Sleep is essential for our well-being, but nightmares are not. It’s often an unpleasant and uncomfortable feeling.
The supplement form of Melatonin has been increasingly popular as a sleep aid because it can help regulate the body’s natural sleeping cycle.
However, some people report when they are using Melatonin supplements, they experience nightmares, does taking melatonin cause nightmares?
This article will explain the details, tips, and tricks to understand why you experience a nightmare and what you can do.
Understanding Nightmare: Why People See Nightmare?
Nightmare is not a disease, but they can be a symptom of other health problems, such as anxiety disorders, depression, and PTSD.
There are many theories about why people see nightmares, but there is no conclusive answer to this question yet. Melatonin supplements can cause nightmares, a “side effect” and not common.
But the reality is that Melatonin deficiency has far the worst situation people can experience.
Truth: Melatonin Deficiency has Far More Worsening Symptoms
The symptoms of melatonin deficiency are:
- Excessive Stress Hormone
For mental health, we need to have the proper amount of melatonin. Melatonin also helps detoxify from excessive Beta Amyloid proteins and produce new brain cell production by stimulating BDNF protein which helps neurogenesis.
Melatonin Deficiency Cause The Activation Of the Amygdala
The brain has a small almond-shaped structure(near the hippocampus) called the Amygdala. It is responsible for regulating our emotions by sending signals to other brain parts when it detects something that triggers fear or anxiety.
What’s surprised that the Amygdala can cause nightmares when it detects danger in a person’s surroundings during sleep. It can also cause panic attacks in some people if they are exposed to a trigger that reminds them of past trauma. And it might happen during sleep.
Melatonin deficiency is the number one reason why people experience sleep problems. If people are chronically deficient in that hormone, they might be more vulnerable to depression and anxiety as we cause nightmares at night by activating the Amygdala. (the fear center)
Why Might Melatonin Cause Nightmares?
Melatonin supplement is becoming increasingly popular people are starting to use Melatonin as a supplement for better sleep, mood even longevity benefits. But wait, why do I experience nightmares if this melatonin is so good?
Reason for that:
- You Are Using High Dosage: You can reduce the Melatonin supplement to 0,5 mg if you have slight sleep problems. 3mg dosage might be high; reducing the amount of Melatonin 3 mg to 0.5-1 mg is safe.
- GABA: GABA Deficiency is most common in people same, like Melatonin, and significantly impacts our sleep quality and mood. You can combine boost GABA by reducing Glutamate rich foods intake and using supplements such as B6, Magnesium, and Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis).
- L-Theanine: L-theanine helps you get calm by boosting Alpha Brain Waves and impacting GABA.
- B1 Vitamins: B1 vitamins involve proper Adrenal Gland functions, and deficiency leads to activation of the Amygdala and the reason why nightmares.
Also, drinking too much caffeine before bed can spike cortisol and lead to GABA dysregulation, which might cause nightmares.
Reason 2: Vivids Dreams And REM Sleep
A study by the University of California found that Melatonin can increase vivid dreams by expanding the REM sleep state and releasing vasotocin protein. (for regulating REM)
REM sleep occurs at intervals throughout the night, with each cycle typically lasting about 90 minutes. REM sleep involves emotions; some studies show that emotional and perceptually vivid dreams are more common in that state.
Yet, the longer you experience REM sleep, the more vivid dreams occur, and you might be more vulnerable to “nightmares” during that state.
REM sleep and dreaming have been overcome; several studies point out that emotional and perceptually vivid contents are more frequent when reported upon awakenings from this sleep stage. It is well-known that REM sleep plays a pivotal role in processing salient and emotional waking-life experiences, strongly contributing to emotional memory consolidation.
Reason 3: Suppressed Emotions
Not Melatonin, but the underlying emotions might cause nightmares. Scientific authorities say fear(amygdala activation) is the dominant emotion felt during nightmares and sadness, anger, confusion, disgust, frustration, or guilt, which are common AND traumatic experiences. It’s expected to have nightmares and anxiety.
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- Emotional Freedom Therapy
These are tools easy to implement, yet they are powerful and safe methods proven from scientific research that help reduce amygdala activation and support better emotional well-being by changing the emotional state.
For example, long-term meditation can help boost grey matter volume and density in different regions throughout the brain, which helps better emotional support.
Natural Boost Melatonin Rather Than Supplements
If you are still experiencing negative experiences while using Melatonin supplements such as Nightmares, it would be best to try to boost Melatonin secretion in natural ways instead of supplements.
First and foremost, avoid article blue light at night because the light of our devices, TVs, and computer screens tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime when it should be night.
Use Melatonin precursors to boost the secretion of Melatonin, such as
- 5-HTP(or Tryptophan)
- Vitamin C
One thing we need to know it Melatonin secretion is suppressed by chronic inflammation(which leads to cortisol spikes) and anything that reduces inflammation could help you get better results for Melatonin synthesis.
For that reason, Wim Hof Breathing and inner smile Meditation are the best and most natural ways of reducing inflammation besides supplements.
What can you combine with Melatonin to intensify your dream?
Magnesium Acetyle Taurat(ATA) can cross the blood-brain barrier and increase the amount of magnesium in the brain, reducing anxiety and depression and better sleep. The active form of B6 and Glycine combined with zinc also boosts sleep intensity.
However, Valerian Root has valeric acids, which make it as strong as Melatonin because of GABA receptors, and combining them will intensify your sleep.
While getting enough sleep is vital to our health, having bad dreams is not.
There are many different factors to consider when deciding whether or not to take Melatonin. Although it is mostly safe and beneficial for most people, some may experience adverse side effects like nightmares.
If so, try to reduce the Melatonin 0,5-1 mg and support GABA for better sleep.