When we think of the sleep hormone melatonin it’s usually in connection with getting better or more sleep. However, taking the correct dose can be a challenge. If you take too little, there isn’t any noticeable difference. Take too much you might experience adverse effects, such as headaches.
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To find out if Melatonin really causes headaches and the best way to be sure to avoid it, we talked to sleep expert Marri Horvat MD, MS.
What causes melatonin headaches?
The reason why the melatonin hormone is thought to cause headaches isn’t yet fully understood as per Dr. Horvat, however there are several possibilities to can explain the relationship.
As with many other supplements sold over the counter, melatonin you buy from the shelves at the local drugstore isn’t regulated through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Because it’s a diet supplement, and it’s not subject to strict regulation, the exact quantity of melatonin may differ from one product to the next, with no way to know the substance,” explains Dr. Horvat.
This means that the actual Melatonin content may be less than the claims of a product but it also means that it may be higher than what the label says which can cause side negative effects. A study conducted in 2017 by The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine revealed that the melatonin content of 31 supplements varied between 83% less than the advertised amount to 478% higher than what was advertised.
In addition Dr. Horvat has said that there might be other substances like valerian or serotonin in that could trigger a reaction.
In a way, it is possible that headaches caused by melatonin may be caused by a disturbed sleep cycle. “By taking melatonin, you may be altering your sleep-wake cycle” says the Dr. Horvat, “and that is a reason in itself that can cause headaches.”
Can melatonin treat migraines?
Melatonin is a natural substance that can possibly trigger headaches but it’s also utilized to treat headaches. “Studies have proven that certain quantities of melatonin worked well in treating migraines although it’s not clear whether this has anything to do with melatonin or the improvement in sleep,” she adds.
But it’s not recommended to use it as the first line treatment to treat migraines as well as other headaches. “You must speak with your physician first to determine the reason for your headaches,” Dr. Horvat suggests. “It could be that you’re suffering from another issue which requires treatment at the same time.”
What other ways can you help sleep if you are suffering from headaches?
Dr. Horvat reaffirms that it’s best to speak with your doctor prior to making any supplements or a prescription treatment for sleep or long-term headache treatments. “If you’re suffering from headaches that isn’t frequent Try something similar to Tylenol(r) and ibuprofen could be appropriate, based on your medical condition,” she says.
However, in the event that headaches can disrupt your sleep, affecting the ability of your body to perform throughout the day, or occur more than three times per each week then there’s alternative alternatives. “We can begin taking medications daily which can ease headaches, and others can even help sleep as an result,” Dr. Horvat says, “but it depends on the kind of migraine you suffer from and how often it occurs.”
If you consult with your doctor as well as any specialist you’re recommended it will be simpler to identify the best treatment for you, and not expose you to unnecessary risks or adverse consequences.