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How does Melatonin affect your dreams?

The pineal gland in your brain is where you make melatonin. Melatonin, a hormone, is responsible for the “sleepy feeling”. Our body typically produces small amounts melatonin as the sun sets to tell our bodies that it is time to sleep. This is part of the circadian cycle.

Melatonin can be produced naturally by the body but some people still struggle to sleep. Travel, stress, anxiety and other factors can affect your circadian rhythm, which in turn, will disrupt melatonin. Melatonin is often used by people who have trouble sleeping.

Melatonin and SleepThe human body naturally produces melatonin, therefore research has not been conclusive on whether or not someone needs to take melatonin supplements. Melatonin is widely available, so many people take them to improve their sleep.


There is some interesting research that shows the link between melatonin and sleep.

Melatonin, Sleep Hallucinations and
Sleep paralysis is sometimes called hallucinations that occur in sleep. The person may feel like they are awake, but they often hear and see things that aren’t there. These hallucinations can be distressing.

In a study from 2018, those who had sleep hallucinations received melatonin. Researchers found that giving the patients a 5mg melatonin supplement immediately resolved their symptoms.

Melatonin and Memory Processing
A study from 1987 may explain why some people have vivid dreams when they take melatonin. Researchers found that melatonin released a substance known as vasotocin during rapid eye movements (also called REM sleep). Vasotocin is a substance that helps your brain erase and process recent memories while you sleep.

REM is the stage of sleep where your dreams are the most vivid. By increasing the amount of vasotocin within the brain, you can prolong the REM phase of sleep by taking more melatonin. More vivid and intense dreams are associated with longer periods of REM sleep.

Final Thoughts
There is some interesting research about the effects of melatonin on sleep and brain function. Melatonin has been shown to alter sleep patterns and therefore change dreams in the studies that are available.



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