My First Time…Taking Melatonin

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For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Nargis: single, 20 something (a woman never reveals her age), and looking to have the best time around town. My best friend is Tina who I have been stuck with since our primary days – she might be featuring in a lot of my adventures, so might as well introduce her now (plus, I know she’s dying for a shoutout). My friends and family are constantly bugging me to share my ideas and opinions –  naturally who else will give such great advice? So I thought what better time to start giving back to my community than right now. Today I am going to tell you about my first time trying melatonin…

Oh, sleepless nights! I am humble enough to accept that despite having no flaws, I too, am an insaan. I had been having trouble sleeping for a while and it was seriously starting to get to me.

“Ab may kya karoun,” I said out loud for dramatic effect as I knew exactly what to do – call my bestie Tina!  Tina has 2 little monsters (oops I mean kids), so I knew she’s no stranger to sleepless nights. It was during this conversation that Tina told me how everyone keeps suggesting to take something called Melatonin.

“Mela kya? Is it medicine?” I asked, to which she told me how it isn’t like a sleeping pill but supposedly a much safer alternative to it. After I hung up, I decided to do a deep dive on the internet and see if this Melatonin shelatonin was a fit for me.

Google revealed that Melatonin is actually a hormone made by the brain and its primary function is to help stimulate and regulate your sleep cycle. Melatonin is naturally released once it gets dark, and it is normal for Melatonin production to gradually decrease the older you get.

This sounded almost too good to be true! I immediately jumped into my car and found myself at the Springs pharmacy purchasing a bottle of 3mg Nature’s Bounty Melatonin – it even said  “100% drug-free” on the bottle. The damage was Rs 2,450 but what is money compared to a good night’s sleep?

The instructions on the bottle suggested that one pill should be taken 30 minutes before bedtime and before swallowing it, it has to rest under the tongue for 30 seconds. I spent the rest of my time patiently staring at the clock as if the next day was my birthday! At 10 PM I told myself “Bismillah karo” while staring at the bottle in my hands. I took it as instructed and washed it down with half a glass of water. It was an easily dissolvable pill and tasted like sweet cherries – my favourite

I made sure to turn off all the lights, switch my phone off to avoid distractions (my apologies to anyone who felt my absence) and tucked myself under the covers. Mujhay lagha, it will be some magical cure that knocks me out instantly but it took some time for it to kick in. I did eventually fall asleep and woke up surprisingly early, feeling fully rested.

I was overjoyed thinking I had found the solutions to my problems. Socha I’ll call Tina and thank her for this miracle cure. As I reached for my phone, the screen came alive with Tina’s name, uffff a true bestie can read your mind.

Tina had called to ask how my experience was with Melatonin and repeatedly told me to check side effects and drug interactions. I was a little confused – how could something so harmless have side effects? I sarcastically said “Tina this is the reason why you have worry lines and I don’t,” to which she replied, “ Just please look them up or talk to someone”. I put her mind at ease, told her that I had done my research and my experience was great so I have it under control.

Now, lying is bad and I learned this a week later when I woke up one day feeling super exhausted and moody. Any other day, this would be normal for me, but I took Melatonin last night so this shouldn’t be how I feel because it hadn’t happened before.” I always hate when Tina is right.

After one tediously long phone call with a doctor, I was told that while Melatonin is safer than most sleep aids, it still needs to be prescribed by a doctor.  Apart from that, he told me that it is not wise to take it every day because it can desensitise neuroreceptors, which is doctor lingo for, it loses its effectiveness and makes it harder for you to fall asleep. Too much of it can make you more drowsy the next morning and even lead to nausea and headaches.

This doesn’t happen often, but I felt very defeated and he picked up on that and offered me some stellar advice that I want to impart onto you lovelies.

He told me to keep in mind that Melatonin helps you sleep 6% faster and improves the quality of sleep only when taken sparsely. He said it is better to understand why I am having trouble sleeping by talking to a professional such as a therapist or to practice alternatives such a doing relaxing yoga during the day, turning on the lights the second I wake up to let my body know it is morning time, making sure I do not eat high salt and fatty foods before bedtime (there go my midnight pizza feasts) and that I should practice going to bed earlier while making sure my room is completely dark with my phone is nowhere near me. In short, a quick fix sounds perfect but it truly is better to treat your body like a temple and do things with long-term benefits in mind. Until next time!

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