Melatonin supplements may work wonders by making it easier to fall asleep or helping you stay asleep throughout the night. These helpful supplements come in capsules, tablets, and even chewable gummies. Even better, many of the best melatonin supplements are made with quality ingredients and botanicals.
However, you might take a melatonin supplement and be surprised by a strange and potentially linked side effect: oddly vivid or weird dreams. Other individuals experience higher than average dream frequency once they start taking melatonin supplements for the first time.
In this guide, we’ll break down three reasons why you might be having weird dreams after starting a melatonin supplement.
Melatonin’s Effects On REM Sleep
Let’s explore why melatonin might affect your dreams overall.
In a regular sleep cycle, you’ll experience rapid eye movement or REM sleep. This type of sleep is characterized by rapid eye movements or fluttering of your eyelids. It’s also when you are most likely to dream.
Normally, the REM part of a standard sleep cycle (90 minutes from start to finish) should only last for between 15 minutes to a half-hour. During a sleep cycle, most of your time is spent during deeper sleep as your brain regenerates from wear and tear and processes the memories it acquired during the day.
However, there’s some evidence to suggest that melatonin may extend REM sleep in a standard sleep cycle. In doing this, melatonin may cause you to both have more dreams and cause your dreams to last longer than usual.
If you wake up in the middle of a REM cycle, you might come out of it thinking that your last dream was particularly odd… but it might just be because you dreamed for longer than usual!
More Dream Opportunities With Melatonin
Additionally, melatonin may inadvertently lead to stranger dreams because it may simply allow you more opportunities to dream in the first place.
Think about it; melatonin helps you sleep longer than you normally would in many cases. By allowing you to get more sleep, you also have more time to dream. More time to dream necessarily means that the odds of experiencing a weird dream from time to time go up.
But even with these potential effects, melatonin doesn’t last very long. Upon ingesting a melatonin supplement, for example, your body will absorb the hormone within 20 minutes or so. Your brain burns through melatonin rapidly, so it’s unlikely that melatonin supplements have long-lasting effects, especially as your sleep cycles continue.
In summary, there isn’t any evidence that melatonin directly causes you to experience strange dreams. But because melatonin helps you sleep more and because it may extend your REM sleep, your brain might simply have the opportunity for stranger dreams more frequently than it would normally.
The Opposite Might Actually Occur
On top of all that, some studies have indicated that melatonin might actually do the opposite – it might make vivid dreams or hallucinations less likely at night. Why?
In short, melatonin typically releases a substance called vasotocin during REM sleep. This compound helps your brain erase the memories it creates while you are dreaming. Because of vasotocin, you don’t remember the majority of dreams you experience during a full night’s rest.
If you adjust the melatonin levels in your system, you might also change how much vasotocin is released. In this way, you might not remember dreaming at all (even if you actually did).
Of course, this outcome isn't exactly likely, and there isn’t much literature on the subject. So there's no way to know whether you'll experience more or just stranger dreams when you take a melatonin supplement or if you will paradoxically feel like you dreamed less frequently than usual.
Does Melatonin Make You Have Nightmares?
Some folks have difficulty sleeping because they experience recurring nightmares or night terrors. Naturally, you’ll want to know whether melatonin gummies or other nighttime sleep aids could exacerbate your nightmares.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much research looking into how melatonin might affect how often you experience nightmares or how intense those dreams might be.
For now, it doesn’t look like melatonin causes you to have nightmares. However, if you are already prone to nightmarish dreams and take a melatonin supplement, giving your brain more opportunities to dream might also increase how many nightmares you experience.
Why Does Melatonin Have These Effects?
There's still a lot of science that needs to be done before we can say with certainty that melatonin affects dreaming, significantly increasing dreaming frequency or vividness. But there’s one likely culprit behind any (possible) effects.
As mentioned earlier, vasotocin release levels likely play a significant role in how often you dream and how much of your dreams you remember upon waking up.
Since melatonin is responsible for releasing vasotocin in your brain, saturating your brain with extra melatonin could lower or increase the levels of vasotocin in your brain and bloodstream.
This may, in turn, affect dream frequency and vividness.
Should You Keep Taking Melatonin if You Have Weird Dreams?
It’s tough to say – if you experience recurring nightmares or night terrors after starting a melatonin supplement, you should obviously stop taking the supplement right away, especially if you didn’t have problems with minors beforehand.
However, if you just experience weird or strangely vivid dreams, this isn’t necessarily a negative side effect. It might be that you haven’t got a lot of high-quality rest in the last few months or years, and your brain is now playing catch-up. Your brain might make up strange or vivid dreams to compensate.
If you are ever unsure, you may contact your doctor and ask them for an official medical opinion. Melatonin supplements haven’t yet been linked to many long-term dream issues or conditions, so the odds are that even if you do experience vivid dreams on a melatonin gummy, those dreams should cease after a little while.
In the end, melatonin probably doesn’t negatively affect dreaming or your ability to dream. But it may cause you to dream more frequently or more intensely just because it helps you sleep more deeply and for more time than you would normally. It’s likely because extra melatonin causes your brain to release more vasotocin, related to the dreaming process.
If you’re having trouble with a specific type of melatonin supplement, remember multiple types available.
For instance, Hope Health offers Melatonin Gummies. These fast-acting, strawberry-flavored gummies are packed with 5 mg of melatonin each, plus a variety of helpful botanicals expertly next to ensure that you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Plus, our gummies are easy to chew and swallow.
Alternatively, you can check out our online store and explore our other supplementary solutions. We offer a wealth of knowledge for wellness, health-boosting supplements, and more.