Beyond Zzz’s: Melatonin Side Effects And Risks You Need to Know

Last Update on August 23, 2023 : Published on November 7, 2021
side effects of melatonin

Melatonin, also known as the sleep hormone, is naturally produced by our pineal gland located in our brain. It is responsible for our sleep and wake cycle and other related things. Melatonin supplements are used when the natural secretion is reduced or declines on its own.

Being able to sleep well is an important aspect of everyone’s lives. We begin to feel sleepy when the melatonin secretion is more and the sleep goes away when the production is less. Many people don’t have a good production of melatonin and that’s the reason they are prescribed melatonin supplements.

Let’s explore the effects of melatonin on our body and brain and the melatonin side effects you need to beware of before taking it as a supplement. 

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is one of the most powerful hormones in the human body and plays a major role in helping us sleep restfully and wake refreshed. It is a tiny hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycles and is often dubbed the “sleep hormone”. Melatonin, the sleep hormone is a natural substance produced by the pineal gland in response to nighttime, helping us calm down, fall asleep, and maintain a healthy (and regular) sleep-wake cycle. 

Melatonin’s influence doesn’t stop there, however. It also affects various physiological functions and even acts as a supplement to sleep-related issues. 

What Are Melatonin Supplements Used For?

Melatonin supplements are prescribed mostly when you can produce the hormone naturally. It is also given to ease symptoms of other health conditions. According to the doctors it’s not safe for children to take melatonin supplements because it can have side effects.

Let’s see in what conditions melatonin supplements are prescribed:

A. Sleep disorder

Melatonin supplements are prescribed to people who are suffering from some kind of sleep disorder because their melatonin levels run really low.

B. Headaches

According to researchers, melatonin supplements have been proven to provide relief to people with a headache. Especially in case of migraine and cluster headaches.

C. Cancer

Melatonin is prescribed to people who are undergoing treatment for any kind of cancer. It is especially taken while going through chemotherapy.

D. Alzheimer’s disease

Melatonin supplements are said to reduce cognitive decline in people dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.

What are the side effects of melatonin supplements?

There are no major side effects of taking melatonin supplements. In Fact some studies show that even in children melatonin has only manageable side effects.

However, while you are taking the melatonin supplements you might have some physical side effects:

  • You will have dizziness because he dosage is usually high
  • Might have some beach ache for a while
  • Nausea is a common side effect of melatonin
  • Since it is the sleep hormone you will have drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Some patients also complain to stomach cramps while taking melatonin supplements
  • Irritability

These are some of the side effects of melatonin. All of the above are manageable and mostly do not cause much harm. Having said that, you should never take melatonin without a doctor’s prescription because unnecessary intake can cause melatonin overdose.

Some serious side effects of melatonin are:

  • When melatonin supplements are taken with some sleeping pills it can cause severe side effects like memory loss and it can also have a negative impact on muscle performance.
  • For people who find it difficult to keep their body warm, melatonin can reduce their body temperature even further. Melatonin supplements reduce body temperature.
  • Melatonin affects your blood. It makes your blood thinner so do not consume it without your doctor’s knowledge.

How to increase melatonin levels naturally?

So, how to increase melatonin naturally to reduce the side effects of melatonin supplements?

Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by our own body. Therefore, there is a high chance that we will improve the level of production of melatonin in our bodies. By doing so we are reducing the risk of having any side effects from melatonin supplements.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Decrease the use of blue light-emitting devices like phones, TV, and laptops, especially an hour before your bedtime. 
  • Make sure you do not have lights other than natural entering your room at night. Get dimmer, warmer lighting to aid your sleep and the subsequent production of melatonin. 
  • Set a routine as this will help signal your body that it’s time to rest. You can engage in gentle stretching or evening yoga to help the production of melatonin. 
  • Expose yourself to natural light, especially in the morning. This will help regulate your internal body clock and support melatonin production in the evening. 
  • Try to reduce stress. Stress and anxiety can disrupt the healthy production of melatonin, so try to keep your stress at bay by practicing deep breathing, mindfulness, and other relaxation techniques. 
  • Avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine-rich beverages in the evening as they can also disrupt the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. 
  • Consider consuming foods rich in Tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the production of melatonin. The food you can eat which have natural melatonin in them:
  • Tomatoes
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Strawberries
  • Banana
  • Milk from the cow
  • Oranges
  • Olives
  • Rice
  • Barley, etc.

These have a high content of melatonin in them and by consuming them regularly you can naturally increase the level of melatonin. And when you have enough melatonin you don’t need to take supplements, hence no side effects of melatonin.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Make sure you consult with a professional before taking any melatonin supplements as melatonin side effects can harm your overall constitution and well-being if it’s not safe for you. Here are some precautions you should take before taking melatonin supplements;

  • Avoid taking melatonin supplements during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. It’s best to consult your healthcare provider before using melatonin if you’re pregnant or nursing.
  • Melatonin supplements can be used to address sleep issues in children, but their dosages can vary depending on the age. Consult a pediatrician before giving melatonin to children.
  • If you have any pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, depression, or hormonal imbalances, talk to your doctor before taking melatonin.
  • Melatonin can cause drowsiness, so if you’re taking melatonin supplements, be careful when driving.
  • Melatonin can also affect your blood pressure, especially when mixed with other medications. Consult your doctor if you’re taking any medications to avoid potential melatonin side effects.
  • Melatonin supplements are generally good for short-term use. Excessive use might disrupt your body’s natural melatonin production or lead to tolerance.
  • Choose reputable brands when purchasing melatonin supplements. The quality of over-the-counter supplements can vary, so it’s important to select supplements from trusted sources.


Like I said before there are no known severe side effects of melatonin supplements. But experts do think that there is a need for more detailed research on the long-term effects of melatonin supplements and their side effects.

Melatonin supplements are safe to take but you should take care that you take them in correct doses. If you are buying the cover-of-the-counter melatonin supplement make sure the company is trustworthy and do follow the directions mentioned on the package so that you don’t have any side effects of melatonin supplement.

I hope this blog helps you get all the information on the side effects of melatonin supplements. If you’d like to reach out to a professional, you can contact us at or DM us on social media for more information. We’re always here to help you!

Thanks for reading

Take care and stay safe!

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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