The Real Reason Melatonin Can Make You Have Strange Dreams

If you've been frustrated tossing and turning all night long trying to get a good night of sleep, you're not alone. Between 10% and 30% of adults experience chronic insomnia (via Sleep Foundation). To battle sleepless nights, one of the most common dietary supplements used by adults and children is melatonin.

Melatonin is a natural hormone that prompts us to sleep by regulating the circadian rhythm. While there have been successes reported by adults and children using melatonin as a sleep aid, there are some interesting side effects. Some have reported strange dreams or nightmares after taking melatonin.

But why would melatonin cause nightmares? Sleep experts say it could be due to melatonin increasing your rapid eye movement (REM) cycle, which is the cycle where you are most likely to have vivid dreams (via Bustle). Adults spend an average amount of 20% to 25% of their sleep in the REM cycle, according to the Sleep Foundation.

How melatonin can affect your sleep cycles

Some researchers say it could be the link between melatonin and vasotocin, which occurs during the REM cycle of your sleep (via Healthline). Melatonin may have an effect on the amount of vasotocin that gets into your body, therefore affecting how deeply you sleep and your dreaming.

There is no definitive research that provides a direct cause of why melatonin may spark more nightmares or vivid dreams in some people. It is also important to note that melatonin is technically a dietary supplement, meaning it is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to Bustle. Experts recommend monitoring your dosage by starting out low, or finding the brands that include "verified doses."

While melatonin can prove to be helpful, developing and maintaining healthy sleep habits is also recommended. You can improve your sleep routine and environment, like your bedding or mattress, for better long-term sleep solutions. You may also want to consult with a doctor if you experience side effects to melatonin and to rule out possible sleep disorders.