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Uncover What Are the Bad Side Effects of Melatonin

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  • Post last modified:11 September 2023

Melatonin is a hormone that naturally occurs in the body and is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. It is commonly used as a supplement to help people with sleep disorders or insomnia. While it is generally considered safe for short-term use, it is important to be aware of potential side effects.

Key Takeaways:

  • Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
  • Common side effects of melatonin include drowsiness, vivid dreams or nightmares, headaches, dizziness, and gastrointestinal issues.
  • It is important to follow recommended dosage instructions and not exceed the recommended amount.
  • Melatonin can interact with certain medications, so it is important to inform your healthcare provider before beginning use.
  • Long-term effects of melatonin have not been extensively studied, so it is recommended to use it for short periods of time.

Drowsiness and Grogginess

One of the most common side effects of melatonin is drowsiness or grogginess, particularly when taken in higher doses. This feeling of tiredness or fatigue can be similar to the experience of jet lag or staying up too late, and can often make it difficult to focus or concentrate on daily tasks.

To combat drowsiness and grogginess, it is important to prioritize getting enough quality sleep each night. Establishing a consistent sleep routine, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and practicing good sleep hygiene can all help improve the quality of your sleep and reduce feelings of sleepiness during the day.

In addition to sleep-related strategies, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also play a significant role in combating drowsiness and grogginess. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and avoiding excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol can all improve overall energy levels and promote better sleep.

If drowsiness or grogginess persist despite adequate sleep and lifestyle adjustments, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. They can evaluate potential underlying causes, such as sleep disorders or medical conditions, and provide appropriate treatment options.

In conclusion, while drowsiness and grogginess are common side effects of melatonin, there are proactive steps individuals can take to manage and overcome these conditions. Prioritizing proper sleep and a healthy lifestyle, and seeking professional advice when needed, are key to maintaining optimal well-being and daily functioning.

Headaches and Migraines

Some individuals may also experience headaches or migraines after taking melatonin. While not a common side effect, it is important for users to be aware of this possibility. Headaches and migraines can be debilitating and impact daily life, so understanding the causes and treatments associated with them is crucial.

Headaches can have various causes, including tension, cluster headaches, or migraines. When it comes to migraines, symptoms can vary, but common signs include throbbing pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea. Different triggers have been identified for migraines, such as hormonal changes, lack of sleep, stress, and certain foods.

There are several treatment options available for headaches and migraines. Over-the-counter pain medications can provide temporary relief for mild headaches, while prescription medications may be necessary for more severe migraines. Lifestyle changes can also be effective, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, managing stress, and avoiding triggers.

It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to properly diagnose and manage headaches and migraines. They can provide guidance, prescribe appropriate medications, and recommend lifestyle modifications to help individuals find relief from their symptoms. With proper care and management, it is possible to minimize the impact of headaches and migraines on daily life.

Vivid Dreams and Nightmares

In rare cases, melatonin has been reported to cause vivid dreams or nightmares. Vivid dreams are intense dreams that involve exceptionally clear and realistic scenarios, often with vivid colors, emotions, and details. Nightmares, on the other hand, are distressing dreams that can cause fear, anxiety, and a sense of danger, leading to waking up in a state of distress.

There are various factors that can contribute to the occurrence of vivid dreams and nightmares, including stress, anxiety, trauma, medications, and sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia. Additionally, certain substances like alcohol, drugs, or even spicy foods close to bedtime can prompt vivid dream experiences.

Research has suggested that vivid dreams and nightmares may serve as a means for the brain to process emotions and memories during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which is the stage when most dreaming occurs. The brain consolidates and integrates information during this stage, which can sometimes lead to the creation of meaningful and emotionally charged dreams.

If nightmares persist or significantly interfere with quality of life, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional. They may conduct a thorough evaluation and, if necessary, refer the individual to a sleep specialist or psychologist who can provide further assistance. For those who experience frequent or disturbing nightmares, there are strategies that can be implemented to help manage or reduce the impact of these dream experiences. Keeping a regular sleep schedule, practicing relaxation techniques before bed, and creating a calm sleep environment are all recommended approaches. Additionally, avoiding stimulating activities or sources of stress right before sleep can also be beneficial.

In conclusion, vivid dreams and nightmares are part of the normal sleep experience for many individuals. While dreams can sometimes be vivid and intense, they serve as a natural part of the brain’s process of emotional and memory processing. By implementing certain strategies, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime routine, individuals can potentially manage and alleviate the impact of these dreams on their overall well-being.

