What Helps Me With Premature Awakenings

What I call back-end insomnia, when you wake up way too early, is not as maddening as front-end insomnia, but it can be quite debilitating.

I keep beside my bed a bottle of sublingual melatonin spray and spray some under my tongue when I wake up too early. Directions say "allow to remain for 30 seconds and swish before swallowing." Some of the liquid melatonin can be absorbed into your bloodstream under your tongue, bypassing the long route that goes through your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine, and thereby reaching your brain in a hurry. Unquestionably it has helped me achieve far greater success in falling back asleep after premature awakenings. I have no doubt that part of the effect is psychological rather than physiological; the knowledge that I've done something to help me sleep more undoubtedly gives me peace and helps me to relax and fall back asleep.

Melatonin is a hormone the human body produces. It is a powerful antioxidant and immune-booster, but promoting sleep is no doubt its most important role. When a human consumes protein, a small fraction of that protein is the amino acid l-tryptophan. Several things can happen to tryptophan. If your body is in need of  Vitamin B-3 (niacin), it may convert tryptophan to niacin. Hopefully tryptophan gets converted in sufficient quantity to 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) which in turn is converted into the well-known anti-depressant neurotransmitter serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine). Serotonin is converted to an obscure metabolite known as n-acetyl-serotonin. N-acetyl-serotonin is converted to the hormone melatonin.

In the 1990s when melatonin became available over the counter it received tremendous criticism from the usual suspects, doctors and scientists who are wedded to allopathic medicine in which reliance upon artificial pharmaceutical drugs is preferred. The chief objection I recall is that taking supplemental melatonin would cause the body to shut down its own production of melatonin. The analogy in mind no doubt was to anabolic steroids. But huge numbers of people all over the world have taken melatonin and a vast amount of research on supplemental melatonin has been done. The hypothesized depleting effect has not shown up, and supplemental melatonin is now the object of very little controversy, and the dosage range used has gotten larger.

I use NutraSpray Melatonin by Source Naturals, a very reputable supplement company. You can view its page on the website where I buy it : http://www.vitacost.com/Source-Naturals-NutraSpray-Melatonin. It costs $6.38 for a bottle with approximately 80 sprays. Each spray has 1.5 mg time released Melatonin and 1.5 mg Vitamin B-6. It has as a sweetener vegetable glycerine, which does not cause tooth decay.

Another product I have used with success is Melatonin Lipoceutical Spray by Nature's Plus, another very reputable company. It is theoretically superior to NutraSpray. Each spray contains 1.5 mg Melatonin, 2.5 mg Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (a more absorption-ready form of Vitamin B-6),  2.5 mg of the inhibitory (sedative) neurotransmitter GABA, 1 IU Vitamin E, and trace amounts of lecithin.  It is also sweetened with vegetable glycerine.  "This power-packed profile is then microencapsulated, using the Lipoceutical(R)* delivery system for maximum absorption and utilization." Concerning the lipoceutical delivery system elsewhere it is said :  " Liposomes are highly complex microscopic liquid spheres, 1/50th the diameter of a human hair. They encapsulate water and the chosen active ingredient inside a highly purified lecithin membrane. The liposome traps the nutrient in multiple layers and unravels like an onion, releasing the nutrient over an extended period of time. Carrying a nutrient within a liposome also makes it more lipophilic- enhancing the nutrient's bioavailability dramatically. The liposomes are delivered under the tongue, via a sublingual oral spray, known as a Lipoceutical. This method delivers the majority of the nutrient directly through the mucosal membrane, so a greater amount of the nutrient reaches the bloodstream."

Nature's Plus Melatonin Lipoceutical Spray costs $8.84 at luckyvitamin.com with various bulk price discounts extending to $8.49 per dozen bottles. I have found the less expensive Nutraspray just as effective, so I go with it, but if NutraSpray doesn't work for you I would suggest giving the Nature's Plus product a try. In fact I would suggest trying the more sophisticated Nature's Plus spray  first, and if it works then you can see if the NutraSpray works just as well.

I also keep at my bedside a 14 1/2 mm / 5 1/2 inch flashlight. This is very important, because turning on the overhead light is a sure way to kill your chances of falling back asleep. So when I wake up prematurely, I grab for my little flashlight, turn it on, get the melatonin spray, spray it under my tongue, put the cap back on, and then go back to sleep.

You can call your doctor's office, ask to speak to the nurse, tell her you're planning on using melatonin, and ask if they see any problems with that.

Here is the caution on the Source Naturals bottle : Warning: USE ONLY AT BEDTIME. For adult use only. Not for use by children, teenagers, or pregnant or breastfeeding women. If you are under medical supervision, or have an autoimmune disease, diabetes, a depressive disorder, a thyroid condition, epilepsy, leukemia, or a lymphoproliferative disorder, or are taking MAO inhibitor drugs or corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone or prednisone, consult with your physician before taking this product.

