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Does Melatonin Help with Anxiety? – Everything you Need to Know

Woman sleeping with help from melatonin to help with her anxiety

Each year, anxiety disorders impact millions of individuals. In fact, according to the ADAA, anxiety disorders are the United State’s most common type of mental illness. Some individuals often wonder if melatonin helps with anxiety. Melatonin may give individuals with anxiety a natural alternative to relieve their symptoms.

Can Anxiety Make You Tired? 

Anxiety causes you to experience a hormonal rush that can cause you to feel drained. You may experience a temporary crash, but the exhaustion that follows can last a while. You may experience fatigue even after you’ve rested or slept for a bit.

Fatigue and chronic anxiety go hand in hand. Anxiety can interfere with your sleep at night. This can make your daytime sleepiness worse, leading to other health issues.

  • Anxiety itself is emotionally and physically exhausting and can lead to problems like insomnia as well which also contributes to even more fatigue
  • Anxiety can cause adrenal fatigue, creating a feeling of extreme tiredness despite getting plenty of rest
  • Some problems and symptoms that are anxiety-related can lead to tiredness as well

Because anxiety causes your energy levels to go up and down, it’s naturally tiring. This can cause you to feel excessively drained. Certain individuals feel tired throughout the day when struggling with mood disorders. Others only become tired after they experience an anxiety attack. 

Some feel intense fatigue which causes them to feel like they can’t focus on life, or they require frequent naps to recoup and regenerate.

What is Melatonin? 

Melatonin is a hormone made naturally by your body. Your pineal gland, a brain organ that controls sleep patterns, regulates melatonin levels. When it’s dark, your body goes to work creating more of this natural hormone, which acts as a sleep aid for better sleep quality. And, when it’s light, your body makes less of it. 

You can rely on something other than just your body to obtain melatonin or sleep medicine. You can easily buy melatonin over the counter as a supplement to aid with sleep problems or a sleep disorder. According to some clinical studies, melatonin supplements are effective in treating sleep issues.

Not only this, but researchers are studying this hormone for other potential uses, including for anxiety. It’s suggested that melatonin could potentially help improve anxiety as it improves sleep. It may also directly affect your symptoms of anxiety.

How Can Someone Get Melatonin for Anxiety?

As mentioned, you can obtain OTC melatonin supplementation that you take by mouth (tablets) or that you place under your tongue (sublingual). Melatonin supplements have been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration FDA.  

It’s unclear what the most effective dose of a melatonin supplement is for improving anxiety symptoms. However, clinical studies have successfully used 3 to 10 mg of melatonin dosage, typically taken right before bed. You can also obtain prescription melatonin supplements that will come as either a liquid that you drink or as slow-release tablets.

Is melatonin safe to obtain for anxiety? There are natural ways to obtain melatonin for anxiety and mental health. Again, your body naturally produces melatonin if the setting is right. Some ways to help your body create natural melatonin include:

1. Dim the Lights in the Evenings 

These days, it’s not uncommon for individuals to surround themselves with bright lights before they go to bed (i.e., screen time). Bright lights in the evenings before bedtime can disrupt and confuse your internal body clock since melatonin decreases with light. One way to increase your body’s production of melatonin which will help prepare a good sleep foundation and sleep cycle, is to dim all the lights in your home a minimum of an hour before going to bed.

2. Get Some Sunlight 

You can help regulate your internal clock by getting some sunlight, which helps with melatonin production. Sunlight produces serotonin, a precursor of melatonin. It’s found that when it becomes dark, serotonin converts into melatonin. It’s suggested that you put yourself outside in the sunlight for about 30 minutes or so within one hour of getting up in the morning. 

3. Eat Sleep-Inducing Foods 

Certain types of food contain natural melatonin at high levels. These foods include:

  • Eggs
  • Berries
  • Milk
  • Goji
  • Cherries
  • Fish
  • Nuts (pistachios and almonds in particular)

An excellent example of a healthy meal that contains sleep-inducing foods is a salmon omelet with a goji berry smoothie made with almond milk. 

When Shouldn’t Melatonin Be Used for Anxiety?

It’s important to know that there are certain medications that melatonin supplements can interact with. You shouldn’t take melatonin supplements if you’re taking any of these medications below:

  • Anticoagulants (blood thinners)
  • Anticonvulsants (medications to prevent seizures)
  • Diabetes medications
  • Antiplatelet medications
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Sedatives (benzodiazepines)
  • Immunosuppressants (medications to suppress the immune system)

It’s important to always check with your healthcare provider before you begin taking melatonin supplements to treat generalized anxiety disorder. 

You should also not take melatonin if you have any of the following conditions: 

  • Hypertension: Melatonin increases blood pressure levels for individuals with hypertension and who are on blood pressure medications.
  • Epilepsy: Melatonin could potentially increase a person’s risk of seizures.
  • Diabetes: Melatonin can potentially increase your blood sugar levels. If you’re looking to take melatonin and you have diabetes, it’s essential that you monitor your blood sugar very carefully.
  • Undergoing immunosuppressive treatment: Melatonin may potentially increase the response of your body’s immune system and thereby reduce the efficacy of any medications you may be taking to suppress your immune system.
  • Bleeding disorder: Melatonin can potentially slow clotting, so you shouldn’t use this hormone if you have a bleeding disorder that slows down your blood’s clotting time or if you’re taking other medications to slow coagulation.
  • Pregnancy: You shouldn’t take melatonin if you are pregnant since it’s not known what effect it may have on the developing fetus.
  • Breastfeeding: Melatonin can be passed to your child through breast milk, so you shouldn’t take it if breastfeeding.

Melatonin can be helpful if you’re dealing with anxiety that co-occurs with insomnia or is related to a sleep disturbance. Still, it’s not typically suggested you use it to treat anxiety. Instead of attempting to manage anxiety with an OTC dietary supplement, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional who can tailor a treatment plan specifically for your anxiety.

Find Anxiety Treatment in Orange County

Fortunately, there are successful treatments for anxiety disorders. Most people can go on to live productive and healthy lives with the right treatment.

At Acera Health, we provide outpatient and residential programs for people struggling with anxiety and other disorders. Our Orange County anxiety treatment programs are specifically structured to meet your individual needs, regardless of what they are. 

We guide every person toward full recovery by promoting overall well-being. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one overcome anxiety and live a better quality of life. 


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