If you consume Melatonin, it’s a good idea to stay away from alcohol completely. If you’ve however consumed alcohol, it’s always a good idea to either skip the dosage entirely for that night or to wait a few hours, depending on how much alcohol you’ve consumed.
Melatonin is essentially a hormone that is produced naturally by your body. It is what regulates your sleep cycle and helps your body keep track of time. In other words, melatonin is responsible for your body’s circadian rhythm or biological clock, if we were to put it simply.
The secretion of melatonin plays a crucial part in how your body decides when it’s time to sleep. It is usually secreted after sunset and most prominently between the hours of 11.00 PM and 3.00 AM.
Apart from being naturally secreted by the pineal gland in your brain, melatonin is also available as a supplement for consumption. Most pharmacies and drugstores that stock nutritional supplements carry it and it is marketed as a natural sleep aid and a quick cure for people who have insomnia or a jet lag.
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Why You Shouldn’t Combine Melatonin And Alcohol
Alcohol, in itself, is a known sedative. This is the reason that you feel drowsy after you’ve had a few drinks. However, it is not the good kind. Leaving aside the fact that it can leave you highly dehydrated and give you a splitting headache and a hangover – alcohol also is known to interfere with the body’s production of melatonin, reducing it, thereby messing with your sleep cycle.
Other than that, it also messes with the muscles in your nasal passage making it difficult to breathe. If you suffer from a sleeping condition such as sleep apnea, this only adds insult to the injury and can make sleeping an almost impossible endeavor.
Combining alcohol with melatonin can cause negative effects to your health and overall well-being and so is never recommended. Among the many potential side effects, some of them include –
Excessive Drowsiness – This makes it almost impossible for you to focus or drive.
Higher Anxiety Levels – Being anxious leaves you frustrated, raises your blood pressure and makes you restless.
Dizziness – This could cause you to faint or fall or puke everywhere. A fall could be dangerous, and you could end up hurting yourself.
Complications of Melatonin And Alcohol Consumption
Not only does it hamper your brain’s production of melatonin, combining alcohol with a melatonin supplement can also affect your liver, preventing it from creating specific enzymes required by your body to function.
A few complications such as the below can be the result of which –
– Swollen Ankles and Feet
– Flushed Face and Upper Body
– Tachycardia (Irregularly Fast Heartbeat)
– Feeling Cold or Shivers even at regular temperatures
– Lack of attention and focus or the ability to think clearly
– Breathing Troubles
– Dyspnea (Breathlessness or shortness of breath)
– Fainting or passing out.
It is highly recommended that you head to the ER or seek medical care if you experience any of these symptoms.
If you’ve been diagnosed with insomnia, it is best recommended that you consult your doctor before you begin consuming melatonin supplements. Depending on the cause and other factors, the doctor may decide that melatonin wouldn’t be the solution for you, in which case he or she’ll recommend something else, which’ll prove more helpful in regulating your sleep.
How to Take Melatonin For Best Results
Melatonin supplements usually come in a dosage of 1mg to 10mg. Once again, you should speak to a medical professional who can help you in deciding the best one for you. Several factors such as your age, weight, your body’s metabolism rate, health issues, age, specific sleep issues, etc. have to be taken into account before prescribing a dosage.
Since the FDA does not regulate melatonin, the availability is plenty, but the consumption varies significantly from person to person, and at such times discretion should be exercised, ideally with the help of a medical professional.
Below are some general guidelines for the consumption of melatonin, these are in no way to replace a medical professional’s instructions –
– Most doctors recommend ingesting melatonin about half an hour before your planned bedtime.
– Melatonin is available in the market in various forms. However, pills are the most widely available type in most pharmacies and drugstores. Certain beverages also come with melatonin as an added supplement. However, tablets are usually recommended since you can regulate the dosage more accurately.
Once you’ve ingested a melatonin supplement, avoid exposure to “blue light.” Stay away from the television, turn off your laptop and keep your cell phone aside. The blue light reduces your body’s natural melatonin production and also reduces the effectiveness of the supplement.
If you’re consuming a melatonin supplement as a sleeping aid, stay away from alcoholic drinks post-consumption. Alcohol can interrupt the supplement’s ability to digest and get absorbed by your body.
If you’re consuming melatonin, you’re most likely suffering from a sleep issue. Alcohol only makes it worse. It reduces the effectiveness of the supplement; it also hampers your body’s natural melatonin production. And since it’s a sedative, it also carries the risk of oversedation.
All in all, it’s not recommended to consume alcohol with melatonin.