Lots of people these days have difficulty getting to sleep. Everyday life is full of little stressors that can add up, leaving us to toss and turn when we should be peacefully dreaming. Some people choose to take a sleep supplement like melatonin, while others may choose to have a few drinks in the evening. Is it safe to use melatonin when you have also had alcohol to drink? Many people might think that taking melatonin is always safe since it is a compound that our own bodies produce. However, mixing alcohol and melatonin can be dangerous. While not as dangerous as sleeping pill abuse, habitually drinking alcohol and mixing it with other substances can be a problem that leads some people to seek help from a polysubstance abuse treatment program. Contact Greater Boston Addiction Centers at 877.920.6583 to learn more.
What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a type of tryptamine, meaning an organic molecule that is made by our brains. Melatonin plays a role in helping regulate our body’s natural sleep/wake cycle, which is called the circadian cycle. The brain produces more or less melatonin depending on whether it is dark or light outside, which is why, in some cases, people who are visually impaired can have trouble regulating their sleep cycles.
Melatonin is also sold as an over-the-counter supplement that is generally considered safe for people to use for short periods of time. This type of melatonin is usually synthesized in a laboratory.
Is Taking Melatonin Safe?
In most cases, it is alright to take melatonin for a short period of time or occasionally to help with insomnia. However, certain interactions and contraindications are known:
- Certain kinds of prescription medications may interact poorly with melatonin supplements
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take the supplement without consulting their doctor, as there has been little research on what the effect might be
- Dietary supplements, in general, are not as strongly regulated as medicines, so the ingredients and their origins may not be easy to know
- People who drink alcohol should not take melatonin
Why Should You Avoid Drinking Alcohol and Taking Melatonin Together?
Alcohol is a sedative, meaning that it can make you sleepy and groggy when you consume it. Melatonin can also make you sleepy and groggy when you take it. Lack of alertness can lead to accidents, which is why consuming two things that make you less alert is not a good idea. Another potential danger of taking two sedatives together is that you could experience impaired judgment or ‘blacking out,’ both of which can lead to a situation where you do something risky or dangerous without realizing it. Drinking too much alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning, which, if you are extra-sedated from also taking melatonin, might cause you to become extremely ill and not be able to call for help.
How Can a Polysubstance Abuse Treatment Program Help?
Obviously, melatonin is not a dangerous substance of abuse, but drinking habitually or taking prescription sleeping pills can be a real problem. Often, people who end up seeking help for drinking or abusing sleeping medication start doing these things to try and get better sleep. A treatment program can help you or your loved one disentangle the drinking and drugs from sleep issues.
Greater Boston Recovery Centers Can Help With Polysubstance Abuse Treatment
Our clients have access to a wide range of programming designed to help each person fulfill their personal treatment goals and achieve lasting recovery. If you or someone that you care about has been struggling with drinking and drugs, reach out to our caring and highly trained staff at 877.920.6583 or via our online form and learn how we can help.