What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in our bodies by the pineal gland, a small gland located in the brain. It helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle and is commonly used as a sleep aid to treat insomnia. Melatonin is available in supplement form and has gained popularity as a nonprescription sleep aid.
Can melatonin give you hallucinations?
There have been reports of people experiencing hallucinations after taking melatonin supplements. However, these reports are rare and the exact mechanism leading to hallucinations is not clear. It is possible that high dosages or underlying medical conditions may contribute to this side effect.
What are hallucinations?
Hallucinations are sensory experiences that seem real but are created by the mind. They can affect any of the senses, including sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Hallucinations can be caused by a variety of factors, such as drugs, medical conditions, and mental health disorders.
What are the reported cases of melatonin-induced hallucinations?
There have been a few cases reported of people experiencing hallucinations after taking melatonin supplements. In one case, a 55-year-old woman developed visual and auditory hallucinations after taking a large dose of melatonin for several weeks. Another case involved a 9-year-old boy who experienced hallucinations after taking melatonin for four months. In both cases, the hallucinations disappeared once the melatonin supplements were discontinued.
Why does melatonin cause hallucinations?
The exact mechanism leading to melatonin-induced hallucinations is not clear. It is possible that high dosages, prolonged use, or underlying medical conditions may contribute to this side effect. It is also possible that individual differences in the way melatonin is metabolized may play a role.
What are the other side effects of melatonin?
Common side effects of melatonin include dizziness, headache, nausea, and daytime sleepiness. Less common side effects may include abdominal cramps, irritability, and decreased libido. Like any supplement or medication, there is a risk of allergic reaction, and it is important to consult a healthcare provider before taking melatonin.
Who should not take melatonin?
Melatonin is not recommended for everyone. It should be avoided by pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, and individuals with certain medical conditions, such as depression, epilepsy, or autoimmune disorders. It should also be avoided by individuals taking certain medications, such as blood thinners or sedatives.
How to take melatonin safely?
Melatonin should be taken according to the recommended dose on the label or as directed by a healthcare provider. It is important to avoid high dosages and prolonged use, as it may increase the risk of side effects, including hallucinations. Melatonin should not be taken before driving or operating machinery as it may cause drowsiness.
What is the recommended dose of melatonin?
There is no standard recommended dose of melatonin, as it can vary depending on the individual and the reason for use. However, it is generally recommended to start with a low dose, such as 0.3-0.5 mg, and increase gradually if necessary. It is important to follow the directions on the label or as directed by a healthcare provider.
When is the best time to take melatonin?
Melatonin is best taken at bedtime, about 30 minutes before you plan to sleep. For individuals with a delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, melatonin may be taken earlier in the evening to help reset the sleep-wake cycle.
Can I become addicted to melatonin?
Melatonin is not addictive, but it is possible to become dependent on it for sleep. It is important to use melatonin as directed and avoid prolonged use, as it may interfere with the body’s ability to produce melatonin naturally.
While there have been rare reports of melatonin-induced hallucinations, these effects are not common and are potentially associated with high dosages, prolonged use, or underlying medical conditions. Melatonin can be an effective sleep aid when used properly, but it is important to consult a healthcare provider before taking melatonin and to follow the recommended dosage guidelines. Like any medication or supplement, there are risks associated with use, and it is important to weigh the potential benefits against the risks before deciding to take melatonin.
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Melatonin. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-melatonin/art-20363071
- Paudel, P., Devkota, M., Panthi, S., & Chhetri, U. (2018). Hallucinations: a rare side effect of melatonin. Cureus, 10(8), e3184. doi: 10.7759/cureus.3184
- Wax, J. R., Ford, L. A., Leclair, C. M., & Matherne, G. P. (2001). Images in clinical medicine. Melatonin and visual hallucinations. New England Journal of Medicine, 345(23), 1700. doi: 10.1056/NEJM200112063452318
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can melatonin be dangerous?
While melatonin is generally safe for short-term use, high dosages and prolonged use may increase the risk of side effects, including headaches, dizziness, and nausea. It is important to consult a healthcare provider before taking melatonin to ensure it is safe for you to use.
Can melatonin cause nightmares?
While melatonin is unlikely to cause nightmares, it may affect the quality of your sleep, particularly if taken in high dosages or for prolonged periods. If you experience nightmares or other sleep disturbances while taking melatonin, speak to your healthcare provider about adjusting your dosage or discontinuing use.
Can melatonin be taken during the day?
Melatonin is typically taken at bedtime, as it is intended to promote sleep. However, in some cases, melatonin may be taken during the day to help reset the sleep-wake cycle for individuals with a delayed sleep-wake phase disorder. It is important to follow the recommended dosage guidelines and consult a healthcare provider before taking melatonin during the day.
Can melatonin be used for anxiety?
While melatonin is not typically used to treat anxiety, it may help reduce anxiety symptoms in individuals with sleep disturbances. However, it is important to consult a healthcare provider before using melatonin to treat anxiety or any other medical condition.
Can melatonin be taken with other medications?
Melatonin may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and sedatives. It is important to consult a healthcare provider before taking melatonin with any other medications to ensure there are no potential interactions.