The caution on the Nature's Plus bottle : NOTICE: For adult use only. Melatonin should not be used except with a physician’s advice in the following conditions - pregnancy, lactation, serious illness, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, depression, endocrine disorders or during use of antidepressants or other prescription medications. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while using.

If melatonin spray doesn't work for you, 5-HTP spray is available. When I have time, I'll write a story on what I take before going to bed. A product I have not tried that I think could be very good for both falling asleep and staying asleep is Dreaminol by Nature's Plus. Its page is http://www.naturesplus.com/products/sf.asp?criteria=sf&sf=2

Additional note : on the Vitacost. com home page you have easy access to Health Notes, which is an extremely valuable database on natural products, the best one I know of online. I recommend that everybody bookmark it. It's available  on multiple websites, including Swanson and Vitamin Shoppe.

If any of this information helps you, please come back and post a comment!



conceptualclarity conceptualclarity
51-55, M
10 Responses Feb 27, 2010

I now have chosen to use the Nature's Plus spray over the Source Naturals because it absorbs a lot better under the tongue. It's worth paying extra for.

You can't use the melatonin spray w/o a little light because you have to see which side is the side to spray from. But my experience is that this brief exposure to a tiny amount of light does not keep me from falling back into a sound sleep.<br />
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I usually don't eat anything the first hour of the day. But I do drink my spring water from WalMart to wash down SODZymes and N acetyl-cysteine (to boost endogenous antioxidants), Rejuvenzyme multi-enzyme formula (to fight inflammation), quercetin/bromelain (to control pollen allergies), DHEA, and chrysin (to block possible excess estrogen metabolism from the DHEA).

Learn to use the melatonin spray without turning on a light. Sleep studies show that any light at all nreduces the quality of your sleep.<br />
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Plain water while performing your regular first-hour routine allows your system to "wake up" and ready itself for the day after a night of rest/unuse. Besides rehydrating your body, it also rinses & prepares your stomach for breakfast and gets everything moving again.<br />
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Ozone eliminates congestion and improves your breathing while you sleep. Use it if you experience one or both nostrils getting stopped up.

I have a clock radio / alarm that I can push forward onto its front so that the light is well hidden from view. The only alternative to using the flashlight is turning on a lamp, which would be much more problematic. The tiny one I use doesn't put out much light, and I fall asleep after using it well enough that I would not attribute any of my failures to fall back asleep to it.<br />
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"Then do not drink or eat anything for the first hour of your day." Do you want to elaborate on the usefulness of that?<br />
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Thank you for the information on the air cleaners. Same thing as air purifiers, right? What is the usefulness of making ozone in your bedroom?

Many people will find that a 1/2 mg tablet of Melatonin taken 1/2 hour before going to bed will be sufficient. 1.5 mg is on the high side (in my experience) for dealing with sleeplessness. That much may leave you feeling sleepy the next morning.<br />
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Also, make the room you sleep in <u>completely</u> dark. Cover the illuminated numbers on the clock with a cardboard flap that flips up, put electrical tape over the little lights on the power transformers, close the bathroom door so you won't see the light from the electric toothbrush or recharging shaver -- exclude ALL sources of light. You will sleep more deeply. And quit using the flashlight when you're planning to go back to sleep! You are sabotaging your rest whenever you turn it on.<br />
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After rising in the morning have a glass of plain water. Then do not drink or eat anything for the first hour of your day.<br />
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If you are becoming congested overnight, turn on an air cleaner that makes ozone in your bedroom. The ones in the $100 retail range (around $35 on eBay) that rinse clean with water are good The cheaper ozone generators that cannot be cleaned easily only work for a month or so before failing.

I think melatonin is extremely safe, for the reason that your body constantly forms it from protein anyway. I'm sure your baby is already getting some melatonin from you. I believe melatonin is the reason I absolutely hate dark rooms in the daytime, because the darkness is swiftly triggering melatonin production. I believe sleepiness after a high carb meal is because insulin keeps the branched chain amino acids from competing with tryptophan as effectively as they normally do. Whey protein is high in BCAAs, so even though it's a terrific food, it may not be a good idea before bedtime for troubled sleepers. Walnuts are. They are found to triple blood levels of melatonin. <br />
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So maybe you ought to run it past the doctor.<br />
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Do you take fish oil? It is extremely indicated for pregnancy and nursing. It might help your sleep also, since it boosts serotonin.

This was extremely detailed and informative. I very much enjoyed reading it. I have certainly tried melatonin but I'm a nursing mother and the warnings are there for just about anything I take. I had no idea that melatonin came in spray form though. I'll have to try that sometime.<br />
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Thanks for sharing this link with me.


Like a filling turkey supper! I didn't know that melatonin was available probably in the vitamines section or natural health products I suppose? I've heard of those companies those are good point's and you really are very helpful, and your suggestions are inspiring, wow! what great advice! Thanks!

You have some great ideas here. I stay away until 3 and wake up at 8 . I have difficulty getting back to sleep. I will keep an eye out for this.