The Surprising Way Melatonin Can Affect Your Workout

If you've started using melatonin to help yourself fall asleep at night, you may have noticed your workouts the next morning have felt a little different — better, even. That's because while melatonin can be a big help when it comes to getting better sleep, it does impact your body in other ways as well.

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone as well as an over-the-counter supplement, and it regulates our bodies' circadian rhythm, which essentially means it lets your body know when it's time to get to sleep at night (via Verywell Fit).

Melatonin has been shown to speed recovery, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nature (Cells). It protects muscles and bones, and can have a positive impact on your body's ability to recover from tough workouts, from strength training to high intensity interval training. In fact, taking melatonin during training actually improved the body's ability to recover in one recent study (via Muscle and Performance).

Our bodies naturally produce melatonin, and both our natural stores as well as supplementation can also improve your body's ability to burn fat by increasing your metabolism. Some studies have even suggested that melatonin can help improve immune health and gut health while decreasing inflammation (via Verywell Fit).

What else can melatonin do?

Getting quality sleep will also positively benefit your workout, whether you're using melatonin or not. When we sleep, our bodies are able to recover and rebuild from our workouts, and it's during that time that our muscles can effectively reset for our next session. Sleep alone "can help you build new muscle, endurance, and exercise adaptations that will help you excel in your training," Dr. Brendon Ross, a sports medicine doctor, explained to Bustle. Unlike other sleep aids that make you feel groggy, the benefit of melatonin, thanks to its naturally-occurring nature, is that it won't leave you dragging the morning after taking it. 

Now, this doesn't mean that everyone should begin supplementing with melatonin: In the UK, for instance, melatonin isn't even available without a prescription. It's worth speaking to your doctor before adding supplements like this to your regular routine — and Men's Health UK notes that simply snacking on pineapple and banana before bedtime can boost your own melatonin production naturally.