T Nation

Melatonin & ZMA

I am 17 years old and can only get maybe 6 hours of sleep if i am lucky on school nights. i will try to go to bed earlier like at 10 and i won’t actually fall asleep until 12:30 or 1 at the earliest. i dont have school right now, but last night i got in bed at 12 and did not actually fall asleep until 3. i have tried many different things to get to sleep such as eliminating carbs at night, eliminating md6 and any other caffene in the afternoons, i have tried sleeping with radio on, radio off, pretty much everything. This has been going on for at least 2 years. sometimes i will take a nap in the afternoon to get more sleep but i am sick of not being able to sleep on a regular schedule. I was thinking about trying melatonin to help me sleep, but i saw on a faq that there might be a problem taking melatonin with vitamin b6. i currently take 3 caps of zma each night which has 10.5 mg of b6 in it. should i stop taking the zma or consider taking something else to help me sleep or will it be ok to take both? also, are there any negative side effets of taking melatonin as far as weightlifting is concerned? any help is appreciated. - Nic

The only real problem is you won’t know which one is working for you. Either is a viable option, and another one that might work well (it does for me) is Kava Kava. This is an herb that acts as a natural relaxant, good for stress, anxiety, sleep, etc. Valerian root is another popular one. Make sure you get a standardized formula if you try them and don’t take them all at the same time.

teddykgb - i have been taking zma for a while now and still can’t sleep so i probably won’t have to worry about knowing which one works if i take them both together. my concern about taking them together was the fact that the zma had vitamin b6 in it and i was just wondering if anyone else had seen any studies or heard negative about taking the 2 together. also, i saw a bottle at gnc called “sleep formula” that contained kava kava, melatonin, and something else called 5-HTP. should i try that or would it be better to take melatonin alone?

My .02:

  1. Try reading. It should relax you and help you fall asleep faster, and if not, at least your exercising your mind rather than just lying in bed staring at the ceiling.

  2. Are you overtraining?

  3. Have you tried Benadryl? I have insomnia that is exacerbated by allergies, so taking a dose of this stuff before bed puts out quickly. In my experience, the stuff is non-habit forming and also dosen’t make you “groggy” in the morning.

  4. Masturbate.

I have to say that in my experience nothing has worked nearly as well as kava kava. I love the stuff! I like to take a dropper full before bed on the nights that I know I won’t have a easy time falling asleep. It makes for a very restful sleep!!

Nic, I’m familiar with that one, it’s made by Pharmassure (I happen to manage the GNC where I live). I don’t know that 5 HTP will do much for you, to be honest. Most of the research is more based on it’s effects on depression/appetite. Personally I would not take all of them, give standardized kava a try or valerian (also standardized). I’m trying not to push any specific brand as I don’t want a flame war started since people would say I’m biased, so whether you get it from GNC or wherever, get a good standardized kava with a KAVALACTONE content of anywhere from 55-80 mg. or so. Valerian is good and there is also one that’s combined with an herb called passionflower. Additionally you can try eating something w. a high tryptophan content before bed such as sunflower seeds, shredded wheat and/or a banana. Hope this helps!

Oops, my bad, Nick! I think Sleep Formula is made by Preventive Nutrition and not Pharmassure. Not that it means anything but I gotta make sure I know the damn products I have in my store anyway!

I would avoid melatonin if possible. It is hormonal, so might be contraindicated at your age. It sounds like you’re taking md6. I know that if I take any stimulants (even a cup of coffee in the morning), I have trouble sleeping. It’s not that I’m wired or anything, just that I can’t fall asleep.

I know that the melatonin supplement I have contains 10 mg of B6 and also has calcium in it. The calcium wouldn’t work well with the ZMA, but the company seems to think that B6 is ok to combine with melatonin, for whatever that’s worth.

i remember reading somewhere that meletonin may be estrogenic and lower T levels. though pretty much everythng does that, that E receptor is such a whore, it gives it up to anything that happens to float by. the bottom line however, is that meletonin and 5-HTP may or may not do anything, and noone really knows for sure. i would say dont nap during the day (if you get a bad night sleep and are tired during the day and take a nap you will be too awake to go to bed at night again), take a shower before going to bed, read a book, masterbate, and if you need to take anything stick to kava.

I had the same problem when I was your age. I stayed up to see Letterman and I dozed off during class. I think you should cut out the naps. They interfere with your sleep at night. Also, I think carbs at night, especially the high GI type, are a good thing for sleep. The sugar high will induce a serotonin release. I often have trouble sleeping, even now, if I eat a lot of protein without carbs before bed. I hope that helps.

Your problem ranges in one of two areas. Psychological or physical or possible both. I think its important to locate the source of your problem before you take this or that. Do you stay away at night because you think about failing a test or you like a bitch that doesn’t like you or something like that. Stop thinking at night. I know easier said than done, the harder you try not to the more you do it. Try to meditate, fantasize about something, what ever it may be, but don’t lose train of that though line. Soon it will take on a trippy essence and you will be asleep. I would cut out the MD6 for sure. Meletonin works for me, but it should not be an everyday thing, it will stop working and I am not sure too much of the side effects. As far as chemicals go various herb combo’s work, something with a lot of valarian and kava. (Kava gives me fucked up dreams, like I am in prison with my Mom and I am HER bitch; shit like that). I however need very high doses for a pronounced effect. I heard rophynols work good, but can kill you or get you raped.
My advice would be first to detox off of any chemicals and see where you stand. Then in a natural state you can determine what to do. I would not rule out a doctor if all else fails. You are not cut out for stimulants so stop taking them, they don’t aggree with you.
If worse comes to worse go on a partying binge for six days, and don’t sleep (unless you pass out). If you can’t sleep after that, just start doing something constructive at night like reading or writing or lifting and forget about sleep, it ain’t gonna happen.
Pat