Melatonin, Sleep & Migraine

Whether or not melatonin is an effective to fight insomnia is still under debate. A recent study indicates that when you take the medicine affects how it works in the body. Researchers report that it was most effective when taken in sync with an individual patient’s sleep cycle.

They warn that people shouldn’t self-medicate with melatonin. The lead researcher says, “This is all very complicated. If you give melatonin at the right time of day it can be effective. But if you give it at the wrong time it can make sleep problems worse.”

Melatonin may or may not be an effective migraine treatment. A small study published last year shows that taking the supplement 30 minutes before bedtime can help reduce migraines. But headaches can also be a side effect of melatonin. I took it for a while, but stopped because it increased my headaches and made me drowsy. I was told that in my previous headache specialist’s practice, some patients didn’t have side effects at first, but developed them after a few months.

Obviously there’s no conclusive evidence or prescribing guidelines here. If you’re interested, you should definitely talk to your doctor about it. Supplements don’t have to meet ingredient requirements, so one kind can vary dramatically from another. It may also interact with other common headache meds.

An article in UC Berkeley’s Wellness Letter issues these warnings about the supplement:

  • Having your levels measured won’t tell you anything, since levels vary from person to person and from hour to hour.
  • Chronic use of melatonin supplements may suppress the body’s own  production of the hormone.
  • Nobody knows what might happen if you have high natural levels and take a supplement on top of that.
  • Melatonin can interact with other hormones, which is why, in part, pregnant women and children should never take it.
  • Such drugs as aspirin, beta blockers, and tranquilizers can affect melatonin levels.

12 Responses to Melatonin, Sleep & Migraine

  1. Linda Gabbard says:

    I have never taken melatonin and haven’t had a headache in years but my daughter told me to take only half of a 3mg but i forgot and took the whole thing. I got a whopping headache like I haven’t had for many years. Was hurting all night and it wasn’t worth it to try and get some well deserved sleep with the Fibromyalgia I suffer with.

  2. Nancy Brady says:

    I always get a headache with melatonin; even with only 1mg. But I have tried Dr. Mercola’s sub-lingual spray and if I remember correctly, I didn’t get a headache from it and it worked quite well. I’m still searching for something that will give me a great sleep. I can’t seem to make it more then 2-3 hours continuous sleep. I’m so frustrated as I’ve spent a fortune trying everything!

  3. Suzanne Heller says:

    try they have lightbulbs and sunglasses that filter blue light, and might help with sleep, if you use them 1-3 hours before bed. I wonder if they would suppress the body’s ability to produce melatonin though, if used for too long, as well.

  4. Rick says:

    Just been taking Melatonin for about a month and during that time a headache has been a growing side effect.
    I can get migraines that are classic, but also stomach based, that can stay in the stomach or gravitate to full. Melatonin seems to have triggered a stomach reaction such that I’m far more sensitive to migraine triggers with some horrendous amplification of gastric symptoms.
    I’d say take with great caution if you get migraine with nausea.

  5. love says:

    I just started takeing melatonin and also have been getting real bad migraines. Its a slight pain that does not go away my head became very Sensative I was takeing 10mg.of it. Maybe thats why. Im going to stop for a few day’s then take it 1 more time for 2 day’s to see if it happens again then I will know but reading this helps

  6. I have been using melatonin supplements for about 3 months and I have had no side effects then last night I took 9mg instead of my usual 3-6mg I got the most horrible headache and its been on and off for hours… is it the melatonin????

  7. needs sleep says:

    @nancy brady
    You should get a bottle of 25mg benadryl pills. The only active chemicle is actually prescribed at a higher dosage as a sedtive. Take 2-3 of those everynight and you should atleast get a solid 5 hours. Hands down. I was prescribed quatiapine for a long time and when i stopped using it o tried melatonin. But it gives me sever migrains everytime i take it, so i then switched to using benadryl when i couldnt sleep. That shit is like gold for me when im having troubles sleeping :) sorry for any spelling or grammer issues, im just getting used to this new phones keyboard!

  8. Michele says:

    I have been taking melatonin for about four days and getting real bad headaches every day. I has to be the melatonin .

  9. Kelly says:

    My 16 yr old started taking 3mg of Melatonin to help her fall asleep at night as she has difficulty doing so. She also has ADHD. She has only taken it for two nights, but both mornings woke up with a headache. Should she take a lower dose? Thank you.

  10. John K. says:

    I took melatonin for about 4 months straight- it was a godsend. At first. Then I started getting headaches. Especially anytime I drank alcohol. Even a single beer could trigger a headache. I stopped taking the melatonin, and rarely ever get headaches now. Melatonin might be safe every once in awhile, but over time it became a big problem.

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