Happy Summer Solstice and All that Jazz

Today is the longest day of the year 2010 and if I were with my friend in Salisbury near Stonehenge  or standing once again in proximity to the Callenish stones I would feel more acutely the rite of passage from the cool days of spring to the warm and now not so long days of summer but alas I stand in Stillwater, Minnesota and will rise and slumber on the same schedule I always do. I think I will celebrate the day just being grateful for all the good things in my life and will be forced to leave the pagan celebrations to someone else.

Somehow summer solstice, long days and short night reminds me of a blog I did recently, Mellow Tones, that discussed the use of Melatonin and the Melatonin patches sold by Life Wave and touted by Suzanne Somers. I subsequently dispersed the patch and melatonin (1omg) to various folks and asked for their response, so I thought I would share the experience and let you decide for yourself.

I thought the most interesting response was from my son-in-law who has terrible insomnia and always has had. I asked him if he would wear the patch one night to see what effect it had. He was blunt and to the point when he said “No.”  He went on to explain that he can’t stand anything on his skin and the patch would be on his skin and would drive him to distraction. This coming from a man who has his entire upper body tattooed with some Norsk mythological symbolism, which made an even bigger impression on me because I can think of nothing more uncomfortable or invasive than having my body tattooed. From his response I concluded that if you have a problem with something on your body or touching your body and in particular in the region of your third eye, the web of your right big toe or the right temple the melatonin patch may not be for you. You can feel it on your skin when you first put it on but that does gradually subsides.

I, personally, find a strange enervation response when I put the patch on the “liver” spot in the web of the right big toe. I can feel a tingling that lasts for several minutes and I have found my sleep to be interrupted when it is in that position. I have no explanation other than the possibility of a clogged liver that responds to the acupressure stimulation. If I use it on my right temple I do seem to become increasingly groggy within 10 minutes of placing it there and it does seem to make the melatonin work longer and more profoundly but it is all too subjective to be conclusive. The third eye position was too uncomfortable for me, somehow to invasive and perhaps helped me understand even more so what my son-in-law would experience should he try a patch.

I gave a Lifewave patch to a friend of mine who was experiencing a bout of sleeplessness having gone through a rough patch for several months of breast cancer surgery and subsequent radiation resulting in adrenal fatigue, according to the self appointed Dr. Kris, aka me. She tried the patch and 10 mg of melatonin by Life Extension with mixed results. The patch most likely did relax her and if not for the cost she would have pursued that avenue.

Unfortunately, melatonin does not have an immediate effect and needs to be taken over a long period to get the hormones back to a normal level. My providing her with three capsules was not sufficient to really test its potency and besides if she already is in adrenal fatigue as I suspect, 10 mg of melatonin will knock her for a loop if taken long term. It is generally recommended that you take no more than 3 mg of melatonin if you have adrenal fatigue. In one of Suzanne Somer’s books she states that she takes 20 mg of Melatonin (a therapeutic dose for those who have had cancer) every night and sleeps soundly for 8-9 hours. The doctor responded “that dose of melatonin will increase your adrenal fatigue”. I could be wrong but I believe that since Suzanne also takes bio-identical hydrocortisone she is unbothered by the knock her adrenals get from the 20 mg of melatonin. Her daily dose of Cortef compensates for the toll the melatonin takes on her adrenals. In the meantime being a cancer survivor she gets the cancer protection she  needs by taking 20 mg of melatonin (the therapeutic dose for cancer survivors) every night.

I tried taking 10 mg of melatonin for several nights and one night I took 20 mg of melatonin just to experiment with its effects on me. I have stage 2 adrenal fatigue from a long standing  sub-optimal thyroid treatment and 10 mg of melatonin knocked me on my gluteus maximus. 20 mg of melatonin had the same effect as a 10 mg dose, I am left feeling groggy and totally uninspired the next day. Having tried the smaller dose of 1.5 mg of melatonin (Mercola’s oral melatonin spray) and it having no effect and the 10-20 mg dose being too much, I find 3 mg of melatonin is just about right. Gosh I suddenly feel like Goldilocks and the Three Bears and trying all the beds. “Nope that one is too hard.”  “That one is too soft.” “Hmmm, this one is just right!” I now take 3 mg of melatonin every night about 30 minutes before I want to sleep and just like Goldilocks, I could sleep and awake to three bears discussing their messy beds.

You will find proponents for melatonin and folks who are opposed to taking any supplements (but often they see nothing wrong with taking acetaminophen, ibuprofen and Ambien) but in my opinion  the proof is in the pudding. High doses of melatonin have been tested by poison control labs and even doses of 45 mg have had no deleterious effects. The 10 mg capsules sold by Life Extension at iHerb will provide you with some flexibility if you want to try 10 mg or even higher doses (read the reviews at iHerb, one guy took 5 capsules one night when he couldn’t sleep and then slept the rest of the night). I am currently taking NOW brand 3 mg capsules and I think that is perfect.

As for the LifeWave patch there are many opponents, in fact, there are many who think they are a hoax. My feeling is if you have the money to spend, and they are spendy at $49 per package of 15, try them. These nanotechnology patches fall under the category of  health care that I attest to “First do no harm”. If you are suffering from sleep deprivation that is dangerous and harmful. Lack of sleep has been proven to increase your chances of disease including cancer and heart disease, so if a patch helped you reclaim your life giving sleep I say why not try it. They will not make you sick. They will not damage or harm your children or furry friends should they find them and eat them or stick them on. They will not pollute our ground water should you, in disgust, throw them away. They might help you sleep more tranquilly, they might not, but in the end they are better than almost any pharmaceutical product touted to help you sleep all of which  come with a list a mile long of possible side effects including sleeplessness. What?

In the end, if sleep alludes you on this summer solstice night stay up and party with all the folks who live in the dark 6 months of the year. Tomorrow night if sleep still comes with difficulty my best advice is to brew up a pot of lemon balm-hyssop tea, take one 3 mg capsule of melatonin and read Matrix Energetics by Rich Bartlett, D.C., N.D. If that doesn’t put you to sleep try 40 mg of melatonin and call me in the morning.

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