Once you have reached a certain level of exhaustion, you are doing almost too good sleep. You can try meditating or settling with a hot shower or even popping a supplement. But if you often find yourself kicking back with a glass of wine in the evening, you might want to consider it – especially before mixing it with a sleeping aid like melatonin.
While there seems to be some disagreement about how dangerous alcohol and melatonin are in combination, it is best to mistake the page with caution. “You have to choose one or the other, even in small doses,” said Jessica Nouhavandi, PharmD, chief pharmacist and co-founder of the accredited online pharmacy Honeybee Health, POPSUGAR. “Alcohol can improve all possible side effects from melatonin.” Dr. Nouhavandi explained that mixing the two could increase your risk of falling, passing out or having difficulty breathing among other potentially harmful results.
And that’s not the only reason to avoid drinking a glass of wine or cocktail in the hours before bedtime. Presumably, if you take a supplement like melatonin, it’s because you’re struggling to get enough sleep – and despite popular belief, a nightcap is unlikely to help your case.
“Alcohol can certainly help people fall asleep at the beginning of the night, but during the night, when metabolized, alcohol tends to destabilize sleep and create more awakenings in the middle of the night,” Adam Sorscher, MD , the sleep health director at Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital in Lebanon, NH, told POPSUGAR. “It can also contribute to sleep apnea and loud snoring. Therefore, the net effect of alcohol is usually negative.”
The bottom line? Experts do not recommend drinking alcohol in an attempt to get more restful sleep. And while melatonin may be helpful to some, it is important that you talk to your doctor if you have trouble falling or staying asleep. They can help you get to the bottom of your sleep problems and find the safest and most effective solution.