Mixing Alcohol and Melatonin
Have you ever wondered if there are possible interactions between alcohol and melatonin, or questioned “does alcohol affect melatonin?”
If so, you aren’t alone, as this is a common question and melatonin is a commonly used supplement used to regulate sleep.
Below we’ll provide information about melatonin in general, as well as the potential side effects of combining alcohol and melatonin.
Essentially, your body is designed to have an internal clock that controls your sleep cycles and when you’re awake. Your body determines how much melatonin you make, and your melatonin levels rise on their own in the evening, are high during the night, and then go down in the morning.
There are some factors that can influence how much melatonin your body makes as well, such as light. During the winter when the days are shorter your body might start making melatonin earlier or later in the day than it normally would.
This is one of the reasons some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder or SAD. As you get older, your body makes less and less melatonin naturally.
Many people use melatonin as a supplement to help them if they have sleep problems or to deal with jet lag. There is also research being done looking at melatonin to help with the treatment of SAD, to help prevent confusion following surgery, and as a way to reduce chronic cluster headaches.
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.
People are advised to speak with their physician if they feel like they need to take melatonin or if they start taking it, to ensure their insomnia or sleep problems aren’t related to another health issue.
When you take melatonin, you should usually aim for around 1 to 3 milligrams at a time, although again this is something you should speak to your doctor about. It’s usually taken as a tablet, but there are dissolvable capsules and teas that can be taken as well.
So, what about alcohol and melatonin? Does alcohol affect melatonin?
The consensus is that you shouldn’t take alcohol and melatonin together, for quite 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 including concentration problems, flushing, swelling in your feet and ankles, a rapid heartbeat, breathing problems or even fainting.
Along with the possible side effects of 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, so it may seem like when you combine alcohol and melatonin that 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 naturally able to produce as well.
Finally, it’s also possible that when you combine alcohol and melatonin that your breathing is affected. Alcohol can impact muscles surrounding airways, so you may have increased sleep problems as a result, particularly if you have sleep apnea.
These are all reasons to avoid mixing alcohol and melatonin.
Does alcohol affect melatonin?
Alcohol can affect melatonin by reducing the amount 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 alcohol and melatonin including dizziness, increased blood pressure and anxiety and even breathing problems.
You should speak with your doctor before taking melatonin, and you should avoid combining alcohol and melatonin. Also, if you have sleep problems but don’t take melatonin in a supplement form, be aware that alcohol can reduce the amount of melatonin your body naturally creates.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.
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