Melatonin: Uses, Side Effects, Interaction, Precaution and Melatonin Rich Foods

Posted by Vishal Kaushik on December 15th, 2020

Melatonin hormone is essential for good sleep. It is naturally produced in the pineal gland, located in the centre of human brain. It works to help the body to maintain its sleep cycle, also known as the biological clock. On average, a human work for approx. 16 hours and sleep for about 8 hours a day. This body cycle is controlled by a hormone called melatonin.

Here it is advisable that melatonin supplements should be taken as per your doctor's advice or guidance. If you are taking melatonin pill or supplements to help you with sleep disturbances, take it about half an hour before bedtime. This is mainly because the drug takes some time to make effect.

While supplementation can work wonders for some individuals, it may not work effectively for others. In this case, it is best to seek the advice of a doctor. Melatonin is also useful in the prevention and treatment of other health problems like cancer. Research states that this hormone also plays an important role in age-related macular degeneration and helps to reduce the risk of other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

The most common side effects of melatonin include frequent headaches and an altered sleep pattern. Although a rare, an allergic reaction may occur resulting in hives and itchy skin rashes, in which case a doctor should be consulted immediately.

The information given here is based on salt. Its side effects and uses may vary from person to person.

Melatonin Side Effects

Some common melatonin side effects may include -

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

Other side effects may be -

  • Pruritus
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Sleepiness
  • Increased weight
  • Tiredness
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Migraine
  • Lethargy
  • Psychomotor hyperactivity
  • Dizziness
  • Hypertension
  • Abdominal pain
  • Mood swings
  • Heart burn
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Dry mouth
  • Hyperbilirubinemia
  • Dermatitis
  • Night sweats
  • Rashes and dry skin
  • Pain in the extremities
  • Symptoms of menopause
  • Chest pain
  • Glycosuria (sugar in the urine)
  • Proteinuria (protein in the urine)
  • Abnormal liver function tests
  • Aggression and feeling hungover
  • Increased levels of potassium in the blood

An overdose of melatonin supplements may cause following side effects -

  • Anxiety
  • Joint pain
  • A headache
  • An upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability


Melatonin may interact with other drugs -

  • Teriflunomide
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Warfarin
  • Ifosfamide
  • Lorazepam
  • Clonazepam
  • Phenobarbital
  • Zolpidem
  • Caffeine


Tell your doctor if you have diseases; especially -

  • Liver disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Low or high blood pressure
  • Epilepsy or seizures
  • An autoimmune condition
  • Taking a blood thinners
  • Using other sedatives
  • Blood clotting disorder

It is advisable not to take melatonin if you are pregnant. It may cause many birth-defects in newborn baby. Ask your doctor before taking melatonin supplements if you are pregnant.

It is not clear if it is safe during breastfeeding. It may pass into breast milk. Consult your doctor if you're breast-feeding.

Additional Tips

It is better to use foods rich in melatonin instead of using pill and supplements. Nuts such as almonds and pistachios are the richest source of melatonin. Other foods that contain melatonin in plenty may include -

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Grapes
  • Goji berries
  • Milk
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tart cherries

You can also boost melatonin production by adopting these habits -

  • Go to bed at a reasonable time.
  • No artificial lights at night such as computer screen, cell phones and television.
  • Keep your bedroom dark.
  • Cut Down On Caffeine Intake: Avoid taking beverages such as coffee, tea or any other caffeinated drinks in the night as they may cause sleep disturbances.
  • Quit Smoking: Cigarette smoking may reduce the levels of melatonin hormone. So, try to limit and quit smoking.
  • Eat More Magnesium: Magnesium is an essential nutrient which can play an important role in naturally boosting your melatonin levels. Try to include foods that are rich in magnesium. For this, you can add spinach, avocados, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, black beans and dark chocolates into your daily diet.
  • Deal with Stress: Melatonin hormone works to fluctuate with sleep as well as wake schedules. An another hormone called cortisole or natural stress hormone also plays a vital role in your internal clock. When you're stressed, the levels of cortisol hormone increase. This stress hormone works to fluctuate biological clock. So, you just need to keep your stress levels under control to decrease the bad levels of cortisol. For this, you can try yoga and meditation, exercise, jogging, running, walking, swimming, etc.

Like it? Share it!

Vishal Kaushik

About the Author

Vishal Kaushik
Joined: December 12th, 2020
Articles Posted: 14

More by this author