Melatonin and Birth Control: Do They Cancel Each Other Out?
Birth control is taken by millions of American women and many more across the world. Birth control is a convenient and easy way to control one's reproductive cycle and fertility and mitigate some of the effects of menstruation, which can lead to discomfort and pain.
However, many people also take melatonin supplements to help regulate their sleep cycles and help them relax after an exciting day. Yet, anyone who has taken birth control knows how important it is to make sure that additional supplements or medications don't interfere with their primary birth control pill.
Because birth control can also make you somewhat sleepy, some people wonder whether melatonin and birth control cancel each other out. Let's investigate the answer to this question in detail.
Melatonin is a natural hormone your body produces throughout the day to help regulate your sleep-wake cycle (i.e., when and how quickly you become sleepy and how you awaken from sleep).
In a nutshell, your brain’s pineal gland creates melatonin periodically throughout the day. How much melatonin your brain makes is affected by light exposure and time spent in darkness.
Normally, your brain produces more melatonin as the sun goes down and ambient darkness increases. Your body has the most melatonin in the middle of the night, but your brain gradually stops making melatonin as time marches toward dawn.
Melatonin’s chief job is to inhibit wakefulness signals from the brain. Your brain’s natural state is awake, so it needs melatonin to calm down enough to enter deep sleep. As your brain produces less melatonin, your brain gradually rises into a more wakeful state, causing you to wake up from sleep.
In addition to facilitating a sleepy state for your brain, melatonin is a general suppressant and may perform ancillary functions in your body.
While your body may naturally make melatonin on a roughly set schedule, synthetic melatonin supplements can help support healthy sleep.
How Do Melatonin Supplements Work?
Melatonin nighttime sleep aids, which come in capsule, powder, and even vape forms these days, simply provide your body with extra melatonin, which the brain then absorbs. Depending on the melatonin supplement you take, the effects of melatonin could be felt nearly instantaneously or may take some time to kick in.
People often use melatonin supplements to fall asleep more regularly, ensure that they set up a good sleep cycle schedule, recover from jet lag, etc.
But although melatonin supplements may be effective, these supplements can also lead to side effects that may interact with other medications, hormonal pills, and other supplements. Because of this, many women wonder whether melatonin interacts with birth control and whether both solutions may cancel each other out.
Does Melatonin Interact with Birth Control?
Possibly, and it’s all because of the hormones included in technical birth control pills.
Most birth control pills combine progesterone and estrogen. These elements help prevent pregnancy through hormone mixtures, pH adjustments in a woman’s reproductive system, and more. However, both progesterone and estrogen may also help to promote sleep.
Because of this, individuals who take hormonal birth control and melatonin at the same time could experience much more pronounced or dramatic sleepiness effects.
For example, progesterone increases how much slow-wave or deep sleep you experience. It also reduces how long it takes to fall asleep and can lessen the limb movements your body undergoes while you are sleeping.
On the other hand, estrogen can help to support sleep by boosting REM or rapid eye movement sleep efficacy.
When combined with the potentially potent effects of melatonin, individuals taking both solutions may find that they fall asleep even faster than predicted or that they feel groggy or tired when waking up. That being said, there aren't any recorded severe side effects from mixing both medications.
There's no evidence to suggest that melatonin cancels out birth control or vice versa. In fact, it seems to do the exact opposite! Melatonin does not affect the individual's reproductive cycle or fertility, so you don't need to worry about accidentally becoming pregnant if you take a melatonin supplement and birth control at the same time.
Can You Take Melatonin While on Birth Control?
Most likely. However, birth control and its secondary side effects are different for everyone. Because of this, it's recommended that you speak to your doctor before trying any medication or new supplement if you are already on birth control.
Your healthcare professional can examine the ingredients of melatonin supplements and compare them to your birth control prescription ingredients. Then they can determine if there's any risk for negative or severe side effects if you were to mix the two solutions.
They may recommend against taking a melatonin supplement while on birth control since it may make you too sleepy to retain your productivity or energy levels. Melatonin supplements can be great if you just can’t fall asleep or want to enjoy more consistent sleep patterns. But too much melatonin will make you groggy during the day and lower your energy in the morning and evening.
Is it Safe to Mix Melatonin and Birth Control?
Usually, yes. However, as stated above, you should speak to your healthcare professional before taking melatonin and birth control at the same time. You should only start a new melatonin supplement while on birth control if you have your doctor's approval.
The risk of side effects is usually low, but side effects are always a possibility. Furthermore, how you absorb the melatonin can affect your risk for non-related side effects or complications.
For example, melatonin inhaled through a diffuser may be safer since it is absorbed through the lungs rather than through the liver. But more research needs to be done before any firm statements can be determined either way.
Additionally, you may not want to mix melatonin in birth control because you may cause your brain to produce less melatonin over time. Remember, your body naturally produces melatonin to go to sleep. But suppose you start taking melatonin and birth control simultaneously. In that case, your brain may stop naturally producing melatonin, making it more difficult to go to sleep without the assistance of these pills.
Ultimately, there's no evidence to suggest that melatonin and birth control cancel each other out. Instead, it's more likely that birth control and the hormones packaged inside such capsules may increase the sleepiness effects that melatonin is known for.
That being said, be sure to speak to your doctor before trying any birth control or melatonin supplement.
Once you do so, Hope Health’s Melatonin Gummies could be the perfect choice for anyone wanting to fall asleep and, more importantly, stay asleep. Our gentle and effective formula can deliver you into a restful slumber thanks to its powerful cocktail of melatonin and various healthy botanicals. Each gummy comes with a tasty strawberry flavor, too!
Try our Melatonin Gummies today, and don’t hesitate to check out our other wellness supplements!
Melatonin: What You Need To Know | NCCIH
Birth control pills | Medline Plus