Stomach Discomfort and Nausea

Another potential side effect of melatonin is stomach discomfort or nausea. These symptoms are typically mild and may be alleviated by reducing the dosage or taking the supplement with food. However, some individuals may experience more severe stomach discomfort or nausea, particularly at higher doses of melatonin.

Stomach discomfort and nausea are common symptoms that many people experience. These symptoms can be caused by a variety of factors, including indigestion, food poisoning, gastroenteritis, and even stress. It is important to identify the underlying cause of these symptoms in order to properly treat and alleviate them.

One common cause of stomach discomfort and nausea is indigestion. This occurs when the digestive system struggles to break down food, leading to discomfort in the stomach. Eating too quickly or consuming greasy and spicy foods can contribute to indigestion.

Another cause of stomach discomfort and nausea is food poisoning. This occurs when food becomes contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Symptoms usually include stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is important to stay hydrated and rest when experiencing these symptoms, and in severe cases, seeking medical attention is advised.

In some cases, stomach discomfort and nausea can be a result of gastroenteritis, which is an infection that causes inflammation in the stomach and intestines. This infection is usually caused by a virus or bacteria and can lead to symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Resting, staying hydrated, and avoiding solid foods until symptoms improve are common recommendations for managing gastroenteritis.

Stress and anxiety can also contribute to stomach discomfort and nausea. When the body is under stress, it can affect the digestive system and lead to symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating, and even nausea. Practicing stress-reducing techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or engaging in relaxing activities, can help alleviate these symptoms.

If stomach discomfort and nausea persist or worsen over time, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and diagnosis. They can help identify the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment options. In the meantime, staying hydrated, eating bland foods, and avoiding triggers such as spicy or greasy foods can help alleviate symptoms.

Decreased Body Temperature

Some individuals may experience a decrease in body temperature after taking melatonin. Decreased body temperature refers to a condition in which the body’s temperature falls below its normal range. There are various factors that can contribute to a decrease in body temperature, including exposure to cold environments, certain medical conditions, medication side effects, and aging.

Hypothermia is a severe form of decreased body temperature that occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can generate it. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, improper clothing, or immersion in cold water can often cause it. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, confusion, drowsiness, and slowed breathing.

Other medical conditions that can lead to decreased body temperature include hypothyroidism, diabetes, and certain infections. Individuals with hypothyroidism have a thyroid gland that fails to produce sufficient hormones, disrupting the body’s thermoregulation process and resulting in lower body temperature. Diabetes can affect the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, leading to decreased body temperature. Additionally, infections such as sepsis or pneumonia can cause a decrease in body temperature.

Certain medications, such as beta-blockers and sedatives, can also lower body temperature as a side effect. These medications work by slowing down the body’s processes, including the production of heat, which can result in decreased body temperature.

As individuals age, their ability to regulate body temperature may diminish, leading to lower body temperatures. This is particularly common in older adults, who may be more susceptible to conditions such as hypothermia or have underlying health conditions that contribute to decreased body temperature.

It is important to note that decreased body temperature can have serious implications and should not be ignored. If experiencing prolonged or severe drops in body temperature, it is crucial to seek medical attention. Maintaining a warm and comfortable environment, wearing appropriate clothing, and staying hydrated can also help prevent decreased body temperature.

Allergic Reactions to Melatonin

In rare cases, melatonin has been associated with an allergic reaction. Symptoms can include hives, itching, swelling of the face or throat, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness. Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction that can occur with melatonin use, although it is extremely rare.

If you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction after taking melatonin, seek medical attention immediately. Your healthcare provider can diagnose and treat the allergy, as well as provide guidance on safe alternatives for managing sleep issues.

Interactions with Medications and Medical Conditions

It is worth noting that melatonin may interact with certain medications and medical conditions. Interactions with medications and medical conditions are important factors to consider when taking any kind of medication. It is crucial to be aware of the potential interactions that can occur between different medications or between medications and existing medical conditions.

When multiple medications are taken together, they can interact with each other in various ways. These interactions can either enhance or reduce the effectiveness of the medications, or they can affect the way the body absorbs, metabolizes, or eliminates the drugs. Some interactions can even lead to harmful side effects.

It is also essential to consider any existing medical conditions when taking medications. Certain medications may have adverse effects or may not be suitable for individuals with specific medical conditions. For example, patients with liver or kidney diseases may require dose adjustments or need to avoid certain medications altogether.

