The Betterment Project
Does Melatonin Work For Anxiety?

Does Melatonin Work For Anxiety?

Our bodies produce the hormone melatonin naturally. Melatonin is also available as an over-the-counter supplement. The melatonin our body produces is increased at night when it is time for our bodies to sleep. 


A natural conclusion about over-the-counter melatonin would be that it is beneficial for helping us fall asleep. Another time we also need our bodies to calm down is when we have feelings of anxiety. So, does melatonin work for anxiety?


What is melatonin? What is anxiety? What are the symptoms of anxiety? What’s causing your anxiety? Can melatonin play a role in coping with anxious feelings or easing your fatigue? And, what are some other techniques you can use to cope? 


Melatonin


Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland. This tiny gland is part of the endocrine system. The pineal gland converts serotonin into melatonin to help regulate the body’s circadian rhythms and sleep cycle. 


Darkness prompts the body to begin producing melatonin. Sunlight tells the body to slow down the production of melatonin to allow in wakeful hours. There are a few common factors that can decrease the body’s production of melatonin, such as:


  • Aging
  • Changes in vision
  • Excessive blue light exposure

Because the body relies on light and darkness to regulate its circadian rhythms, changes in vision and aging can make it more difficult for the brain to perceive times of dark and light as effectively. In contrast, using screens late into the evening or for prolonged periods of time can allow too much of the blue light waves that signal to your brain that it’s time to be awake and therefore cause the production of melatonin to be limited.


Since over-the-counter melatonin supplements can help signal to your brain that it’s time for sleep, they are a popular supplement for people who struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. People who do shift work also turn to this supplement to help them sleep when they need to sleep, instead of when their brains would naturally tell them to sleep.


Lastly, melatonin is used when people are trying to avoid the effects of jet lag. Jet lag occurs when our body’s natural circadian rhythms are out of sync with the time zone we are visiting or when we return to our normal time zone. Jet lag can affect our moods and concentration levels. While the effects are temporary, some travelers turn to melatonin for help. 


Anxiety


Feeling anxious, worrying, and experiencing fear are natural feelings that everyone experiences from time to time. These feelings can be a perfectly natural response to certain situations. Some examples of normal causes for these feelings include:


  • A job interview
  • Concern about the ability to pay a bill on time
  • Being disciplined 
  • Major surgery for you or a loved one
  • The closing process on a new home
  • Moving
  • Planning a wedding
  • Expecting a baby
  • Caring for someone who is ill

Our brains respond to these stressful situations and others like them, whether the events are good or bad, by releasing hormones to help our bodies prepare to face the situation. This response goes back to when humans needed to respond to stress effectively to survive. While we rarely experience survival situations, we still respond to stress the same way.


One cause for anxious feelings can be a lack of good quality sleep. Inadequate rest is its own form of stress, and like other stressors, our bodies react accordingly. Is it anxiousness for you or fatigue?


Occasionally, our bodies react to a threat or a danger that isn’t real. Additionally, our bodies may continue to react to stressors even after they are gone. These reactions are known as anxiety, but what does anxiety do to you?


Symptoms of Anxiety


Anxiety manifests itself in physical, mental, and emotional reactions to stress. So much of what we experience from our anxious feelings can mimic other issues like sleep deprivation. Some of the common symptoms of anxiety to look for include: 


  • Restlessness
  • Feeling tense
  • Feelings of panic or dread
  • Increased heart rate
  • A quickening of the breath
  • Increased perspiration
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Digestive problems
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

Dealing with anxiety symptoms can cause you to worry more, and you can find yourself in an inescapable loop of feeling anxious. So, what can you do to break the cycle and feel calm again?


Melatonin and Anxiety: A Good Match?


Further research is needed to find the right dosage of melatonin to help uncover the right dosage for helping to alleviate the discomfort of anxious feelings. Usually, about three milligrams are taken, like the dose found in Complete Calm Sleep Gummies, just before bed to calm the mind, turn off the anxious feelings, and prepare the body for rest.


A supplement like Complete Calm Sleep Gummies that’s specially formulated with other key ingredients that will help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and naturally boost your mood and help you focus your thoughts can help you support your emotional wellness. 


Alone, melatonin may not be enough to bring you comfort. Even if it supports you before bed, you may need to find daytime solutions when you feel anxious or tense. There are some other techniques you can include in your daily life that will make handling your tense feelings easier. 


Other Soothing Remedies for Anxiety


Taking a
melatonin supplement is just one thing you may boost your mood and calm your racing thoughts. Here are some other techniques you may want to try:


  • Daily exercise
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Journaling
  • Limiting caffeine
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Spending time with your pets
  • Talking with a friend
  • Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule

If your feelings of anxiety are negatively impacting your daily life or reaching levels that you find hard to deal with on your own, you may want to speak to your physician. In the interim, don’t give up on trying to bring peace to your day and your mind.


Learning to identify your stressors may help you find ways to reduce your stress and the anxiety associated with it. Are there things you can let go of? Or are there other ways to minimize the effects of the stress you can’t avoid?


There are many causes of stress and anxiety. There are just as many symptoms, it would seem. Dealing with them all can require a multi-step approach to soothing your discomfort.


Summary


Using melatonin for improving your sleep and helping you fall asleep is a popular use for this over-the-counter supplement. Because this hormone effectively induces the sleepy, calm feelings associated with the night cycle of our circadian rhythms, many suspect that melatonin can help with the uncomfortable feelings that come from anxiety. Part of this relationship could be due in part to
improved sleep of melatonin users. 


Finding what works for you may require approaching your feelings from more than one front. Melatonin may help you relax at night and get a better night’s rest, but it may be necessary to add other techniques during the day, such as meditation or yoga.




Sources:

Effects of blue light on the circadian system and eye physiology | ncbi.nlm.nih.gov 

Jet Lag | Travelers' Health | cdc.gov 

Fatigue symptoms in relation to neuroticism, anxiety-depression, and musculoskeletal pain. A longitudinal twin study | ncbi.nlm.nih.gov 


Meet our Experts

This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.

  • Dr. Jay Cowin, Nutrition Expert

    Founder of Functional U, a Nutrition, Performance & Optimal Health practice.

  • Dominick Gauthier, Performance Expert

    Former Olympic Athlete, Founder, B2ten Foundation (coach to multiple Olympic Champions)