What you should know about melatonin and the potential side effects of combining it with alcohol.

Have you ever wondered if there are possible interactions between alcohol and melatonin? If so, you aren’t alone. This is a common question as melatonin is a commonly used supplement to help regulate sleep. Below you’ll find more information about melatonin and the potential side effects of combining it with alcohol.

Article at a Glance:

Melatonin is something naturally produced by our bodies that determines when we’re awake and asleep, but some people take it as a supplement if they have sleep problems. It’s not recommended to mix alcohol and melatonin.

  • Alcohol can reduce the amount of melatonin your body naturally makes, and if you take the supplement version of melatonin, it may seem like alcohol reduces its effectiveness.
  • There are also potentially dangerous side effects of combining alcohol and melatonin including dizziness, increased blood pressure and anxiety and even breathing problems.
  • You should speak with your doctor before taking melatonin.

What is Melatonin?

Our bodies naturally make the hormone melatonin in the brain. It’s responsible for controlling sleep and wake cycles. There are also trace amounts of melatonin in some foods including meats and vegetables, but many people take the supplement version of melatonin as well.

For the most part, melatonin on its own is considered safe for both short and long-term use, but there are potential side effects. Some of the side effects can include sleepiness, reduced body temperature, vivid dreams, grogginess in the morning and slight changes in blood pressure.

Does Alcohol Affect Melatonin?

Because of how commonly melatonin supplements are taken, people frequently wonder if alcohol affects melatonin. The consensus is that you shouldn’t take alcohol and melatonin together, for a few reasons.

First, if you combine alcohol and melatonin, negative side effects may occur. These can include extreme drowsiness, dizziness and increased anxiety. It may also make you more likely to experience raised blood pressure.

There is also the risk of an interaction between alcohol and melatonin involving your liver and how it produces enzymes. This can lead to side effects like concentration problems, flushing, swelling in your feet and ankles, a rapid heartbeat, breathing problems or even fainting.

Along with the possible side effects of combining alcohol and melatonin, it’s also important to understand that alcohol on its own can have a negative impact on your sleep cycles. Alcohol is a depressant so it can make you feel sleepy, but it can also prevent you from getting deep sleep. 

If you combine alcohol and melatonin, it may seem like you’re not getting the effects of the melatonin, but this could be the result of alcohol. Alcohol reduces the amount of melatonin your body is able to produce naturally as well.

Finally, it’s also possible that when you combine alcohol and melatonin that your breathing is affected. Alcohol can impact the muscles surrounding airways, so you may have increased sleep problems as a result, particularly if you have sleep apnea.

Nicole LaNeve
Editor – Nicole LaNeve
Nicole leads a team of passionate, experienced writers, editors and other contributors to create and share accurate, trustworthy information about drug and alcohol addiction, treatment and recovery for The Recovery Village and all Advanced Recovery Systems sites. Read more
Benjamin Caleb Williams
Medically Reviewed By – Benjamin Caleb Williams, RN
Benjamin Caleb Williams is a board-certified Emergency Nurse with several years of clinical experience, including supervisory roles within the ICU and ER settings. Read more

Oregon Health And Science University. “Melatonin Improves Mood In Winter Depression.” ScienceDaily, May 2, 2006. Accessed June 3, 2020.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.