Summary: There are no listed interactions with melatonin and alcohol. But I don’t advise that they be taken together. Alcohol can screw up your sleep cycle. Melatonin is designed to help it so these two drugs can actually counteract each other. Also, both can cause grogginess and “CNS depression”.
Dear Curtis: Basically, I sleep OK most of the time. But, to try and stabilize that I’d like to try melatonin as I’ve heard some good things about it’s ability to help with sleep. However, I do like to have a beer or a glass of wine with supper which is about two hours before I go to bed. Is it dangerous to take melatonin and alcohol?
First, let’s look at what we know about melatonin as far as interaction and contraindications (things you positively cannot take melatonin with).
Melatonin does have some drug interactions with other substances and drugs including caffeine, some antidepressant drugs, warfarin and certain blood pressure drugs. But there are no specific interactions with alcohol and melatonin.
Also, as far as things you absolutely cannot do with melatonin: you can’t take it if you have any sort of autoimmune disease (this can be pretty wide-ranging).
Alcohol’s Effect on Your Sleep Cycle
The biggest issue I see is why you’re taking melatonin in the first place – which is you have trouble getting to or staying asleep. Now let’s not even get into the debate about how effective melatonin is for this condition. Let’s just take a look at face value.
If you have trouble getting asleep and you normally have a glass of wine or beer before bed my first piece of advice would be to cut out the alcohol … period. Alcohol can make you feel drowsy – but it can also screw up your sleep cycle.
Don’t get me wrong, some people do fine taking alcohol at bedtime. But, for others, it’s a no-no.
So, before you start taking something like melatonin to help your sleep make sure that you are doing everything in your power to make your sleep as good as possible before taking a medication. That includes eliminating alcohol. I’d also encourage you to read an article I wrote about natural steps you can take to improve your sleep. It’s helped me a great deal as I use to have some sleeping issues as well.
The Bottom Line
With that being said, if you decide that you must take melatonin I would personally avoid taking it with alcohol. Why? Because melatonin is designed to help you sleep but it can also cause drowsiness and grogginess the next day. Alcohol is, by definition, a CNS (Central Nervous System) Depressant and can make those effects worse. It’s just a combination that I don’t recommend. Granted, there are probably some people in this world who could handle it. But mixing melatonin and alcohol is not recommended.
There’s also concerns about melatonin’s link to depression. While it’s very much up in the air at this point I encourage folks to tread lightly if they have any sort of depressive symptoms and want to take melatonin. Of course, it almost goes without saying that alcohol can also compound those depression-like issues as well.