I’ve read a lot of Emily Deans work before and found that her science is very good. She wrote a series of articles about sleep on whole9life.com: part 1, part 2, and teenagers and sleep, and The Secret Life of Melatonin.
Part 1 talks about basic sleep hygiene: sleep/wake at same time every day, preferably following the sun’s rhythm and not sleeping too late. Use light lamps if you don’t have sun at your location. And avoid evening lights or use blue-light blocking googles. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
She summarizes the main reason why sleep is so important to brain health…
“Sleep is the time when the metabolic toxins that build up in the brain from all the energy-hungry thinking we do gets washed away. Complete lack of sleep will eventually lead to inflammation, neuron damage, dementia, possibly psychosis, and death. Sleep deprivation, even a few hours a night, leads to decreased cognitive function, increased irritability, and increased susceptibility to mental health problems.”
Part 2 talks about “sleep restriction therapy”, but cautions …
“If you have bipolar disorder or another physical or mental health condition, it is imperative that you talk to your doctor before trying it. Sleep restriction can lead to a manic episode.”
It also talks about the use of Blue-light blocking googles and magnesium. If you are sleeping good enough hours but non-restorative sleep, then it could be sleep apnea, or other physiological condition.
If your teenager sleeps “all the time”, it may be normal, because teenagers need 9 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, then there are those teenagers that do not nearly get enough sleep due to all the activities they do.
One of her blog post at evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com happens to mention that she does not think high dosage of melatonin for long term is a good idea. The dosage in supplements are too high….
“supplementing large supra physiologic doses of a wide-acting hormone is an apocalyptically bad idea on a regular basis. Physiologic doses are somewhere around 0.5mg.”
And I agree. You have to be careful when supplementing with hormones. Melatonin is a hormone.