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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Perhaps it's time to try melatonin again

See that picture to the right? That's me. It's 4 a.m. in the morning and I'm awake. I assured myself by going to bed early last night that I'd be able to get that one nights worth of great sleep, but that's not going to happen tonight.

My wife and kids assured me yesterday that I was a grump. I am aware that kids normally have a tendency to side with their mother against their dad, but I can assure you that this wasn't one of those times: I confess I truly was grumpy to them too.

If you knew me you'd know I'm usually a very laid back person, and even the most critical things don't phase me. So when I start getting grumpy you know there's something wrong. Of course I refused to admit it at the time, but I was grumpy because I haven't been sleeping.

"What's that number?" my high school buddy would say, "It's 1-800-Waahwah."

He was also famous for, "Cry me a river."

I told my brother about my new self-diagnosed disorder, and he said, "It's probably just another one of those fake diseases people make up so they can use it as an excuse, like in court."

He's probably right. Kind of like how people started accepting Post Election Stress Disorder (POSD) as a real illness after the National election.

"Yep, your honor, we can justify that bad behavior because he had POSD."

In my case, it would be, "Yep, your honor, we can justify Rick's forgetting to turn the oxygen on because he has Day/Night disorder. It's a societal problem so he shouldn't have been fired for killing that patient."

Okay, so I didn't screw anything up yet. But I suppose I could if I don't watch myself. And I certainly don't want to be grumpy again today -- no way. Today I'm going to be sweet as pie to my kids and wife. I don't care how tired I am. No excuses.

For once my brother was wrong. While people do have a tendency to make up some diseases, mine is real. I didn't say anything to him though, because I'm just that way. And also because he works nights too and he doesn't have a problem.

But he is also ignorant of the medical field, which is why it's difficult to discuss anything regarding work with him. That's one of the reasons it's nice having a nurse as a wife, and you guys to blog to (if you're still there).

I still think this is a legitimate disorder. The circadian receptors in your brain are for real, not fake. When a normal person's brain senses light it stops releasing melatonin so you can wake up. When a normal person's brain senses dark it starts releasing melatonin so you can sleep.

Since I stay up 3 nights a week when my circadian receptors are supposed to be releasing melatonin, my brain is out of whack. So tonight, when I got up to go to the bathroom and my brain saw that bright light, it instantly stopped producing melatonin, and I was awake for good, while most people's brains would have allowed them to fall right back to sleep.

One of my sources recommended I place a night light in the bathroom. That's as good as done today.

One of you guys recommended I try melatonin. I tried it once before, but I quit because my wife told me she heard that if you take it to sleep in the day, your body won't release it in at night when you really want to sleep. So I quit taking it.

However, I have found no research to support or deny that claim. All I've found is 80% of the articles claim it's save, and 20% claim it's not safe. Until I hear otherwise, I think it's about time to support the use of melatonin.

I'm going to keep researching it though. If anybody reading this knows of any further research on the stuff let me know. If you think this is all in my head, let me know that too.


mielikki said...

I know it's not in your head, I have similar problems, as does my best friend, who also works nights.
Thankfully, both my sisters are nurses as well, so I can blog, and talk!
I hope it gets better, soon.

sometimesibreathe said...

I've done my fair research of melatonin also. I take it when I need to sleep and I know I won't be able to (so...maybe 1x a week). From what I've read, melatonin is relatively safe.

The prob with melatonin is that it is a oral drug and most of it gets digested by stomach acids and it takes a long time to work. I notice when I take it that it doesn't necessarily put me to sleep quicker...but it makes me sleep longer. Just don't take too much.

Freadom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freadom said...

So that's how that works. Anyway, I'm happy, and I'm surviving just like all us night shifters do. It would just be great to get 8 hours of rest now and again.

Thanks for your support.

the anonymous therapist said...

I used to use melatonin a lot. That and some "white noise" did me wonders over my years of night shift.