Melatonin for sleep – is chronic sleep deprivation making you sick?

Chronic sleep deprivation is causing havoc.

Remember what happens to your body when you sleep?

  • Your cells repair
  • If you are young – you grow
  • You regenerate
  • You heal
  • Neurotransmitters and hormones are produced packaged and ready for delivery
  • Action potentials in cell membranes are reset
  • Everything settles down and prepares for another round of battle another day in our modern life

What if you don’t get into that beautiful restful sleep state?

What if your cortisol does not come down to a normal level by 6pm to allow your melatonin to increase – setting up a natural diurnal rhythm ready for rest?

What happens is you toss and turn all night, grind your teeth, wake and think and fuss and start the next day already behind the eight ball and wonder why you are tired, grumpy, foggy and fatigued?  If this goes on too long there is limited ability to repair and chronic inflammation and disease sets in. Cancer cells are missed by the checking systems. Hormone systems are imbalanced.  Your weight increases.

80% of australians with sleep apnoea are undiagnosed.

Thats a little scary.

Adrenal fatigue is a trendy condition, I believe chronic poor sleep is the very start of this process.

The cortisol contributes to poor sleep, but we develop a vicious cycle. No sleep high cortisol, high cortisol low melatonin, low melatonin poor sleep, around and around we go.

Cortisol makes you fat.  Just watch anyone who has been very unwell and required a high course of steroids – fat fat fat. Around the middle. The face and the organs. Dangerous distribution of fat. And they feel so so terrible.

So what can you do?

Start a sleep diary.

Test your levels of cortisol – salivary tests are the best way to do this.

This is where your normal levels should be:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.31.47 pm







These are some of the variations seen in stages of adrenal fatigue.

If your cortisol is high after 6pm – no melatonin for you = difficult sleep.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.32.10 pm







Try taking a supplement of  melatonin for sleep.

I cant mention brands but there is one product available on script from your doctor that is slow release and works beautifully. Australia did not have access to melatonin supplements until recently, there are many on the shelves that contain only homeopathic melatonin. There is a place for homeopathy, but here we need the physical hormone substance to work on the receptors. Those drops and supplements that are not enteric coated to release slowly over 6-8 hours are not going to have the best effect.

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 8.36.13 pm

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 8.35.26 pm

Sleep Challenge… are you ready?

Go to bed at nine pm, read a real paper book for half hour.

Ensure your room is dark and there are no electrical devices within 3 metres from your head.

No caffeine after 2pm, no sugar after 6pm (or ever!)

No screens after 8.30pm.  30 minutes of screen free time before getting into bed.

Try this for 2 weeks, Monday to Friday.


You might be eating clean, exercising, meditating and just missed the main ingredient to wellness.

Beautiful restful connected soft gentle healing SLEEP.   zzzzz




2 Comments on “Melatonin for sleep – is chronic sleep deprivation making you sick?

  1. Trudi

    Hi Dr Rach! Hope you enjoy your time in Beautiful Wanaka! I enjoyed your blog about sleep. Whats your suggestion during a week of working nightshift. Coming off I thought i might try scripted Melatonin. But what do that first 24 hours awake or during that long gruelling week. Cheers Trudi

    • drrach

      Hi Trudi
      Thank you I cant wait for a Wanaka visit.
      Great question. You are challenged every time you go through a shift work cycle. Your diurnal rhythms are disrupted and you need to give the melatonin levels a helping hand. I wouldn’t suggest using melatonin during the night shift when you sleep in the day. But start the first evening of night sleeping with one half hour before bed. I assume you only do night shifts every few weeks and not more regularly?
      For night workers, it is possible to set an artificial day night cycle permanently (with some challenges) in a dark room with a little early and late sunlight.
      Hope that helps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *