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Though many people assume natural sleep supplements, such as melatonin, are always safe, it is essential for anyone who starts taking a supplement to learn about its use, effectiveness, and how to take it safely.
Alcohol can cause serious complications when taken with melatonin, especially when an accident is involved. Additionally, alcohol disrupts sleep patterns, which may mean that melatonin loses its effectiveness.
In this article, we look at the interactions of melatonin and alcohol. We also explore the two substances individually as well as how to make the best use of melatonin as a sleep aid.
It is not safe to drink alcohol while taking melatonin. Alcohol interferes with the effectiveness of medications and supplements, and melatonin is no exception. Alcohol can either weaken or strengthen the effects of melatonin.
Some of the biggest safety concerns with taking alcohol with melatonin include:
- trouble breathing
- passing out
- risk of falling
A person who has taken melatonin and alcohol may have trouble walking and driving. These side effects can have potentially dangerous consequences, as they put a person at risk of accidents and losing consciousness.
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Complications of mixing melatonin and alcohol
Some potential side effects of taking melatonin and alcohol together or close together may include:
- poor sleep
- fuzzy thinking
- intense dreams
- increased anxiety
- redness in the face
- swelling of feet and hands
- fast heartbeat
The human body’s pineal gland produces melatonin to help the body regulate times when a person feels more alert and when a person feels sleepy.
The body is sensitive to light. During hours of darkness, the pineal gland produces more melatonin to help a person feel sleepy and prepare to go to bed. During daylight hours, the pineal gland stops producing melatonin.
For people who have insomnia or difficulty sleeping, melatonin, which claims to help a person fall asleep naturally and potentially help with other conditions, is widely available as an over-the-counter supplement.
General recommendations indicate that taking 1-3 milligrams of melatonin about 1 hour before sleep will help the body get the most use out of the melatonin supplement. People should expect to see results within a few days of using the melatonin consistently before bed.
While there are no known major complications of taking melatonin by itself, minor side effects may include:
Melatonin is available in several forms. It is most common as a tablet, but it is also available as a dissolvable capsule that can be placed under the tongue and as a tea.
A person experiencing chronic insomnia or sleep disruptions should make an appointment to see their doctor. There may be underlying causes of sleeplessness that a doctor can rule out.
If other causes of sleeplessness have been ruled out, it is still a good idea to talk to the doctor before taking melatonin as a supplement. A doctor will be better able to determine the potential side effects of melatonin and how it will react with any other medications a person is taking.
Avoid alcohol when taking melatonin. If a person has accidentally taken melatonin and alcohol, they should seek medical attention if they experience breathing problems or dizziness.
It is not safe to take melatonin with alcohol. Alcohol interferes with the overall effectiveness of the supplement. Both melatonin and alcohol are sedatives, so there is an increased risk of accidents or over-sedation.