Why You Always Have Insane Dreams On Melatonin
I was so excited when I found out my new job would let me bring my dog to work.
But, I was slightly puzzled when they asked if I was willing to let him to undergo a small, non-invasive surgery like microchipping, which would slightly modify his behavior for an office environment.
I reluctantly agreed, and when I went to the vet, I asked if there would be any side effects.
"Hardly any. You might notice some melting, but that only happens once for every 12 dogs that undergo the surgery."
I figured "melting" was some veterinarian mumbo jumbo for "lying down" (doctors are so dumb), and I went ahead with the procedure for my dog, Charlie.
When we got into work the next day, his scalp started to melt off his skull, like an ice cream cone.
I noticed when I was petting him and got pieces of his head on my hands. When I looked down, his entire bone structure on the top of his head was exposed for the world to see.
Charlie seemed fine otherwise. He was smiling his big, dumb smile, and I thought, "Wow, he really is a lovable idiot."
But, I decided to make an appointment at the vet to get it taken care of.
Unfortunately, the appointment was cancelled when the zombies came to eat my mom.
As you probably figured out, this is just one of the dreams (nightmares?) I've had this week while on melatonin, the sleep aid I've been using for the last six years to help regulate my sleep cycle when it gets off-kilter.
I first started taking melatonin to help me sleep when I was getting sober and didn't know how to go to bed without passing out drunk. I just thought that was how people fell asleep.
The supplements fixed that, as melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that tells the body it's time to prepare for sleep.
But, I remember being warned by the person who gave it to me, "Careful, it gives you crazy dreams."
Turns out, though, this is a myth. Many researchers believe melatonin itself isn't the cause of the insane dreams.
So, could someone please explain why my dog's skull melted off into my hands the other night? Or why everyone else who takes melatonin has a similarly bizarre dream experience?
Well, Dr. Rafael Pelayo, a Stanford University professor of sleep medicine, told HuffPo,
Who takes melatonin? Someone who's having trouble sleeping. And once you take anything for your sleep, once you start sleeping more or better, you have what's called 'REM rebound.'
So in other words, it's not melatonin that's causing people to have these graphic, haunting, LSD-level dream experiences. It's just the improved quality of their sleep.
Pelayo continued, saying,
More REM sleep gives you more chance to dream. And most dreams are bizarre. That's the best explanation I can think of for this phenomenon.
In other words, I have no one to blame for Charlie's melting skull but myself. No wonder I've spent most of my life sleep-deprived.
My head is a circus fire!
These intense dreams, however, shouldn't last for long.
According to Pelayo, the more your sleep schedule becomes normalized, the fewer crazy dreams you'll have, as your body will become used to experiencing REM.
And if you can't handle the melatonin nightmares, just try taking a lower dose.
Sweet dreams in 2017, everybody. Hopefully you can do it without melatonin.