good sleep is important for some reason. i always forget what it is, but yeah, important.
go read gwern's melatonin page for all the SCIENCE, but, summary:
- best thing ever
- fixes sleep
- very cheap
- over the counter
- no side effects
- it's "natural" - something the body generates naturally, you just add more.
- worst thing that can happen is that it has no effect at all (overdosing is safe)
- might make you sleep less time
- there is absolutely no reason not to give it a try
the only real problem: getting a dose that actually works. it's sold as 3mg pills normally, which are hard to cut, unless you're lucky enough to get drops that you can dissolve easily.
for me, 3mg seems to be too much and has no effect, i think i need around 0.5mg or 0.75mg. for a friend of mine 3mg seems to have worked perfectly.
"Ramelteon" and "Fun Melatonin Facts"
post in Slate Star Codex called "Sleep - Now By Prescription". go read it.
talks about a prescription drug that is equivalent to melatonin (in case context is needed: the author is a doctor), which boils down to "melatonin is underappreciated"
most importantly, near the end of the post there are a few bullet points with Fun Melatonin Facts, with surprisingly practical tips.
sunlight is important to stay awake. blueish lights inside are evil (gwern's page about melatonin talks about this)
f.lux is good to avoid making the issue worse than it is. i mean, computer screens fuck up sleep cycles, seriously.
managing exposure to blueish light might be the most natural way to fix this, but it's hard.
moderate amounts of physical activity outside have helped me stabilize sleep cycles.
ideally, this would be running every day, but i'm too lazy to actually go run every day. i love running, though. it feels great. doing it at least a 3-4 times a week seems to be enough, though.
this is a neat trick worth mentioning here for the sake of completeness, but i haven't done it.
it's not for getting a more stable cycle, it's for getting a weirder cycle that lets you stay awake more time
basically, several short naps during the day at the right moments can result in less time spent in non-REM parts of sleep, which are thought to be of little or unknown importance. the downside is that following that sleep schedule becomes more strict, and missing one nap can leave you feeling tired for days.
if this sounds interesting, go google it. it's not for me.