Interactions between medications and medical conditions are not limited to prescription drugs. Over-the-counter medications, supplements, and herbal remedies can also interact with prescribed medications or exacerbate existing medical conditions. For this reason, it is essential to disclose all medications and medical conditions to healthcare providers to ensure safe and effective treatment.

To avoid potential interactions, it is advisable to consult with healthcare professionals, such as doctors, pharmacists, or specialists, who can provide guidance on the best approach for managing medications and medical conditions. They can assess the potential risks and benefits and recommend appropriate medications or adjust dosages accordingly.

In conclusion, being aware of interactions between medications and medical conditions is crucial for safe and effective treatment. Proper communication with healthcare providers and understanding the potential risks can help ensure that medications are used appropriately and do not negatively impact existing medical conditions.

Long-Term Effects and Recommendations

While melatonin is generally considered safe for short-term use, long-term effects are not yet fully understood. Some studies suggest that long-term use of melatonin may lead to changes in sleep patterns and alter the body’s natural production of the hormone. Additionally, concerns have been raised about potential interactions with medications or medical conditions.

As a result, experts recommend using melatonin as a short-term solution for sleep issues and seeking medical advice for chronic sleep disturbances. It is also important to follow recommended dosages and avoid taking melatonin for prolonged periods without consulting a healthcare professional.

Moreover, alternative therapies and lifestyle changes may be more suitable for addressing chronic sleep issues in the long term. These may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, exercise, and sleep hygiene practices.

Overall, while melatonin can be effective for short-term use, it is important to consider the potential long-term effects and seek professional guidance for chronic sleep issues. By prioritizing healthy sleep habits and seeking appropriate treatment, individuals can mitigate potential negative effects and promote long-term well-being.


In conclusion, melatonin is generally safe for short-term use and can be an effective sleep aid for individuals with sleep disorders or insomnia. However, it is essential to be aware of potential side effects that can occur when taking melatonin, especially in higher doses. These side effects include drowsiness, grogginess, headaches, migraines, vivid dreams, nightmares, stomach discomfort, nausea, decreased body temperature, allergic reactions, and potential interactions with certain medications and medical conditions.

Seek Professional Guidance

If you experience any concerning or persistent symptoms after taking melatonin, it is crucial to seek medical attention. Additionally, while melatonin is generally considered safe for short-term use, its long-term effects are not yet fully understood. Therefore, individuals who experience chronic sleep issues should consult with a healthcare professional before using melatonin on a regular basis.

Final Thoughts

In summary, melatonin can be an effective sleep aid for short-term use, but individuals should be aware of potential side effects and seek medical attention if necessary. As with any medication, it is essential to use melatonin as directed and follow all safety precautions. By doing so, individuals can enjoy the benefits of improved sleep without experiencing negative side effects.


Q: What are the side effects of melatonin?

A: Common side effects of melatonin include drowsiness or grogginess, headaches or migraines, vivid dreams or nightmares, stomach discomfort or nausea, decreased body temperature, and allergic reactions.

Q: Why does melatonin cause drowsiness?

A: Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Taking melatonin as a supplement can lead to drowsiness or grogginess, particularly when higher doses are taken.

Q: Why do some people get headaches from melatonin?

A: The exact cause of headaches or migraines from melatonin is unclear, but it is believed to be related to changes in serotonin levels in the brain.

Q: Can melatonin cause vivid dreams or nightmares?

A: Yes, some individuals may experience vivid dreams or nightmares after taking melatonin, which can interfere with the quality of sleep.

Q: Why does melatonin sometimes cause stomach discomfort or nausea?

A: Taking melatonin in higher doses can lead to stomach discomfort or nausea. It is recommended to take melatonin with food to help alleviate these symptoms.

Q: Can melatonin cause a decrease in body temperature?

A: In rare cases, melatonin has been associated with a decrease in body temperature. Individuals may feel cold or chilled after taking melatonin, particularly in colder environments.

Q: Is it possible to have an allergic reaction to melatonin?

A: While rare, melatonin can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Symptoms may include rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, or difficulty breathing. Seek immediate medical attention if these symptoms occur.

Q: Can melatonin interact with medications or medical conditions?

A: Yes, melatonin may interact with certain medications and medical conditions. It is advisable to consult a healthcare professional before taking melatonin if you are on blood thinners, antidepressants, or medications that suppress the immune system. Individuals with autoimmune disorders, epilepsy, or diabetes should also use caution and seek medical advice.

Q: Are there any long-term effects of melatonin use?

A: The long-term effects of melatonin use are not yet fully understood. It is recommended to use melatonin for occasional sleep disturbances and to consult a healthcare professional for chronic sleep issues.