People often use melatonin and alcohol to help them feel relaxed and to fall asleep. Melatonin is a hormone you can get as a supplement that helps regulate sleep. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a depressant that can make you sleepy.
But have you ever wondered what happens when you mix these two substances together?
In this article, we’ll discuss what happens when you mix melatonin with alcohol and any possible side effects and safety concerns. Now, let’s begin.
Table of Contents
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the brain’s pineal gland, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle. This gland is in charge of controlling the sleep and wakefulness cycle. It helps signal the body when it is time to sleep and wake up, promoting a healthy sleep pattern. 
Additionally, it is sold as an over-the-counter supplement. It benefits people who have trouble sleeping because of jet lag or insomnia.
What is Alcohol?
Alcohol is a psychoactive chemical that may be found in drinks like beer, wine, and spirits. To make it, yeast is used to convert carbohydrates into alcohol.
Ethanol, the type of alcohol included in these beverages, has a depressant effect on the central nervous system and brain function.
Alcohol use has been linked to several negative effects, including lowered inhibitions, slowed reflexes, and clouded decision-making. 
In addition, excessive use may lead to both immediate and long-term health issues, including addiction and liver damage.
What Happens When You Take Melatonin and Alcohol?
Some potential side effects of combining melatonin with alcohol include the following:
1. Increased Drowsiness
Combining melatonin with alcohol may increase the sedative effects of both substances, resulting in increased drowsiness, poorer motor abilities, and decreased attention.
This may significantly increase the likelihood of accidents, poor decision-making, and other unfavorable outcomes.
2. Impaired Sleep Patterns
Some research suggests that alcohol may inhibit the body’s ability to produce melatonin, even though it is a sedative that might make you feel drowsy after consuming it. This can make it hard for you to sleep. 
3. Liver Stress
Combining melatonin and alcohol might reduce the liver’s ability to produce certain enzymes. Both drugs need significant processing by the liver, and co-administration may increase the workload of this organ.
The liver breaks down alcohol, producing enzymes and other byproducts. Melatonin is also broken down by the liver, mostly with the help of an enzyme called CYP1A2.
Mixing melatonin with alcohol may negatively affect liver function and general health by interfering with the body’s capacity to metabolize and remove the two chemicals.
4. Impaired Cognitive Function
Consuming alcohol might negatively affect your ability to make good decisions and manage your emotions. Combining it with melatonin could worsen these effects, increasing the risk of accidents, bad decisions, and other adverse effects.
5. Drug Interactions
If you are already taking medicine for insomnia, anxiety, depression, or a similar disease, taking melatonin with alcohol might worsen the effects of those other drugs. While the liver is responsible for the metabolism of many drugs, this additional load can potentially increase the risk of side effects and diminish the effectiveness of the treatment.
6. Other Effects
Melatonin and alcohol also have the following effects:
- Memory problems
- Mood changes
- Abnormally fast heartbeat
- Trouble breathing
- Passing out
These risks are higher in people with pre-existing medical conditions, such as liver or kidney disease, or taking medications that interact with melatonin or alcohol.
Can You Take Melatonin and Alcohol Together?
It is not advised to combine melatonin with alcohol due to the potential for negative health effects. Some side effects, like drowsiness, dizziness, and anxiety, can be unpleasant or even dangerous.
How Long Should I Wait to Take Melatonin After Drinking Alcohol?
It’s best to take melatonin with no alcohol in your body or wait a long time after you’ve had any alcoholic drinks.
However, if you have taken alcohol, you should wait at least two to three hours before taking melatonin. This is because alcoholic beverages can interfere with the body’s natural melatonin production, possibly decreasing the supplement’s efficacy.
Also, if you’ve been drinking, waiting a few hours before taking melatonin will help lessen the possibility of negative side effects or interactions between the two substances.
How Long Does It Take For Alcohol to Metabolize in the Body?
It takes the liver around an hour to process one drink of alcohol at standard strength.
Hence, it takes time for the body to process alcohol, and the quantity ingested might affect how long that process takes.
Other Risks and Considerations
Although melatonin and alcohol may help you fall asleep in the short term, they are not a practical solution due to their potential for adverse effects and safety concerns.
Both chemicals can induce dependency and interrupt the body’s sleep cycle. Alcohol, on the other hand, can cause addiction. 
As a result, if you’re having trouble sleeping or other sleep-related concerns, it’s best to see a doctor to determine the cause and the best course of action for treating it.
Bottom Line: What Happens When You Take Both Melatonin and Alcohol?
Mixing melatonin and alcohol can have unpredictable effects and may increase the risk of impairment and side effects. So while it may be tempting to use these substances to induce sleep, it is important to weigh the potential risks and benefits carefully.
If you have any concerns or questions about mixing melatonin and alcohol, you must speak with a healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Also, if you are experiencing ongoing sleep issues, it is important to seek professional medical advice to identify the underlying cause and develop an effective treatment plan.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking
- Costello RB, Lentino CV, Boyd CC, O’Connell ML, Crawford CC, Sprengel ML, Deuster PA. The effectiveness of melatonin for promoting healthy sleep: a rapid evidence assessment of the literature. Nutr J. 2014 Nov 7;13:106. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-106. PMID: 25380732; PMCID: PMC4273450.
- Health risks and benefits of alcohol consumption. Alcohol Res Health. 2000;24(1):5-11. PMID: 11199274; PMCID: PMC6713002.
- He S, Hasler BP, Chakravorty S. Alcohol and sleep-related problems. Curr Opin Psychol. 2019 Dec;30:117-122. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2019.03.007. Epub 2019 Apr 19. PMID: 31128400; PMCID: PMC6801009.
- The Cycle of Alcohol Addiction. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/cycle-alcohol-addiction