Drug and Alcohol

Melatonin and Alcohol: The Dangers of Mixing

Melatonin and Alcohol: The Dangers of Mixing

Melatonin and alcohol don't mix well. Plus, melatonin has risks too. Learn the risks of mixing this popular sleep supplement with alcohol in our blog.

Even though it is a dangerous (and occasionally even life-threatening) practice, drugs are commonly mixed with alcohol. It's often common to mix the sleep supplement melatonin with alcohol. Mixing can be done by taking melatonin just after drinking, without leaving a recommended time gap between the two, or vice versa.

If you have had trouble sleeping, you've probably considered melatonin. An over-the-counter supplement, melatonin is a popular alternative to prescription sleep medications and tranquilizers. This blog will help you understand what melatonin is, why you shouldn't mix it with alcohol, why it's bad for your health, and how to help yourself or someone you care about if they are addicted to alcohol and melatonin.

By the Numbers:

As per the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) in 2018, 86.3% of people aged 18 or older reported having consumed alcohol at least once in their lifetime. In addition, 70% reported having their last drink in the previous year, and 55.3% had theirs in the past month. 

What Is Melatonin? 

Melatonin is actually a hormone that naturally occurs in everyone's body. It is produced by the body to maintain a consistent sleep cycle, known as the circadian rhythm. The cycle is also more commonly known as the "biological clock." Melatonin is a vital hormone that keeps your sleep cycle uniform, and most of it is made by your body in the hours after sunset.

Between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m., specifically, is the time period when the production of melatonin is at its maximum. Though it does not directly cause sleep, the natural increase of melatonin in the evenings triggers your circadian response. As a result, it encourages your mind and body to feel sleepier than for the rest of the day. 

Our sleep cycles can be disrupted occasionally due to factors such as jet lag, insomnia, or the pressure to be awake for work or school. Melatonin is available in the form of supplements to aid this problem. It can be taken as a short-term supplement to balance our levels in these situations, but it is not recommended for long-term use.

These melatonin supplements help regulate sleep cycles by artificially increasing melatonin levels in the body – hence, promoting sleep. They are typically taken until the body gets used to the new sleep patterns or until it starts making enough melatonin on its own again.

Substance abuse has steadily increased in recent years, particularly among students and younger people. Melatonin is a popular supplement and is widely considered to not be addictive. Also, not much is known about the effects of the long-term use of melatonin. However, there are risks to mixing it with alcohol. Let's explore them in this blog.

What Are the Side Effects of Melatonin? 

The side effects of the supplement are different from person to person, depending on their condition and the intensity of their addiction. The most common side effects of the drug include feeling dizzy, reoccurring nausea, mild to painful headaches, and experiencing daytime drowsiness. Some other side effects of melatonin that are not as common but may prove to be more serious are:

  • Experiencing nightmares or confusing vivid dreams 

  • Feeling depressed for a short time

  • Having stomach cramps

  • Diarrhea or constipation

  • Increased risk of seizures

  • Reduced alertness

  • Lack of appetite

  • Urinary incontinence at night

  • Remaining irritated throughout the day 

  • Increased risk of falling 

  • Disorientation or confusion 

  • Mood swings

As drowsiness is, a dominant side-effect of melatonin, doctors and healthcare professionals advise against driving or using machinery within five hours of taking the supplement. 

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Dangers of Mixing Melatonin and Alcohol 

Melatonin is a hormone our bodies naturally make, which could be why so many people feel comfortable using it. It is easy to question how something our body produces can harm us. In contrast to sleeping pills, melatonin is regarded as "natural" and "safe."

However, knowing how to use melatonin safely and effectively, like any medication, is essential to ensure it has no adverse side effects.

Why Melatonin and Alcohol Should Not Be Mixed 

Even though your body makes melatonin naturally, alcohol can either make melatonin supplements stronger or weaker, which will inevitably negatively affect your body and health. This is why melatonin should never be mixed with alcohol. 

Also, although alcohol is a sedative that can make you feel sleepy after a few drinks, it is known to make your body produce less melatonin. This has the potential to disrupt your circadian rhythm. Alcohol can also alter the way some of the muscles around your airways work, which can make it harder to breathe. If you have breathing problems like sleep apnea, this can make it harder to sleep.

So, it is never recommended to take melatonin and alcohol together because of the adverse effects they can have on your health. Some of these side effects have the potential to be disruptive or hazardous in the following ways:

  • Taking melatonin with alcohol can make you drowsier and more tired than usual, making it difficult to carry out critical day-to-day functions and tasks that require concentration and focus 

  • It can cause dizziness, which can prove to be extremely dangerous while driving, walking, taking care of kids, and other sensitive tasks 

  • Melatonin and alcohol can increase anxiety levels, making you feel irritable or raising your blood pressure

Other side-effects of drinking alcohol while taking Melatonin: 

  • Melatonin and alcohol can make it harder for your liver to produce certain enzymes

  • Swollen feet and ankles 

  • Flushed upper body and face 

  • Increased heart rates 

  • Sudden waves of cold and shivering for no apparent reason 

  • Breathing difficulties 

  • Sudden passing out/unconsciousness 

  • Vivid and disturbing dreams 

  • Poor quality of sleep instead of improved quality 

  • Inability to think properly and confusion 

When given close thought, these side effects may not seem all that serious on their own, but the danger is evident if we think about sudden unconsciousness or dizziness on a sidewalk next to a road full of speeding cars. As a result, combining melatonin and alcohol can have serious, even fatal, side effects. 

