Why Does Melatonin Give Me A Headache?

Posted by Ascent Labs on

Why Does Melatonin Give Me A Headache?

Melatonin is a popular sleep aid for many reasons; it has relatively few side effects compared to sleep medication, works well for most people, and has minimal side effects. 

But one of the few side effects people sometimes report after taking melatonin are headaches. We cover a few reasons why that might be. 


What causes headaches?

Headaches can occur for any number of reasons, including stress, fatigue, noise, hunger, or even lack of sleep.

There are generally two kinds of headaches; the first kind called primary headaches have no underlying cause and aren’t a symptom of a greater condition. Secondary headaches are the type caused by another condition, such as a brain injury or inflammation. Most migraines are categorized under primary headaches. 

Lack of sleep can also cause headaches. Headaches that result from sleep deprivation are fairly well-known. A different study found that both lack of sleep or excessive sleep could be a common trigger for migraines


Can melatonin cause headaches?

When used responsibly, melatonin supplementation should rarely cause headaches. Various studies have found that it's difficult to overdose on melatonin- and even then, the results tend to be non-toxic. 

However, it's still possible to feel minor side effects. In some cases when people take too much melatonin, they could experience negative side effects, which could include headaches.

This could also happen if you’re on certain medications, or if your personal tolerance to melatonin is more sensitive than others. If this is the case, speak with a physician first before continuing to take melatonin. 


Side effects of taking too much melatonin

Even though it is difficult to overdose on melatonin, people who are more sensitive to taking melatonin, or are on certain medication, or are in an older age group, or have other health conditions, could experience side effects.

Other side effects of taking too much melatonin are:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or grogginess 
  • Feeling tired in the morning 
  • Elevations or drops in blood pressure 
  • Nightmares 
  • Agitation or mood swings


Some studies note that the negative effects of taking too much melatonin or taking it long-term are not very well-known yet 

If you experience side effects while using melatonin, consult with your physician about continuing use or considering alternative sleep aid options.


Could melatonin actually be good for headaches?

On the flip side of this topic, there’s research that explores the potential therapeutic uses for melatonin for some headache disorders, like migraines.

In many cases, the results show a relationship between pain management and melatonin levels. In some cases, the use of melatonin diminished the frequency and intensity of people’s headaches. One study found that melatonin production was lower in migraine patients, and that administering melatonin was positively correlated to reducing migraine pain and headache recurrence.

Though the research findings are positive, they aren't extensive enough to prove melatonin is a sufficient means on its own to treat headaches or headache disorders. 


Avoid taking more melatonin than you need

The most straightforward way to avoid getting a headache from using melatonin is to use it responsibly. 

The average recommended dose for healthy adults is anywhere between 0.5mg to 10mg. The dose should be adjusted for children, elderly people, and people who have health conditions that might affect their sensitivity to melatonin.

Even if you don't get headaches after using melatonin, you should avoid taking too much melatonin. Some melatonin supplements begin at much smaller doses, starting at 0.2mg. 

We recommend starting with the smallest recommended amount before you increase to a higher dosage.