Can You Take Melatonin After Drinking?
Did you know that nearly 20% of Americans use alcohol as a sleep aid?
"Nightcaps," alcoholic beverages consumed before bed, have been a traditional insomnia remedy for, literally, millennia. Much like James Bond, who doesn't feel more relaxed after an evening cocktail?
Of course, we now know that drinking alcohol can significantly reduce sleep quality. But many people still need something to help them wind down before bed. Properly micro-dosed melatonin supplements are a beautifully safe and natural solution, but what should you do if you still like to end your evenings with a nightcap?
Can you take melatonin after drinking?
Keep reading to learn the truth about alcohol and melatonin safety.
Can You Take Melatonin After Drinking?
No, we can't say it's universally safe to combine melatonin with alcohol. Melatonin can amplify the negative effects of alcohol, like dizziness and drowsiness. In some cases, it could even make you feel anxious and irritable, raise your blood pressure, or cause an accident.
Depending on how much you've had to drink, you should wait at least 2-3 hours before taking melatonin. If you've had several, it's best to avoid taking any melatonin before bed.
How Alcohol Affects Sleep
After drinking, you may notice you can "fall asleep" more quickly. It becomes awfully tempting to soothe insomnia with a few drinks or a shot of liquor.
However, the negative health effects of alcohol far outweigh the benefit of falling asleep quickly. Even one or two drinks are enough to reduce sleep quality by 9.3% or more. That may not seem like a lot at first, but the effects compound.
Alcohol inhibits your body's natural release of melatonin, making your sleep quality worse and wrecking your circadian rhythm for days after. If you tend to have a drink before bed, you might find yourself in a vicious cycle, yawning all day, relying heavily on caffeine and stimulants to keep you awake, then counteracting these stimulants with more alcohol at night.
Even worse, alcohol doesn't just disrupt melatonin production, add empty calories, and slow your metabolism; it directly inhibits your muscle recovery during sleep. Say goodbye to your gains.
We're just saying: trading your evening beer for a tiny dose of melatonin can have a huge, profound impact on your body.
How Melatonin Affects Sleep
Your body naturally produces its own melatonin during sleep, peaking between 11:00pm and 3:00am. Going to sleep at the same time every night helps your body find its rhythm. Plenty of things can interrupt your body's natural melatonin production, including jet lag, LED lights, smartphone screens, and...drinking alcohol.
However, unlike alcohol which essentially poisons the nervous system, melatonin doesn't forcefully create drowsiness. Melatonin capsules are not a medication or drug but a natural supplement that helps your body regulate its own circadian rhythm.
Melatonin is a signal that tells your brain it's time to slow down and prepare for sleep. Taking melatonin won't disrupt your natural rhythm, and if you take a proper micro-dose, the supplement metabolizes through your body by morning, so you won't have to worry about feeling hungover.
Risks of Combining Melatonin and Alcohol
Because they create similar effects, it's not a good idea to mix melatonin and alcohol. Alcohol already causes problems: it relaxes the muscles in your airways, which can be dangerous and make it hard to sleep if you have a breathing issue, like sleep apnea. But if you add melatonin in the mix right after drinking alcohol, it can cause:
- Inability or focus
- Inability to drive
Combining alcohol and melatonin can also overwhelm your liver. A melatonin-alcohol cocktail inhibits its ability to create enzymes and process either substance. Complications of overwhelming your liver can include:
- Redness and flushing in the face or upper body
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Accelerated heart rate
- Chills or shivering
- Anxiety and confusion
- Trouble breathing
Sound fun? Yeah, not to us either.
Taking melatonin after drinking isn't likely to cause any medical emergencies, but it can still put you in a vulnerable state. This is especially true if you take melatonin while you're still at the bar or if you try to drive with the combined effects.
(Seriously. Don't be an idiot. If you're boozing and popping melatonin, stay away from your car!)
Even if you don't experience any severe side effects from combining alcohol and melatonin, you won't reap the full benefits of quality sleep. You may still struggle with vivid dreams, night terrors, and poor sleep quality.
When Can You Drink After Taking Melatonin?
Melatonin can stay in your body for several hours after you take it, and it may take a while to kick in. If you aren't feeling any effects from your evening dose, resist the urge to reach for a drink.
If you took melatonin the night before, can you still have a few afternoon beers the next day? Yes, it's generally safe to drink the day after taking melatonin.
When Does Melatonin Kick In?
Usually, melatonin will take effect within 20 minutes to 2 hours after consumption, though you might not actually notice how it's working in the background. Either way, you should definitely avoid alcohol during this window. Taking melatonin about 60 minutes before bedtime, and taking it in the correct dose, will give you the best results and prevent morning drowsiness.
Depending on the amount of melatonin you take, you may or may not feel noticeably different when it starts to kick in. People who take huge doses (cough cough...overdoses) claim to feel a little dizzy or drowsy. Others feel almost nothing. Even if you don't feel the melatonin kicking in, it's better to skip the alcohol and stay safe.
Microdosing melatonin is the safest way to find your perfect amount, and reap the benefits without negative side effects. Plus, if you "accidentally" drink while microdosing melatonin, you're far less likely to experience a negative reaction.
How Long Does Melatonin Last?
Compared to some other substances, melatonin doesn't stay in your body for very long. Most likely, your body will be able to process it out in around five hours. You could feel effects for as long as eight.
Of course, a lot of factors affect how long melatonin stays in your system, and how strong its effects are. Remember: melatonin is not a drug; it's a natural hormone. Some of the variables affecting its duration include:
- Melatonin dosage
- Body size
- Caffeine intake
- Sunlight and blue light exposure
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol use
- Other medications or supplements
How to Safely Take Melatonin for Sleep
Quality sleep is crucial for overall health, recovering from hard training, and simply put...happiness. Luckily, if you struggle to fall asleep at night, you're not alone, and there are healthy ways to wind down without using alcohol and sabotaging your health.
It's not safe to chase your melatonin with whiskey. Instead, practice these good bedtime habits and use melatonin wisely to help you get in the zone for sleep:
- Resist the urge to hit the snooze button in the morning.
- Don't consume any caffeine after noon.
- After sunset, dim or turn off the lamps in your home.
- Use blackout curtains in your bedroom.
- Avoid blue light and screens at least an hour before bed.
- Skip the nightcap.
- Go to bed at the same time every night.
- Take melatonin approximately 30-60 minutes before bed.
If you're passionate about fitness, you need to be passionate about sleep. It's non-negotiable. Skipping alcohol and following a solid sleep-hygiene routine will help your body naturally regain its circadian rhythm. This means faster recovery, better workouts, and feeling all-around awesome the next day.
Believe it or not, most melatonin manufacturers grossly overestimate the dosage you need for top-notch shuteye. You only need a tiny drop to shift your brain into sleep mode. Microdosing melatonin with dosages less than 0.3 milligrams is a much healthier and more effective way to regulate your cycle than using alcohol!
Party Light, Sleep Hard
Can you take melatonin after drinking? In short, no, you shouldn't take melatonin after drinking alcohol. This combination isn't likely to kill you or cause serious illness, but it can create some negative side effects and worsen your sleep quality when you need it most.
You don't have to sacrifice all alcohol to have a healthy lifestyle, but as Aristotle and Ben Franklin taught us: moderation is crucial. For people who care about health and fitness, good sleep is the ultimate key to success.
Ready to unlock better sleep, boost your muscle recovery, and regain your strength and energy? Put down the six-pack and pick up Hibernate's top-notch sleep formula to sleep like a beast tonight!