I don’t sleep well. I’m not sure when this started, but I definitely noticed it more after Tyler was born. I’m fortunate to not be a full-on insomniac, who lays awake for hours, but I wake up briefly many times a night.
I’m not a fan of drugs/medications, so I tried natural remedies, like lavender pillow spray, and eventually started taking melatonin – 3 mg at first, and recently I switched to the 5 mg dosage.
It worked pretty well – I found I could go to sleep easily and stay asleep most of the night. I limited my usage to the weekends.
I began to notice a pattern. Sundays became increasingly difficult, emotionally. I blamed my sadness on the fact that I send Tyler back to his father’s house on Sundays. And then I noticed that when I’d get to work on Monday mornings, I was intensely irritable, even if I’d gotten a good night’s sleep on Sunday.
Peter Gibbons: Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday and you’re not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you, “Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays?”
Lawrence: No. No, man….. I believe you’d get your @ss kicked sayin’ something like that, man.
I love Office Space.
Anyway, I knew that it wasn’t “a case of the Mondays,” because that’s Not A Real Thing.
Yesterday, as I sat at my desk, doing my best impersonation of a grumpy black cloud, I began to wonder if the melatonin was partially to blame.
I went to WebMD first. “Melatonin is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth short-term or applied to the skin. It can cause some side effects including headache, short-term feelings of depression, daytime sleepiness, dizziness, stomach cramps, and irritability.”
Hmmm. I looked further.
The Mayo Clinic said basically the same thing:
The most common melatonin side effects include: Daytime sleepiness, Dizziness, Headaches. Other, less common melatonin side effects might include abdominal discomfort, mild anxiety, irritability, confusion and short-lasting feelings of depression.
In fact, every web site I checked listed the same potential side effects of depression-like feelings and irritability.
As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety for most of her adult life, I feel….kind of dumb. I should have recognized the pattern earlier. I should have researched this “natural” supplement before taking it. I should have made the connection.
I’m not saying that melatonin is evil, or that it doesn’t provide benefit to most people. But it’s clearly not the right choice for me, and I should have done my due diligence before taking it.
I didn’t take it last night, and this morning I feel neither sad nor homicidal. This may not be a definitive “cure,” but it’s certainly progress. I feel like I’m back at square one, not sleeping, but I’ve learned a lesson.
Well, actually, two lessons. The second lesson is that a bottle of pills will amuse the cat for at least 15 minutes.
No, I didn’t let him keep it.