suggestion is to darken the room during your work days. The caffeine also will keep me awake in the mornings, but you already know that...
  7. by   zambezi
    Melatonin gave me bad dreams...of course, I used it when I was first starting and prone to dreams about work anyway so I am sure that that didn't help. Either way, I don't do melatonin anymore. If I go natural I use Valerian but I am on a tylenol pm kick right now...works well for me...usually I can cut the pill in half and I do oaky...I try to only take it on my first day or two sleeping days to help with the transition. Benadryl seems to work the best for me (Works great for patients too, BTW).
  8. by   HannasMom
    I take Melatonin and the brand I'm using now helps out alot with my sleep pattern. I tried several brands. The sublinguals don't work for me, not sure why. One brand gave me night (daymares???) The brand I am using now, gives me a natural sleep, no headaches and no bad dreams. It's from the Schiff company and it has small easy to swallow white pills. I get it from GNC.
  9. by   Karen_tn_37211
    I had been thinking of trying night shift myself. I have changed my mind. If I have to take various medications to sleep then I think I need to stick with day shift. I wonder how taking all these various medications will affect one's health in the long run.
  10. by   Tweety
    I've got a very expensive blackout blind that was custom fitted to my window, so it's pitch dark in the room. I've used Valarian for many years off and on. Currently have been trying the tea again. But it doesn't seem to keep me down for the long haul.

    Thanks. Keep coming up with the advice. I've been working nights for over 12 years and am frustrated that my body is turning on me like this. I need the differential to make my car payment for a couple of more years. Plus, there are many good reasons why I like nights.
  11. by   Spidey's mom
    I work 3 a.m to 3 p.m. and I've never figured out how to fall asleep early enough to get a decent amount of sleep before 1:45 a.m. rolls around. On some nights I'm lucky if I fall asleep by 9 p.m. Fortunately I only work 4 days a pay period but it is still hard to work on 3 hours of sleep. Plus my doc thinks my seizures might be linked to lack of sleep since both happened on days I only got 1 hour sleep.

    So, I've been no help at all have I?

    I find if I exercise earlier in the day, stay away from caffeine after noon and take a hot bath right before bed and read a boring book . . . . . sometimes I'm relaxed enough. But then someone brings my toddler in or someone runs down the stairs into the basement really hard (next to my room) or once my son woke me at 10 p.m. after I was asleep to tell me an old friend from college was on the phone and wouldn't take no for an answer.

    Maybe you are just going through a sleepless time that will pass. Hopefully.

    Good luck with your goal . . especially with that schedule you've gotten yourself into.

  12. by   plumrn
    Benadryl 50mg- puts me out, and I sleep through the night. I've mentioned this before, but when I have had trouble sleeping or staying asleep during the night, I have a ritual that really works for me.
    I make the room cool, & stir up the air with a fan-summer & winter. (I just don't turn it facing me in the winter time.) It makes white noise. (Isn't that what they call it?). I turn on my CD of a thundering rain storm. I take a bath a little before bedtime & use Johnson & Johnsons Lavender & Chamomile baby powder (it smells so good!). I use Lavender & Chamomile lotion from Bath & Body Works. I think its called Moonlight Path, or something like that. I take the Bendadryl about 1 to 1 1/2 hours before bedtime. I read a little something, and am soon off to sleep. I'm not sure if the Benadryl can become inaffective after awhile or not. I try to take it only when I really am seriously in need of a good nights sleep. Oh, and I try not to drink any caffeine, chocolate, etc. at least 6 hours before bedtime. Hope some of these ideas might help.
  13. by   kastas
    Quote from Karen_tn_37211
    I had been thinking of trying night shift myself. I have changed my mind. If I have to take various medications to sleep then I think I need to stick with day shift. I wonder how taking all these various medications will affect one's health in the long run.
    Night shift is awesome and not everyone has the trouble sleeping. I sleep really well and over the years have learned to be able to block out the neighbor's lawn mower or the neighbor's dogs or the kids playing or the tv on. I keep my room dark and a fan on. I also always make sure it is cool, but not cold, in the house. You just sleep so much better when you can cuddle up under the blankets and not worry about sweating or your nose freezing off.
  14. by   walterrn
    Melatonin does nothing for me. Herbal remedies seem to work well for many people, but doesn't touch me.

    I have my bedroom designed for day sleep. I first have a thick, black curtain on my window that shuts out all light. I have velcro attached to the curtain (really a roll) and to the sides of the window. When it's down, it's night-time. Then, when it's not needed, it rolls up to the top of the window and secured there (black garbage bags work well too). Next, I have my ceiling fan, which I use as my "white noise" maker. I'm a firm believer in white noise. Some stores like "Bed Bath and Beyond" have white noise machines that generate multiple sounds. Waterfalls, raindrops, birds chirping, etc. No caffeine after 0600.

    Sometimes, when my brain is clocking at 1000 miles per hour, it's very difficult to get to sleep, even with my room set up. At those time, I usually put on something like the "Golf Channel". Peaceful vistas with the announcers talking in hushed tones; or easy rock on the radio.

    And sometimes, nothing seems to work. Fortunately, I have a running script for Flexeril after having an L5 partial discectomy. Ten hours later, I awake with no after-effects such as you get from anti-histamines. I use this very sparingly due to tolerance build-up with daily use.