Melatonin to Treat Bipolar Sleep Problems?


Melatonin to treat bipolar sleep problems? Those who are Manic Depressive – now called Bipolar 1 Disorder – have scewed-up sleeping patterns. They may have a great day, enjoy their evening with family or close friends and get to bed at a decent hour… then fall fast asleep only to awaken 10 hours later exhausted and wondering why.

Melatonin to Treat Bipolar Sleep Problems?

Or they feel very down. They had a hard time getting through their 9-5 full time job and are agitated and restless. They cannot get to sleep even after making themselves eat a full, three-course meal at dinner time with a glass of wine to help them relax. Then a chill movie – nothing overly-stimulating and off to bed afterwards.

This is this bipolar warrior’s normal routine to get to sleep during a stressful time in their lives. They have lived with BP-1 for more than 5 years and know how important it is to stick to a bedtime routine, especially when they are preoccupied with other things and not thinking about the illness.

But it doesn’t work. They lay in bed for hours with their mind alert and thoughts racing, no shut-eye to speak of until 2 a.m. or so then awaken at 6 a.m. They feel understandably tired and have an off day at work. It sucks but is a key symptom of the illness.

Previous post: Bipolars Have Irregular Sleep Patterns.

Take Melatonin to Help Sleep Problems Associated with Bipolar Disorder?

Crappy sleep and irregluar sleeping patterns are a hallmark of this illness. The why of it isn’t important, only the understanding that not getting enough sleep or quality sleep can lead to illness episodes.

For a normal person not living with a serious mental illness who doesn’t get a good nights rest – or stays up all night for whatever reason – no big deal. For someone who is Manic Depressive – huge issue.

It can lead to hypomania that then may spiral out of control and progress into actual mania. There is always with BP-1 the possibility of needing to be hospitalized.

How Can Melatonin Help?

I’ve taken the over the counter natural sleep aid melatonin for years. Off and on, when needed and usually 3 mg. You can buy 1 mg tablets to try at first. For some it makes them wake up groggy and they do not like taking it.

But the reality is it sure does beat having to take any psychotropic medication for sleep – or an addicting sleep med such as the benzodiazepine valium. Benzodiazepines are highly addictive drugs with serious withdrawl symptoms if you try to stop taking them. There is a reason we have ‘benzodiazapine recovery’ programs.

Previous post: Are Your Psych Meds Making You Sick?

Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycles. It is made by the pineal gland in your brain. Start with 1 mg then increase the dosage slowly. You’ll find the amount that is right for you, and know when you need to take it; whether that be nightly or on occassion. It is also an excellent way to combat jet lag when traveling.

I’ve needed more rest lately (more chronic fatigue related than bipolar related) so have been diligent about taking a 3 mg tablet at night, usually after a couple glasses of wine. I may still take some time to fall asleep, but when I do it is usually deep sleep and I wake up feeling rested.

That is the goal: to get quality sleep that helps you, your body, soul and mind rejuvenate and recharge. Ready to take on the day.

The cute tent sleeping icon is by The Girl Tyler at



  1. Rae said:

    Hi Molly — Am trying to figure out when you put this post up. Recently, I hope — in hopes you’ll see my question. I’m BP 1, with sleep rhythms out of control at the moment (not that they’ve ever been in control much). I take a small does of clonazepam nightly, use glasses with amber lenses to block blue light, have a sunrise-mimicking, sunset-micmicking lamp , use yellow bug lights in the house at night, keep the lights down. Nothing works. I still go to bed between 3 and 5 a.m. Very little sleep + mania, as we know. So Melatonin is next on my list. Question for you: how long before your target sleep hour do you take the melatonin? Thanks,

    September 8, 2016
    • Molly said:

      Hi Rachael and I wrote it last summer, but all my stuff is ‘evergreen content’ for the most part… meaning, it is factual, informative (I link to many medical sources, etc) and not time dependent. I wish I had this blog many years ago (30 or so) when first diagnosed!

      Everything is so variable – and I am NOT a very structured sleeper – you are making much effort to have that work for you, kudos, some can manage it, I could not, had to learn to just do things to moderate severe states (haven’t had a severe episode in more than 24 years) and then just live life, accept that I am a bit biologically erratic, etc. And of course to watch out for warning signs of mania, do nothing to trigger mania.

      I know you are asking about melatonin and I will stick to that but I have to say (and if you read this blog you will pick up my take on it very quickly lol) meds most often worsen the condtion long-term. And no, your physician will not tell you that. They could be sued if they did, or harassed by Big Pharma, kicked out of the golf club etc. etc. I really recommend you think seriously about possible tapering off slowly, with medical supervision.

      Ok, enough, have some posts coming up soon about those issues.

      Melatonin works really well for me (and no, in all honesty I do not know why specifically, some folks it does not help). It helps me get into a deep sleep, so that I wake up feeling like I actually slept. I take it when I’m ready to go to sleep, whenever that is (starting to get sleepy, ready to nod off). I also take my curcumin (really cheap supplement, is good for antiviral help and also – believe it or not – has been shown to increase serotonin production) – at the same time, basic info here:

      I used to take 1 or 1.5 mg when I took it (that was very sporadic, but understand, I’ve had a lot of years with this and our bodies and what we do to hep, etc. changes over time and changes at times) – I know religiously take 3 mg – need to buy a higher quality one that what I have too. But it works for me.

      I never wake up groggy, if I really think I am in a hyper state, I take two tablets (6 mg) which isn’t often, and usually puts me into some pretty intense sleep states with very intense dreaming.

      Thats just my experience – try it out and see how it works for you.

      I will write more – there are other things like magnesium but then there’s issues of affecting other things and I haven’t studied it much… need to cover that too 🙂

      Ok, I’m blabbing! Hope this helps and you’ve given me some great ideas for follow-up posts so thank you 🙂

      September 12, 2016

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