Will melatonin help anxiety?

Ah, anxiety. That little voice in the back of your head that whispers sweet nothings like “everyone hates you” or “you’re going to fail at everything.” Whether it’s social anxiety, phobias, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), or something else entirely, it can be tough to deal with.

But fear not! There are plenty of ways to manage anxiety – from therapy and medication to exercise and self-care. And today, we’re going to explore one potential solution: melatonin.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in our brains that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles. It’s often called the “sleep hormone,” although its effects go beyond just making us feel drowsy.

Melatonin levels naturally rise at night when we’re getting ready for bed and fall during the day when we need to be awake and alert. But there are also synthetic forms of melatonin available as supplements, usually taken in pill form.

How Does Melatonin Work for Anxiety?

You might be wondering how a sleep aid could possibly help with anxiety. Well, there’s some evidence that suggests melatonin might have anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties as well.

One study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry found that melatonin supplementation significantly reduced symptoms of panic disorder compared to a placebo group after just four weeks. Similarly, another study published in BMC Psychiatry showed significant improvements in GAD symptoms among participants who took melatonin for eight weeks.

So what exactly is going on here? It’s not entirely clear yet. One theory is that melatonin modulates glutamate, a neurotransmitter involved in neuronal excitability and stress responses. By regulating glutamate release via certain receptors (NMDA receptors, for you fancy-pants science people out there), melatonin may help calm down overactive neural circuits that contribute to anxiety.

Melatonin vs. Other Anxiety Treatments

Of course, melatonin isn’t the only option for treating anxiety. Let’s take a look at how it stacks up against some other common treatments.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. It’s considered one of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders.

– Doesn’t involve medication
– Long-lasting effects beyond just symptom relief
– Can be tailored to fit individual needs and preferences

– Requires time commitment (typically several months)
– Cost can vary depending on insurance coverage and therapist fees
– May not work for everyone or every type of anxiety disorder


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of antidepressant drugs often used to treat anxiety disorders as well.

– Can provide quick symptom relief in many cases
– Widely available with various options to choose from
– Generally safe when taken as directed under medical supervision

– Potential side effects, such as nausea, headache, sexual dysfunction
– Can take weeks or even months for full effectiveness to kick in
(Melatonin might have an edge here since it seems to work relatively quickly)

Self-Care/Alternative Approaches

Various lifestyle changes and complementary therapies are often recommended alongside traditional treatments:

(Since these aren’t formal “treatments” per se, we’ll skip ahead to general pros.)
– Some techniques can be low-cost or free: e.g., deep breathing exercises, meditation/mindfulness practices.
– Encourages overall healthy habits which may boost mental health.

– Cannot replace professional treatment if symptoms are severe enough.
– Not all techniques will work equally well depending on an individual’s personal response.

Melatonin Dosage for Anxiety

If you’re interested in trying melatonin as an anxiety aid, it’s important to note that dosage can vary depending on your individual needs and situation. In general, lower doses ranging from 0.5-3 mg are often used for sleep aid purposes; but some studies have used higher doses of up to 10mg for anxiety.

There’s also the question of what time to take melatonin – this tends to range based on the reason someone is taking it:
– For those with insomnia, taking it around bedtime so the body can
naturally make use of its sleepy qualities.
– For those looking specifically at the science-backed stress-relieving benefits discussed earlier may want a different protocol, potentially involving timed releases or even daytime takes instead!

It’s “a good idea” (is there anything more non-committal?) to speak with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplements . Melatonin can interact poorly with certain medications and underlying medical conditions.

Other Potential Benefits of Melatonin

Although research into melatonin isn’t complete yet (there could always be something out there our scientific instruments haven’t yet been able discern!), here are some other potential perks backed by studies:

Cancer Prevention/Treatment

Melotonin may help prevent cancer because of how it affects DNA damage repair through free radical scavenging.^1 One study published in European Journal of Pharmacology found that treated breast cancer models saw reduced tumor growth due (at least partially) to having received pre-treatment with melotonin.^2 There’s still research being done on these early leads though!

Gut Health

Certain types of gut microbiota rely heavily on proper rest patterns and circadian rhythms in order thrive properly. As we mentioned above , since melotonin already helps regulate sleep cycles/avoiding jet lag/etc., positive changes (<like improved gastrointestinal health!) might not be totally unexpected when supplementing^3.


Melatonin may act on various areas of the brain to help with pain relief – particularly helpful in headache-related cases^4. One study published in The Journal of Headache and Pain found that patients who took melatonin had a significant reduction in frequency/duration/intensity (hey, all three!) of migraine headaches compared to placebo.^5 This was after just one month too!

Possible Side Effects

Now that we’ve talked up all the potential benefits, it’s time for some real talk about side effects as well. While generally safe and well-tolerated among most people at appropriate dosages, there are still risks:

  • Daytime drowsiness or fatigue (since melotonin is associated with ‘sleepy feelings’, this might not surprise you).
  • Dizziness.
  • Mood changes/shifts.
  • Nausea/stomach upset.

And if taken during daytime hours or when someone needs to be alert? It’s possible that your task performance could suffer. As always new user should check-in with their healthcare provider first; they can catch any glaring red flags beforehand./

To sum things up: while more extensive research will determine whether or not daily doses offer measurable anxiety relief beyond what else is on the market/the other natural remedies out there), there is good reason think adding this bedroom staple could work well for you! Always keep dosage levels low starting out so every individual can see how their body interacts before working up over 1 mg/day max dose recommendations — especially when used therapeutically supplements like Melatonin shouldn’t be expected serve as a cure-all option but rather take alongside straight-talk therapy tools such CBT!

Random Posts