Most of us are aware that we shouldn’t mix medications with alcohol, but we don’t tend to consider natural supplements as medication. However, often natural supplements can be just as dangerous as prescribed medication.
But what about melatonin?
Can you safely mix melatonin and alcohol?
What Exactly Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain. It helps to control your circadian rhythms which help to keep your body on an even setting.
Think of circadian rhythms as the biological process that tells you when to sleep at night and when to wake up in the morning. They are also known as daily rhythms or the sleep/wake cycle.
Melatonin is naturally produced in the pineal gland which can be found in the brain. It’s also found in some food, and as a tablet. It’s known to help ease symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, tinnitus, and radiation exposure. It’s often given to children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, to help them sleep.
Melatonin is not just used to regulate sleep. It’s also effective as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substance. It’s known to help boost the immune system although researchers are not 100% sure of how it does.
It also regulates fat cells, can help with neurodegenerative diseases and acute cases of pancreatitis. It can be found within your cardiovascular system, intestine, liver, and kidneys.
What Happens When You Mix Melatonin and Alcohol?
Alcohol mixed with melatonin side effects can disrupt your sleep patterns to the extent that you are confused, absent-minded, and at risk of being involved of mild to serious accidents. Alcohol weakens the effect of melatonin.
Some of the effects of mixing melatonin with alcohol include:
- Drowsiness and poor sleep with or without intense dreams
- Breathing problems
- Dizziness and/or fainting
- Irritability and increased anxiety
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Redness in the face
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
Answers to Common Melatonin Questions
Taking melatonin with other drugs can reduce the effectiveness of them so ensure that you discuss your options with your Doctor.
Can You Overdose on Melatonin?
Yes. A melatonin overdose can produce symptoms such as:
While these symptoms may seem relatively harmless if melatonin use continues, there is a high risk of changes in blood pressure which can lead to strokes and other serious conditions.
Is Melatonin Safe?
If taken as prescribed and under the care of your doctor, melatonin can be a safe and effective treatment for sleep disorders. Monitor any side affects you may have and if you experience breathing difficulties, contact your doctor.
How Much Melatonin Should I Take?
Your doctor will advise you to start with a small dose to determine which, if any, side affects you may experience. Any side effects should pass quickly, if they don’t, you should contact your medical professional for advice.
Can I Take Birth Control Medication with Melatonin?
Some birth control medications can increase your body’s natural melatonin production. If you are taking a melatonin supplement, this can lead to a melatonin overdose. Consult your doctor about other birth control options or about finding an alternative to melatonin.
Melatonin and Alcohol Are Not a Good Mix
Drugs of any sort never mix well with alcohol and it pays to remember that most of today’s drugs were created as synthetic versions of natural substances.
Any substance, natural or otherwise has the potential to become dangerous in large doses and we can never be 100% sure just how our bodies will react to things.
Dr. Ronaye Calvert-Conley is the CEO and Founder of Revive Detox, a Joint Commission Accredited and Legit Script Certified Addiction Treatment Center in Los Angeles, CA. She earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University in Los Angeles in 2007 and has extensive experience working in the addiction and recovery field and the LGBT community. To learn more about Dr. Calvert-Conley click here.