From waking up in the morning to winding down before bedtime, most of us have a rhythm to our daily routine. But if you’re struggling with heart palpitations at night, it can be a sign that something’s not quite right. While there are many potential causes for an irregular heartbeat, one possible explanation is taking too much melatonin – the supplement widely recommended as an aid for restful sleep. In this article, we’ll go into detail about how excessive use of melatonin could lead to heart palpitations, and help you determine whether or not that’s what’s behind your erratic heartbeat.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body and essential to regulating our sleep-wake cycle. It’s available in supplement form, as well, and taken as a way to help promote restful sleep when experiencing difficulty getting enough due to stress or jet lag.
While melatonin has been approved for use by adults and children over the age of two, it can be dangerous when taken in excess.
What does it do in the body?
Melatonin works by binding to melatonin receptors in the cells throughout our body and triggering various physiological responses. It helps reset our internal clock, making us feel tired so we can fall asleep at night and be more alert during the day.
In addition to promoting restful sleep, it also has anti-inflammatory properties, relieves anxiety and helps regulate the immune system.
However, when taken in too high of a dose, it can also cause side effects such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and heart palpitations.
What are the risks associated with taking too much melatonin?
When taken in excessive amounts, melatonin can cause an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. It can also lead to arrhythmia, a type of irregular heartbeat that can cause dizziness, fainting, and chest pain.
In some cases, melatonin has been known to interact with other medications such as blood thinners and antidepressants, which can further increase the risk of developing arrhythmia and other heart-related problems.
How to know if you’re experiencing a side effect from melatonin?
It’s important to be aware of the potential side effects of taking too much melatonin and how they may manifest.
Symptoms of an overdose include heart palpitations, headache, dizziness, nausea, restlessness or agitation. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms after taking melatonin, it’s best to stop taking the supplement and seek medical attention.
It’s also important to note that some people may be more sensitive to the effects of melatonin than others and therefore more prone to its side effects. If you find yourself experiencing side effects after taking melatonin, it’s best to speak with your doctor about the recommended dosage for you.
What to do if you experience heart palpitations after taking melatonin?
If you’re experiencing heart palpitations after taking melatonin, it’s important to take the following steps:
1. Stop taking melatonin and speak with your doctor about the appropriate dosage for you or alternative treatments for better sleep.
2. Monitor your heart rate and any other symptoms such as dizziness or chest pain.
3. Contact your doctor or seek medical attention if the palpitations become more frequent or intense.
4. Consider changing any other medications you are taking, as melatonin can interact with some drugs and cause further complications.
5. Avoid activities that may put a strain on your heart, such as heavy exercise or sports until your palpitations have subsided.
6. Talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes that may support better sleep quality and help manage stress, such as regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Alternatives to taking melatonin for better sleep:
If you are experiencing heart palpitations after taking melatonin, it may be time to look for other natural alternatives that can help promote better sleep.
1. Exercise: Regular physical activity during the day helps reduce stress and regulate your body’s internal clock, making it easier to relax come bedtime. However, avoid exercising too close to your bedtime as it can be stimulating and keep you awake.
2. Avoid Stimulants: Caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, and certain medications can all have a negative effect on your sleep pattern. Try to limit or avoid these substances in the evenings for better sleep quality.
3. Reduce Stress: Stress can interfere with sleep in many ways, from racing thoughts to muscle tension. To reduce stress and promote better sleep, try incorporating relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, and meditation into your routine.
4. Set a Bedtime Routine: Try to keep the same bedtime and wake-up time every day – even on the weekends. As part of your routine, avoid screens and other blue light-emitting devices at least an hour before bedtime to help your body relax.
5. Get Enough Sunlight: Exposure to sunlight helps regulate your circadian rhythm which influences when you feel sleepy or alert throughout the day. Try to spend some time outside in the morning to get your day off to a good start.
Melatonin can be an effective way to improve sleep quality, but it is important to know the potential side effects and keep track of your dosage. If you are experiencing heart palpitations after taking melatonin, stop taking the supplement and speak with your doctor about alternative treatments and lifestyle changes that may support better sleep. With the right routine and mindset, you can get back to achieving a good night’s rest.