- 1 What is melatonin?
- 2 Does melatonin break a fast?
- 3 Do melatonin gummies break a fast?
- 4 Benefits of taking melatonin while fasting
- 5 Insomnia and intermittent fasting: How do they interact?
- 6 Types of melatonin supplements
- 7 How much melatonin should I take?
- 8 Who should not use melatonin supplements?
- 9 Melatonin-rich foods
- 10 To sum up
- 11 Lose weight with fasting
Last Updated on February 14, 2024
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Melatonin, a hormone produced naturally in the body, plays a crucial role in regulating our sleep-wake cycles. People who have a hard time falling asleep at night usually head towards melatonin supplements. But what if you’re practicing intermittent fasting, and also considering taking melatonin while fasting? Does melatonin break a fast?
Let’s discover if melatonin will break your fast, the types of melatonin supplements available, and melatonin-rich foods to help you sleep better.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy at night and regulates your sleep and wake cycle, called the circadian rhythm. It is produced by the pineal gland in the brain in response to darkness and can also be found in some foods.
Melatonin is also an antioxidant, and it may have other health benefits, such as protecting against cancer and heart disease. However, more research is needed to confirm these benefits.
Does melatonin break a fast?
Like most supplements, it’s OK to take melatonin during intermittent fasting. However, the lack of food may make absorption more difficult so it may be better to take melatonin on a full stomach, two hours before your bedtime.
Plus, you should be cautious about the form of your melatonin supplement if you intend to take your melatonin supplement while fasting. While the tablet form of melatonin will not break your fast, melatonin gummies will break your fast as they usually contain sweeteners or sugary flavors.
Do melatonin gummies break a fast?
Whether melatonin gummies break a fast depends on your specific fasting goals and the ingredients in the gummies:
- Melatonin itself contains few, if any, calories or macronutrients like carbs or protein. Studies suggest even small amounts don’t trigger significant insulin responses.
- So, purely based on caloric intake, melatonin gummies likely wouldn’t break a fast focused on calorie restriction.
But, consider these factors:
- Sugars and sweeteners: Many melatonin gummies contain sugars like glucose or fructose, which can trigger an insulin response and break your fast, depending on your fasting goals. Opt for sugar-free gummies if avoiding insulin spikes is crucial.
- Artificial sweeteners: Though not raising insulin, some artificial sweeteners may affect gut bacteria or appetite hormones, potentially impacting the benefits of fasting depending on your goals.
- Other ingredients: Some gummies contain additional ingredients like gelatin, oils, or flavorings that may provide minimal calories or affect your digestive system, potentially impacting different types of fasts.
- If your fast focuses solely on calorie restriction, sugar-free melatonin gummies might be an option.
- But, if your fast emphasizes metabolic or hormonal benefits, even sugar-free gummies with other ingredients might not be ideal.
- Ultimately, it’s best to consult your doctor or a qualified nutritionist to understand how melatonin gummies would interact with your specific fasting goals and overall health.
Benefits of taking melatonin while fasting
Melatonin supplements are used for treating circadian rhythm-related sleep disorders. They are safe for short-term use and the benefits of melatonin include treating the cases below:
- Insomnia: Melatonin is often used to treat insomnia, a condition that makes it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
- Jet lag: Melatonin can help to reduce the symptoms of jet lag, which is a disruption of the circadian rhythm caused by traveling across time zones.
- Shift work disorder: Melatonin can help people who work night shifts to sleep better during the day.
- Circadian rhythm sleep disorders in the blind: For blind people lacking light cues, melatonin acts as a “reset button” for their sleep cycle, improving drowsiness, and sleep quality.
- Delayed sleep-wake phase sleep disorder: Melatonin mimics your natural evening rise, gradually pulling your bedtime earlier by promoting drowsiness, cooling your body, and quieting wakefulness hormones.
Some other conditions that melatonin may be used for include:
- Restless legs syndrome
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Note that melatonin is not the only cure for any of these conditions. It is also important to talk to your doctor before taking melatonin, as it can interact with some medications.
Insomnia and intermittent fasting: How do they interact?
The relationship between intermittent fasting (IF) and sleep is complex with research offering mixed results.
Potential benefits of intermittent fasting on sleep are:
- Improved sleep quality: Some studies suggest IF can enhance sleep quality by regulating circadian rhythms and reducing sleep disturbances like apnea.
- Reduced melatonin suppression: Fasting during the evening may prevent food-induced melatonin suppression, leading to easier falling asleep.
- Decreased anxiety and stress: IF may indirectly improve sleep by reducing stress and anxiety, which can disrupt sleep.
Potential drawbacks of intermittent fasting on sleep are:
- Insomnia: Some people, especially those new to IF, may experience initial insomnia due to hunger pangs or changes in their sleep schedule.
- Dehydration: Dehydration -a potential side effect of intermittent fasting if you don’t track your water intake- can worsen sleep quality.
- Timing matters: The timing of your eating window may impact sleep. Eating too close to bedtime can disrupt sleep, while fasting for long periods before sleep can lead to hunger and difficulty falling asleep.
Types of melatonin supplements
There are two types of melatonin supplements.
1. Synthetic: Made through chemical synthesis or fermentation.
2. Natural: Usually made from the pineal glands of animals such as cows. There are plant-based melatonin options on the market, too.
The type you choose will depend on your personal and dietary preferences.
How much melatonin should I take?
Melatonin is considered a dietary supplement by the FDA, so there is no official regulation for the recommended melatonin dosage for adults.
Generally, 0.5–5 mg/day of melatonin supplement is considered safe and effective.
If you’ve never taken a melatonin supplement before, starting with 1 mg/day and slowly increasing the dosage if required may be a good method. But it would be wise to consult a doctor before deciding on the best dosage for you.
Who should not use melatonin supplements?
If you’re facing sleep-related problems but don’t want to or can’t take tablets, here’s the good news: foods rich in melatonin can also help you sleep better.
You can have more of these melatonin-rich foods during your eating window to increase your melatonin level naturally:
- Tart cherries
- Goji berries
- Fatty fish
Note that it’s only OK to consume these foods during your eating window. If eaten during your fasting period, they will break your fast.
Note that intermittent fasting on its own can also assist in regulating your circadian rhythm, which in turn promotes the production of melatonin in your body. If you’re looking for a fasting plan to follow, consider getting Fasting Kompanion.
To sum up
Supplements containing melatonin work differently than sleeping pills and can be used safely as a sleep aid to promote restful sleep. Nevertheless, treat a melatonin supplement as you would any sleeping pill and use it under your doctor’s supervision.
If you’re doing intermittent fasting and would like to take melatonin supplements, taking it 2 hours before bedtime on a full stomach is best for absorption. If you’re taking it in the gummy form, it’ll most likely break your fast because of the added sweeteners and/or flavors in it.