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Is melatonin really like crack (9/24/10)?

September 24, 2010

Biologically, not even close. Yet according to actor Ryan Reynolds, the Spanish authorities treat it that way.

Reynolds is in Spain filming the movie “Buried,” where he plays an American truck driver kidnapped in Iraq and stuck in a coffin – where he apparently spends a lot of time.  Being filmed locked in a coffin has created terrible insomnia.  His solution – to get sleeping pills from his family in  America.

Yet he has run up against Spanish regulations against many OTC sleep medications, including melatonin.  Six times he has tried to get melatonin into Espana,  and failed -“you can’t get it there, it’s treated like crack.”  His sleeplessness has continued, making his shoot into a literal nightmare.

What can we learn from this incident?

1.   Many OTC medications easily available in the US are banned elsewhere.

2.   Lots of drugs used for sleeping, like antihistamines, do have major side effects and can make people groggy, prone to accident, even psychotic.

3.   Many prescription sleeping pills are banned internationally for the same reasons.

4.   Melatonin, in humans the hormone of darkness, does set up mating season for many mammals (not us,) but does not provoke reactions at all similar to crack.  The side effects of melatonin are generally mild, with about a third of people feel sleepy with it. Sleepiness and shifting biological clocks are its main effects.

5.   The cast of “True Blood” perhaps deserve higher salaries, and vampire sleep may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

6.  There are better ways to sleep – without pills.  Sleep is about conditioning.  Set the right conditions, the right information to the brain and body, and people will sleep naturally – even if they’re on a film shoot.

Rest, sleep, Sarasota Sleep Doctor, well-being, regeneration, longevity, body clocks, insomnia, sleep disorders, the rest doctor, matthew edlund, the power of rest, the body clock, psychology today, huffington post, redbook, longboat key news

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jackie permalink
    October 3, 2010 3:34 PM

    It’s too bad Ryan Reynolds decided to do this movie. It’s going to wreak havoc with his health.

    • October 5, 2010 7:58 AM

      Asphyxiation is a universally abhorred experience – that’s why it’s used so often in horror movies. Once he’s not sleeping in a coffin he’ll probably do fine.

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