What Is Melatonin | Does Melatonin Break a Fast | Do Melatonin Gummies Break a Fast | Benefits of Melatonin | Melatonin Side Effects | How to Use Melatonin | Who Should Not Use Melatonin Supplements | Melatonin Rich Foods
Most people take dietary supplements to keep themselves healthy during intermittent fasting. By this, they ensure themselves of having enough nutrients which can improve their different areas like sleep and energy levels.
Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body and plays an important role in stimulating our sleep-wake cycles. However, melatonin is now available in supplements and has gained immense popularity in people who do fasting as it can improve overall sleep quality, and ensure an easy and restful sleep throughout the night.
But can you take melatonin supplements while intermittent fasting? Does melatonin break a fast? Well, this article will try to find out the answers to these questions and explore more about the multifaceted functions of melatonin.
What Is Melatonin And How Does It Help With Insomnia?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by your body naturally. It is responsible for the sleep-wake cycles and the body’s biological clock known as the circadian rhythm.
While your body naturally produces the hormone melatonin, some people prefer melatonin supplements to alleviate certain sleep disorders like insomnia and irregular sleeping patterns. Taking these supplements may also help people relieve the symptoms of shift work and jet lag.
Melatonin is specifically required by people who practice intermittent fasting as it can cause various sleeping disorders. Let’s find out how intermittent fasting can trouble people with sleeping issues.
Insomnia and Intermittent Fasting
People follow time-restricted eating with the intent to retune their circadian rhythm and to get a restful sleep. However, this approach may not work as efficiently for everyone, specifically during the initial days of fasting when your body starts to adapt to this new schedule. As a result, you may have to face the following consequences.
- Your natural melatonin levels may drop and you may encounter insomnia and other general sleep problems.
- Limiting calories may increase your stress hormone (cortisol) levels which may make you anxious and remain awake the whole night. This can result in sleep deprivation.
- Fasting can fluctuate your body temperature, mood, and digestion, which may also lead to sleep disruption.
However, whether you are fasting or not fasting, melatonin supplements can help you get a good sleep cycle. For example, despite not being approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), synthetic melatonin is considered the first line of treatment for insomnia by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) because it is relatively safe with a low risk of side effects.
Does Melatonin Break a Fast?
When you consume any amount of calories during your fasting window, it technically breaks your fast since calories initiate insulin response. But there are some products also which do not break your fast because they do not have any calories. For example, any calorie-free beverages, black coffee, and tea without cream and sugar.
Accordingly, some supplements break your fast as they contain some calorific value. However, melatonin has no caloric value as it does not contain any fat, carbs, or proteins. Hence, it does not trigger any insulin response. This clearly means you can take melatonin while fasting as it does not break a fast.
Do Melatonin Gummies Break a Fast?
After knowing that melatonin supplements do not affect fasting, now you must be pondering – do melatonin gummies break a fast?
These are a type of melatonin supplement that is formed into soft, chewable gummies. However, melatonin gummies contain sugar, artificial flavors, and other artificial sweeteners to upgrade the taste. Since these gummies contain calories, consuming them can trigger your insulin response and will break your fast.
However, some brands offer sugar-free melatonin gummies. But before consuming them you should always read the label carefully to ensure that they contain all the safe ingredients and do not use any added sugar.
If you want to incorporate melatonin supplements into your regime while intermittent fasting, it is recommended to stick to melatonin pills instead of melatonin gummies.
Benefits of Melatonin Supplements While Fasting
Taking melatonin supplements can be beneficial to your overall health and well-being especially when you are fasting.
Enhances Sleep Quality
Studies suggest that melatonin can improve your sleep quality, help you relax, and allow you to have a restful sleep. It can address circadian rhythm disorders in people having insomnia. Even taking a small dose before bedtime can stimulate good sleep in patients having delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSWPD).
Having enough sleep is vital for maintaining energy levels in the body particularly when you are intermittent fasting.
