/ Anyone used melatonin to alleviate jet lag?

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yorkshireman - on 09 Mar 2014
I've got a work trip next week travelling east-west across 9 timezones, then I've got two days of meetings. The last time I did something similar I was waking up every two hours through the night and struggling to stay awake in the afternoons.

I know in the US you can buy melatonin over the counter and I was thinking of getting some but wondered what people's experiences were. I land during the afternoon so will go for a run, eat, get sunshine and stay up until normal bedtime etc - just wondered if the drugs would help or whether there are side effects to beware of.
IainRUK - on 09 Mar 2014
In reply to yorkshireman:

yeah I have once or twice.. did seem to help, but not sure if that was placebo..

Going E > W is normally Ok for me, just a late night, its W > E that screws me.. that can take a good 5 days and they say 1 day per hour of time difference.. But when I go E > W I normally just do NE US.

I did Italy > Portland OR for a meeting and I landed, gave a talk, and slept the nextday almost entirely. But I'd been at a wedding in Italy so was already shattered.
Paul Atkinson - on 09 Mar 2014
In reply to yorkshireman:

I use it when coming back from the Americas. There's reasonable evidence for it* but even if it's placebo effect I'm happy because it's transformed the experience for me either way - I'm a bit of an insomniac anyway and used to be terrible for days after transatlantic flights. I take 5mg at my UK bedtime (e.g. at 3-4pm if I'm 7 hours behind in Colorado) the last couple of nights away and then at bedtime the first 5 nights back. No serious adverse effects really, can make you drowsy all evening after taking. I've tried it coming E-W back from the far east a couple of times and didn't find it helped. There's nothing to lose by trying and it's cheap as chips.

P

* http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD001520/melatonin-for-the-prevention-and-treatment-of-jet-lag
Dauphin - on 09 Mar 2014
In reply to yorkshireman:

Never used it personally but we use it in intensive care to help patients get a sleep cycle reestablished after days and weeks of day/night disturbance. Seems to work quite well. One of the professors gobbles the stuff on the way back from conferences in the states.

D
Marcus - on 09 Mar 2014
In reply to yorkshireman:

Found it worked really well for me.
In reply to Paul Atkinson:

That's interesting, not done a long haul for quite a few years but always used to get battered coming home from six weeks on the US West Coast. Might be very useful for going to Oz - you get a prescription presumably?

Chris
marsbar - on 09 Mar 2014
In reply to yorkshireman:

As far as I know it is used widely for children with autism related sleeping problems, I'm not aware of side effects.
Paul Atkinson - on 09 Mar 2014
In reply to Chris Craggs:

I buy it over the counter in the us where it's sold as a sleep aid

P
yorkshireman - on 09 Mar 2014
Thanks for the replies - am going to give it a go and see if it helps - I can live with the early mornings but the side effect is losing alertness and feeling very tired in meetings especially in mid afternoon when my body thinks it should be going to bed. It doesn't help that the meeting room we use is an old basketball court with dim lighting and little natural light. There are some great coffee shops though as a last resort.

In reply to Chris Craggs:

> you get a prescription presumably?

I believe you can just walk into a US drugstore and buy it over the counter. Its not licensed in the UK though.

In reply to IanRUK:

> I did Italy > Portland OR for a meeting and I landed, gave a talk, and slept the nextday almost entirely. But I'd been at a wedding in Italy so was already shattered

I'm doing France > Portland so same deal with timezones - at least there's decent running trails at the other end :)
In reply to Paul Atkinson:

I think I'll see if I can get it over the counter in Kalymnos, where I bought my last volterol - no need to mess about with a prescription!


Chris
hang_about - on 10 Mar 2014
In reply to yorkshireman:

I used it when I used to do regular long-haul UK-US. It's pretty potent but worked for me. I made the mistake of taking it as I got on a plane once and had an overwhelming urge to sleep as they were trying to serve food etc. It's not been through the extensive testing needed to sell off prescription. It does have an impact on circadian rhythms (which is why you are taking it) and there was some impact on these rhythms in the retina as well. Some people have reported feeling 'flu-ey' after taking it.
I'd take it again under the circumstances you describe.
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kipper12 - on 10 Mar 2014
In reply to yorkshireman:

Can't you just drink your own urine (the first morning one anyway?).

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