People who have trouble sleeping may depend on melatonin, a hormone naturally made by the body, but can also be purchased over the counter as well. Because melatonin is a supplement, individuals who are taking other hormones, such as birth control pills, may worry about the interactions between the two. However, there are no known interactions between birth control and melatonin.
The important thing to know is that the combination of the two may increase side effects, such as tiredness, dizziness, and headaches. Continue reading to learn more about how each of these work in the visually, and how they affect one another one taken at the same time.
How melatonin affects the body
Melatonin is the main hormone in the body that controls sleep. It is secreted from the brain when the eyes sense low light. So at night, melatonin is released, and in the morning, melatonin release is stopped. Some individuals do not make enough melatonin, and therefore require exogenous, or outside sources.
The synthetic form of melatonin can be purchased at any grocery store or pharmacy. It is considered a dietary supplement, so you can purchase it without a prescription. Taking melatonin every now and then may help for certain temporary situations like jet lag, insomnia, and delayed sleep-wake phase disorder.
While melatonin can help you fall asleep faster, it may not affect your ability to stay asleep. It is also not recommended for long-term use or in high doses. Children can also take melatonin, but in lower doses that should be managed by their pediatrician.
Interactions between melatonin and birth control
There is no evidence that supports the interaction between melatonin and birth control. However, melatonin can have other effects on the reproductive system. More research needs to be done, but some evidence suggests that melatonin can affect ovulation, sperm production, and the levels of hormones of the reproductive system, like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. People who are trying to become pregnant, and are struggling with infertility may want to avoid taking melatonin supplements until they can consult their physician.
If you are on a hormonal birth control, it is generally a good idea to talk with your physician before trying anything new, including melatonin. Even though melatonin is generally safe, and will not interact with your birth control, your physician can help you understand more about how they both work.
Even though there aren't interactions between melatonin and birth control, other supplements can interfere with the effectiveness of your birth control.
- St. John's wort: Can dampen the effects of a hormonal birth control and increase the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.
- Anti-seizure medications
- HIV medication
- Antiviral/Anti-fungal medications
Always talk with your physician about the other supplements and medications you're taking before starting them to avoid unwanted interactions between the two.
Safety of melatonin with birth control
Again, melatonin and birth control are safe to take together. However, hormonal birth control can actually increase the body's natural production of melatonin. Therefore, taking melatonin with birth control pills or during ovulation can increase the risk of side effects associated with too much melatonin. These include:
- Daytime sleepiness
Melatonin can also have negative interactions when taken with medications that treat conditions like blood clotting, seizures, high blood pressure, and diabetes. It's also important to note that the amount of melatonin can vary between bottles. Because it's not USFDA regulated, they don't have to match the amount of of melatonin on the bottle with each pill. So, talk with your doctor about the best brand, or choose one that has some sort of certification.
If you are struggling with sleep, and are unsure about taking melatonin, then please click the orange button to take a free online sleep test and talk with one of our sleep health professionals.