Helps you Feel Invigorated
When your body is deprived of food for a long period, it is normal to feel tired and slothful, especially during the initial days of your intermittent fasting. Taking melatonin supplements can help with good quality of sleep and maintain your energy levels during fasting windows. Besides, it can also boost your metabolism, regulate hunger pangs by reducing ghrelin, and regulate body weight.
Reduces Symptoms of Seasonal Depression
Sunlight plays a crucial role in producing melatonin and the circadian cycle. Hence, when there is a variation in light due to changes in seasons, it significantly affects sleep quality, often resulting in SAD (seasonal affective disorder) or seasonal depression.
Since melatonin helps regulate the internal clock, it can also reduce the symptoms of seasonal depression.
It May Help Treat GERD (Gastro Intestinal Reflux Disease)
According to research, melatonin helps in treating gastrointestinal reflux disease by preventing the formation of acute gastric injury and accelerating the healing of chronic ulcers. It also maintains esophageal mucosal integrity by inhibiting gastric acid secretion.
Since GERD is known to have a close association with sleep disturbance, improved melatonin can help alleviate sleeping issues by boosting the quality of sleep. It is thus helpful in treating symptoms of GERD.
Does Melatonin Supplements Cause Any Side Effects?
Although melatonin supplement is well tolerated, it may still cause some side effects like any other synthetic supplement. Some common side effects of melatonin supplements include:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Nightmares or vivid dreams
When you are not sure about how melatonin will affect you, we recommend you consult your healthcare provider and seek medical supervision before trying out this supplement.
How to Use Melatonin?
It is essential to take melatonin in proper dosage to avoid the risk of side effects. Following are some tips to use melatonin in the correct way to get the best results.
Timing: It is recommended to take melatonin supplements up to two hours before bedtime to get a good quality sleep. Ensure avoiding screens and engage in other relaxing activities after taking your melatonin pills.
Consume melatonin on an empty stomach: When taken on an empty stomach this supplement gets absorbed more effectively. However, if you encounter any side effects such as stomach cramps or discomfort, put a heating pad on your stomach to get relief.
Dosage: Melatonin pills are available over the counter in 0.1 to 10 mg doses and higher. Though the FDA does not regulate melatonin as a drug, a healthy adult can consume melatonin doses between 0.5 to 5 mg per day for effective results. The correct dosage always varies from person to person. Hence, it is recommended to always consult your doctor and follow the instructions on the package before using melatonin pills.
Who Should Not Use Melatonin Supplements?
You should not use melatonin supplements if you:
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
- have autoimmune disorder
- have depression
- have diabetes
- have hypertension
- have had an allergic reaction to melatonin in the past
- have a bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia
- have dementia and depression
- have a seizure disorder
- Taking other drugs that cause drowsiness
Melatonin Rich Foods
If you don’t want to take synthetic melatonin supplements and want to increase your melatonin levels naturally, here are some melatonin-rich foods that can make you sleep better.
- Goji berries
- Tart cherries
- Fatty fish
There is no harm in consuming these foods during your eating window however, if you eat them during your fasting period, they will break your fast.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do melatonin gummies break a fast?
Yes, because melatonin gummies contain sugar, artificial flavors, and other artificial sweeteners to enhance the taste and have calorific value. Consuming anything that contains calories can trigger your insulin response and will break your fast.
Can you take melatonin on an empty stomach?
Melatonin is best absorbed when taken on an empty stomach. Hence, it is recommended to take melatonin supplements two hours before bedtime to get a good quality sleep.
Can I take melatonin while fasting?
It is okay to take melatonin supplements while fasting because it has no caloric value as it does not contain any fat, carb, or proteins. Hence, it does not trigger any insulin response.
The Final Words
Melatonin supplements can be used safely rather than using sleeping pills to promote a night of good quality sleep. However, using this supplement under a doctor’s supervision is always recommended.
Taking melatonin pills does not break a fast as they do not have calories that can trigger an insulin response. Hence, you can take this supplement while intermittent fasting and continue to reap the benefits of it such as weight loss.
However, consuming melatonin in a gummy or liquid form can break your fast as it does contain calories. So to get the optimum benefits, opt for melatonin pills only.