Melatonin: Does It Work

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This topic contains 20 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  RHMAngel 8 Sep 2017
at 20:48

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  • Pierre

    I have tried the melatonin some years ago, did not like at all the side effects (bad sleep, nightmares) and stopped very quickly.
    I agree with MartynSinclair, better a bad first night after a trip, rather than medication.


    Melatonin is the natural sleep hormone you feel, when ready to sleep.
    Taking a supplement, means you add to this level, and encourage the body to go into sleep mode.

    As a Director of Mental Health Services / Psychiatry, it has been used for over 20 years in Hospitals, quiet effectively.
    It is Not classed as a Benzodiazepine, (sleeping tablet), has no addictive or dependency issues, and is naturally secreted by the body.

    Your GP can prescribe these for you, always advisable so they have and you have, a complete history and list of medications you take, according to your health profile. With a prescription, you can be sure of having a proper safe source. usual doses are in 1-2 mg and you can take 1-3 when you need to sleep. They have no side effects noted.
    They are on the approved NHS prescriptions for drugs, and listed in the BNF UK. It is naturally excreted by the body, and has a short life, so does not build up.

    GP’s are usually happy to prescribe them for frequent travellers or for those needing assistance with sleep patterns. They are commonly used in the US and some other EU countries.

    They cost 1-2p each only!

    You can also buy them at a chemist or they can order them for you, certainly overseas. Some good high street stores may sell them here as food supplements, Boots, Holland & Barratts etc.

    Please be aware, that as many medications, carrying them country to country, even for connections, they may have different restrictions. UAE, has plenty, and some businessmen have been jailed for carrying medications without a Dr’s letter, and prescription copy with them. Codeine in some pain relievers and cough remedies is one, and Melatonin is also restricted there.

    Regular Business traveller, should be wise and always copy a GP letter and carry a prescription copy with them for any drugs you take overseas, including so called food supplements.

    The FCO website always lists these In each Country advice for medications and importing these items, as they are Health, Drug regulations, and Customs regulations. They are always a great source of current information anyhow as you will all be aware.

    Personally, I have used Melatonin over many years and found it greatly effective in helping with time zone changes, or the need to sleep early on aircraft trips. I found no side or ill effects, but carry a script and letter from my GP re these for any instance where they maybe flagged up.

    But be sure you have a pure safe source, with no additives.

    Hope that is helpful.


    Not sure how much it helps to adjust faster, but my experience has been that it helps me sleep through the night.
    If I don’t take M, I will wake up in the middle of the night and have to go to the loo.
    If I take it, I sleep through the night without waking up.
    This rule applies whether I have been drinking or not.
    So, I keep using M, when I have it at hand.
    For instance now that we go to NZ.

    kathy lewis

    Neither supplements of Vitamin B or zinc are approved health claims for inducing sleep. It’s more likely to be a placebo effect.

    kathy lewis

    If you buy over the counter melatonin in the US, then the WHO warn of vast differences in manufacturing and the effectiveness. Better to have a prescription. You can’t buy over the counter melatonin in the UK. But you can consume foods that may be high in melatonin on a regular basis. The most effective, recommended by sleep experts, is tart cherry juice. The timing of ingestion is also quite important, as is the concentration. Melatonin does have an approved health claim by the EFS for reducing the onset of sleep and aiding jet lag recovery.


    Yes, I find it works.

    You can buy big plastic containers of it in the US (high street stores not necessarily pharmacists) and in Asia Pacific airports.

    BUT I’m disciplined. ONE tablet only at the 3mg dosage. It means a jar of30 or 60 tablets lasts me beyond the expiry date.

    I never take it the first night in any destination only the second night – why because it rarely works the first night due to a number of factors, excitement, stress or what ever factors you often can’t control: so just have to suffer the disruption to your body clock.

    Taken the second night with one day of natural daylight hopefully helping, I’ve never failed within 2 days/2 nights not to have my body clock rhythm solved by one tablet, either at the destination or when back at home. That said, If you’ve arrived at your destination to a near full natural daylight day, then sure I take it on the first night, and again it worked for me.

    I don’t use it domesticallyfor tiredness or any other reasons that don’t involve long-haul travel: so I have no fear of addiction or concerns it clashing with any other over-the-counter medication. [No judgemental tone here over discipline, speaking for myself].

    Despite business class (or PE for leisure/personal) I generally am working immediately upon landing, so it would be embarassing for my employers if my head hit the deck, in a foreign country *winks*.

    I caveat I don’t drink alcohol or coffee (or any caffine drinks, like cola) anything close to travel 24 hours either side if possible, which is probably why 3mg tablet melatonin works for me.

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