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Boosting Ambien with Melatonin?

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Q. I am in good health but have trouble both getting to sleep and staying asleep. This may run in the family, since my dad also had trouble with insomnia.

I have tried everything under the sun and moon but nothing seems to work completely. I am now taking Ambien and I wonder if it would be safe to add melatonin to it. Can you send me any information to help with this problem?

A. We found only one study that addressed your question. Researchers in France found that elderly volunteers were more sedated soon after taking slow-release melatonin plus Ambien than after taking either pill alone (Human Psychopharmacology, Dec. 2008). The next day, though, memory and motor skills were no worse than when people took Ambien alone. There were no safety problems, but be sure to go straight to bed after taking your sleeping pills.

You may also want to consider some non-drug approaches. We are sending you our Guide to Getting a Good Night's Sleep with a list of dos and don'ts, as well as foods, herbs and other supplements that can be helpful.

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19 Comments

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My sleep pattern changed dramatically when I was about 50 years old. I fell asleep easily but woke after about 1-1/2 hours and took several hours to get back to sleep, so I was existing for years on 4-5 hrs of broken sleep a night. About 6 months ago I started taking 50 mgs of 5-HTP every morning and my sleep has improved tremendously. My understanding is that it tends to normalize serotonin and melatonin levels. When I ran out of 5-HTP for about a week, the old pattern returned, so now I make sure to always keep a supply on-hand.

I am trying to cut back on my Ambien use. I take 1/2 a melatonin and 1/2 an Ambien and do not have any sleepiness the next day, I sleep 8 hours and dream. I have had no after effects, I am 72.

Can you tell me what 5-HTP is? I could use something to help getting back to sleep also. Thank you.

5HTP is 5-hydroxytryptophan, an amino acid, is sold over the counter in the supplement section and is quite inexpensive.

Joe can explain it in detail, I'm sure.

If you have trouble getting to sleep because your mind is too active, listen to sports talk radio. It's interesting enough to engage my mind but not important or controversial enough to keep me awake. Entertainment news and interviews also work but not news, politics or anything with a plot. I use an ear bud since I don't sleep alone.

Here is a link to WIKIPEDIA for 5-HTP

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5-Hydroxytryptophan

I used to use 5-HTP for both sleep issues and to help control appetite, sugar cravings- it can be very effective for both issues. But you can't use it if you're taking an SSRI type antidepressant- the two together can cause dangerous levels of serotonin...I think the 5-HTP is the precursor (what one's body uses to manufacture) serotonin.

Yes, what is 5-HTP? Is it an OTC? I, too, have tried everything to improve sleep--no lights in room, no noise, regular bedtime, no eating after 7pm, no caffeine, chamomile tea, etc etc. I hate the drugged feeling I have after Ambien, and Benadryl leaves me really hung over. Have tried the MidNitePM with fair results. What I would give for 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep!

Try my suggestion: If you have trouble getting to sleep because your mind is too active, listen to sports talk radio. It's interesting enough to engage my mind but not important or controversial enough to keep me awake. Entertainment news and interviews also work but not news, politics or anything with a plot. I use an ear bud since I don't sleep alone.

Also: Acupressure points for going to sleep or back to sleep
- press outward (like you are trying to make the opening bigger) on each side of the eyesocket for a count of 10. First, below the eye. Next, outside. Then, above the eye. Last, at the nose. If you pay attention, you'll feel the pressure impacting different areas of your trunk. However, I find that not paying any attention works, too.
- press at the base of the ear where the jaw-neck-ear meet
- starting at the top of your ears, one hand on each, pinch along the edge of the ear ending at the lobe
- put your thumbs on the back of your neck and drum lightly on the back of your head (10 times)
- go to sleep ;-)

I have been taking first Ambien and then Ambien CR for many years. I have had major difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep. Although both medications work, I cannot function typically the day after. Furthermore, both need to be taken right before bedtime and no sooner. Amnesia and sleepwalking were major issues to the point where my doctor told me to stop taking both. My physician offered Silenor as an alternative. He told me I could take this everyday and although I didn't really need to, no addiction potential for Silenor. Also, none of those nasty side effects like amnesia and sleepwalking. I can remember going to sleep, staying asleep, and waking up without feeling sluggish. Silenor has been good to me.

I have been taking ambien for 8 years now and I'm up to 30mg a night and still only get 4hrs if I'm fortunate I'm going to try melatonin with a low dose of ambien tonight wish me well. I really want to learn to sleep again I'm so sad and withdrawn and I miss a lot of work because of no sleep.

I have used this combo for about a week now and it has worked great for me so good luck.

What is the recommended dose of 5-HTP ?

I have been taking Ambien for years, my sleep has become broken. I have learned if i take 1/2 of a 10 mg ambien (zolpidem) I will wake up in 3-4 hours and I have to take the other 1/2 to get 6-7 hours of broken sleep. If I take the whole 10 mg at once I will wake up in 5 hours wide awake, unable to go back to sleep.

I bought 5-htp hoping it could correct the serotonin level. I took 5 mg. ambien/zolpidem and about 1/2 hour later I poured the contents of a 100 mg. 5-htp into a cup of water and drank it. The 5-htp completely cancelled out the ambien and I was awake all night with my chest hurting. I will not try this again. Does anyone out there know what to do? Ambien began as a help to me but it controls my sleep now. It tells me when to go to bed, when to wake up, when to lay down and now I never sleep all night. It is broken and fitful rest.

I think just melatonin alone would be much safer.

I am 35 years old. I have had difficulty sleeping since I have been back from the military. I have tried everything! I finally thought I was destined for Ambien my whole life until I heard about 5 HTP. I have been using it for only two days now, but I can def feel the diff in my depression and overall mood. I haven't given it have a chance to help me fall asleep yet, will try it without my Ambien this weekend. I take 200mg of 5 HTP at night. It makes my tummy a little nauseous, but after that I'm fine. I'm hoping this be the cure all. I really hate taking meds, period. My question; is it safe to take the 5 HTP and Ambien? Does anyone know? Or should I take melatonin at night instead? I have that also.. any help would be appreciated! Thanks :)

I was just recently diagnosed with bipolar and my doctor wanted me to to get some good sleep. I took the ambien but laid awake for hours before it would do anything. Now I take it with 10mg of melatonin 2 hours after my last meal and I slept for the first time in what seems like ages. Woke up feeling refreshed.

I was just taking Ambien CR and could Not stay asleep past 5 hours (wide awake). I started last week taking the Ambien CR and 5 mg Melatonin together and now I can sleep 8 hours straight and feel good in the morning.

I also take Melatonin-- the # 10 == and it works for about 3 hours with no after effect in the morning.

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