Everyone has a night here and there when they keep tossing and turning. Some people struggle with insomnia even if they cut their caffeine, alcohol, and sugar intake, and keep away from the screens hours before going to bed. Sometimes a racing mind is to blame. Therefore, these people are often hesitant to go on sleep medication as they can become hooked on it. That is why they feel the best thing to do is to stick to taking melatonin before bed to help them sleep.
Your body naturally makes melatonin and that is the reason that you do not want to go on screens as it can lower your natural melatonin which you need before going to bed so you can sleep. Your pineal gland makes the hormone and it also makes serotonin which is the happy hormone. You need to have a balance of both so you can sleep. However, imbalances are common and that is why you are eager to take melatonin before bed if you are struggling to sleep. There is one thing about synthesized melatonin that involves a strange side effect. Melatonin can cause you to have very strange and vivid dreams.
How Does Melatonin Cause Strange And Vivid Dreams?
According to Healthline, there are several reasons why melatonin can cause strange dreams. However, before getting into that, melatonin is a good treatment for those who struggle with hallucinations at night which sounds counterintuitive. The result of a study conducted in 2018, those who experienced hallucinations by hearing and seeing frightening things in the dark was given five mg of melatonin and it helped those who experienced frightening sounds and visions. However, doses of melatonin less than five mg did not help with reducing night terrors.
However, that is very different from having vivid dreams. According to the same source, when you are in the REM or rapid eye movement stage of sleeping, your natural melatonin releases a chemical called vasotocin as it helps your mind remove memories during your dream state. That is the time when you have the most vivid dreams, and when you take synthesized melatonin on top of your natural melatonin at work, you release more vasotocin.
The extra vasotocin is what causes you to have long periods when your mind removes memories. Therefore, you are going to have longer times of having vivid dreams. That is the main reason that melatonin can cause you to have very strong dreams. Remember that once you awaken, your mind removes memories so you know the difference between your waking memories and the ones you had during your dream.
That also comes with the fact that when you take melatonin, you are in a dream state for a longer time which was discussed. That is the purpose of taking melatonin if you struggle with falling asleep so you get a night of better quality sleep and spend less time tossing and turning before you do fall asleep. However, what do you do if the melatonin you take is making your dreams too vivid to the point it is making you dread falling asleep? Then you will want to look into other ways of sleeping.
There are other sleep remedies that do not involve extra melatonin that can help you sleep without causing you to have strong dreams that are interrupting you in any way. You will need to talk to your doctor about other remedies to take if this is a significant issue. You also may be referred by your doctor to a sleep specialist as well. Or, maybe you will want to look at other OTC sleep medications to try and all you have to do is talk to your pharmacist.