Most people assume that natural sleep aids like melatonin can be taken whenever and however they choose. If it’s natural, it’s safe, right?
Melatonin is generally an extremely safe sleep aid, but you still need to take precautions while using it to stay safe. Mixing melatonin and alcohol can have disastrous effects.
Melatonin is one of the most popular sleep aids in existence. It is probably the most popular natural sleep aid, and it is used in practically every pre-made sleep stack on the market today.
Part of the reason that melatonin is so widely-used is that it is generally very safe and side effect-free.
People all over the world use melatonin on a nightly basis for years without experiencing so much as a mild side effect. It is also extremely useful for treating jet lag and insomnia; the lack of sleep caused by these conditions is far more dangerous than melatonin.
But what about alcohol and melatonin?
Is it safe to mix alcohol and melatonin?
How much alcohol can you drink before taking melatonin supplements?
In this article, we’ll try to answer these questions in as much detail as we can. But to do so, we first need to take a look at what melatonin is, how it works, and why it is used as a sleep aid.
What does melatonin do?
Melatonin is a hormone. It is produced in the pineal gland and released every single day. It is therefore a perfectly natural substance.
Melatonin’s job is to regulate your sleep-wakeful cycle.
Melatonin gets released every night at about 9pm. Levels steadily rise until about 1am. For the vast majority of people, melatonin levels hit their peak between 1am and 3am.
In simple terms, melatonin makes you drowsy.
High melatonin levels put you into a deep state of sleep, and as melatonin levels decline, you become more awake. For 99% of people, melatonin levels reach bottom at 6-8am, when you are at peak wakefulness.
Supplementing with melatonin helps bring on sleep faster. For example, if you are suffering with jet lag, then your circadian rhythm will be out of kilter. You wont be releasing melatonin at the right time. By taking 3-5mg of melatonin at 8pm, you will kick start your sleeping cycle. Then then your body does start producing melatonin by itself, you’ll already be well on the way to deep sleep!
Taking melatonin before sleep also keeps you in a deeper state of sleep for longer. This is why people who wake up a lot during the night – those people who toss and turn non-stop – find melatonin extremely beneficial. There is a reason why products like Performance Lab Sleep always contain melatonin!
What’s more, supplementing with melatonin is generally very safe for the vast majority of people. But that changes when you mix alcohol and melatonin.
How does melatonin interact with alcohol?
Alcohol is, in general, not something that mixes well with any substance.
The vast majority of pharmaceuticals interact in some way with alcohol. Usually, the interaction is not a good one!
This applies to both natural and synthetic substances, and it applies to melatonin too.
Can you mix alcohol and melatonin?
The answer is no. It is not safe to take melatonin and alcohol at the same time. If you are drinking, then it is not a good idea to end the night with a melatonin capsule. As we said above, alcohol interacts with melatonin quite heavily. The interaction is not predictable at all; sometimes it makes the effects of melatonin stronger, sometimes it makes the effects weaker. This inherent unpredictability makes melatonin and alcohol a dangerous cocktail!
The biggest safety concerns you need to consider when combining melatonin and alcohol include:
- Sudden loss of consciousness
- Shortness of breath
As alcohol can heighten the effects of melatonin, mixing the two can make you feel extremely drowsy. This drowsiness can come on very suddenly. The obvious danger here is accidents; if you suddenly feel excessively drowsy, you are highly likely to have an accident.
People who have been mixing melatonin and alcohol, even in small amounts, should stay away from any kind of machinery. They should be accompanied by another person while under the influence, and ideally not allowed near water, busy roads, or sharp objects.
Bottom line: Can I drink alcohol and take melatonin?
The simple answer is no. Like most substances, melaotnin interacts quite strongly with alcohol. The nature of the interaction is inherently unpredictable; in some people alcohol potentiates melatonin (makes the effects stronger), while in others alcohol blunts melatonin. The fact you are unable to predict the outcome makes mixing these substances dangerous. What’s more, alcohol severely disrupts sleep, so drinking will defeat the point of taking melatonin. If you want to sleep better and cure jet lag, avoid booze!