Step 1: Melatonin and Sleep Management

Picture of Melatonin and Sleep Management

Some people use Melatonin as a sleeping pill. I use it to synchronize my body clock to be awake during the day. This method works for me, your mileage may vary.
Melatonin, sunlight, and a few other things give your body signals as to what time of day it is.

When I'm feeling jetlagged I'll take half of one of these Melatonin tablets at 9:30pm local time. About 20 minutes later I'll feel really sleepy and sleep-deprived. Usually I stay up later and try to get to sleep by midnight. The next morning I'll wake up just before 8am feeling pretty good. This system only seems to work if I get some exposure to sunlight during the day and some exercise.

You don't have to get on an airplane to get jetlagged.
When you cheat the sandman by burning the midnight oil, you're doing two things: staying up late and exposing yourself to artificial light. Your body reads these signals and shifts its sleep schedule forward to match the new "day". So the next day you get up early for work and you feel lousy. You've got two problems. You're sleep-deprived, and your body clock is messed up with jetlag.
Jetlag is much worse than mere sleep-deprivation because your body is trying really hard to shut down while you'd rather be awake. Your body's systems can even get out of sync with each other, so no matter how much sleep you get or when, you still don't feel rested.

While building a company I was at work at 8am every day for five years.
I stayed up til midnight or later every night. I'd take a halfhour nap at lunch and a couple of flash naps in a closet during the day.
In the mornings I'll still feel a bit sleep-deprived because I was indeed sleep-deprived, but I wasn't jetlagged.

The first time I tried Melatonin I had a lot of dreams and woke up around 4am with lots of energy.
My friends report similar experiences. After that I would just wake up around 7:30 feeling pretty good.
kinawera7 years ago
Well when you put it like that....
Ricky282698 years ago
The flash nap part is cool, but the drug part sounds like an advertisement...
TimAnderson (author)  Ricky282698 years ago
Here's what a TV drug ad looks like in the U.S.: A white horse runs along the beach. A grey-haired couple walks hand in hand. The wind blows through a field of wheat. The narrator says "Shlomofloxin. Relief is here." Happy models from an assortment of races say "It worked for me" and hug their same-race families. Tha narrator says "Shlomofloxin can cause every affliction from the book of Job and the plagues of Egypt, talking boils, and spontaneous amputation. Sue your doctor immediately after taking it and then die." My little blurb about melatonin is what's known as a vitamin endorsement, wherein I carefully avoid making any health claims and/or don't try to sell you any. Google "the death of Wilhelm Reich" to find out a bit about how these different prose styles evolved.