Therefore, consult your doctor before taking melatonin supplements as a sleep aid if you have been experiencing insomnia or irregular sleeping patterns. Your doctor may decide that melatonin may not be the best treatment for your insomnia. In addition, if you suffer from a sleep disorder, other therapies or medications might help you sleep better. 

If you are prescribed melatonin, it is essential not to consume alcohol while taking it and to consult a physician if you experience any adverse effects. In addition, if you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to melatonin and alcohol, or if you notice someone who takes melatonin drinking, intervention is essential. Do not hesitate to talk to them or seek professional help as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

Other Risks of Melatonin 

There aren't many risks or negative effects associated with melatonin supplements. Most of the time, melatonin will not make many drastic changes to your body or how you sleep unless you take it in large amounts.

It's prudent to be safe with any supplement. Melatonin supplements are not standardized in processing or packaging, so buy them from a reputable source. The FDA does not inspect melatonin for purity, safety, or effectiveness. Along with alcohol, there are some prescription medications that melatonin can react with, resulting in health risks. Medication to look out for a while on melatonin:

  • Birth control pills

  • Diabetes medications

  • Immune suppressants

  • Blood thinners

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How Much Melatonin Is Safe?

To ensure safe results, melatonin should be taken in small amounts. The recommended dosage is one to three milligrams an hour or two before bed. However, there are various reasons why the supplement can fail in doing its job. Melatonin may not work for you, for instance, if:

  • You are drinking while taking it

  • Using other medications with it

  • Experiencing a lot of stress

If the supplement is not as effective as it should be due to these reasons, do not take it upon yourself to increase the dosage! It won't help if the recommended dose doesn't work. In addition, melatonin should not be used for long periods. Even if the supplement works, you shouldn't continue treatment for more than a month or two in one go, as there is a risk of addiction. 

Drinking alcohol should be discouraged while taking melatonin. Really, if you're having sleep issues it's often best to avoid alcohol altogether. At least wait at least two to three hours before taking melatonin after you drink if you're drinking alcohol. Beware of the potential dangers, and don't be afraid to ask your doctor or pharmacist for clarification.

What to Do If You Have an Alcohol Addiction

Recovery from alcohol abuse is difficult, but it can be accomplished with the right approach and support. Severe health effects of substance abuse include overdose and other medical issues. Therefore, recognizing that there is a problem and comprehending the harmful effects of consuming alcohol while taking melatonin is the most crucial step. Following your acceptance of the issue and willingness to seek assistance, you should take the following practical steps to speed up your recovery:

Find Professional Help

Drug rehab centers like The Edge Treatment Center can help you leave alcohol abuse behind permanently.

Develop a Support System

Friends and family are the support system you need to overcome addiction and help you through the process  

Understand Yourself

Drug rehabs also help you gain a better understanding of yourself and what drives addiction.

Make Positive Changes

Bring positivity to your life by indulging in better habits that can naturally endorse good sleep, such as walking, exercising, drinking enough water, eating a good diet, and more.

Practice Self-Care

Drug rehab is great for teaching effective self-care methods.

Have Patience

Do not give up, no matter how long it takes. Stay motivated and be patient; results will follow! 

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Do you need advice about the risks of mixing melatonin and alcohol? Reach out today.

How to Treat Alcohol Addiction

Melatonin isn't addictive. But when alcohol is added to the mix, it complicates more than sleep patterns.  

Selecting a drug rehab center and talking to the staff is a great first step to take. They'll help you understand what type of treatment will help you, how to start therapy, the duration of your program, and more.

Drug detox is the first critical step of treatment for alcohol addiction. Once you have undergone detox and have stabilized from withdrawal symptoms, you have passed the most challenging part of recovery. 

Once detox is complete, various therapies, programs, meetings, and treatments will be administered to you during treatment for alcohol addiction. These techniques will help you develop mechanisms to cope with any urges in the future, battle relapse, and take care of yourself in the long run. Some of the most prominent treatments offered by rehab centers are:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) will help you understand the underlying causes of your addiction. It aids in altering the habits that lead to addiction

  • Motivational interviewing encourages patients to continue on the right path, regardless of how difficult it may be

  • Family therapy focuses on the family to assist patients in reconnecting with them. Remember that in the right circumstances, family is your best support system. Communication with family and support from them help reduce stress and rebuild healthy relationships

  • Support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous provide patients with a supportive environment and assist them in meeting others who are dealing with problems that are similar to theirs, making them feel equal and preventing them from feeling insignificant

For addiction treatment, it is essential to understand the importance of combined medication, therapy, and support. Getting help from a doctor or addictions specialist is the first step toward recovery.

Relying on Melatonin And/Or Alcohol to Help You Sleep? The Edge Treatment Center Can Help

Mixing melatonin with alcohol is never a good idea. If you're relying on alcohol to the point it's interfering with your life, it's a sign you need professional help for alcohol abuse.

The Edge Treatment Center will give you every resource you need to leave alcohol abuse behind. At our outpatient drug rehab, you'll learn techniques and resources to live a life free from alcohol addiction.

Contact The Edge Treatment Center today to learn more.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

March 21, 2023