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Does melatonin help with anxiety

Does melatonin help with anxiety?

Melatonin is a hormone which your body produces to help regulate your sleep.1

Anxiety, on the other hand, is strong unease about a future event, or a situation that is uncertain.

Sometimes, it is accompanied with compulsive behaviour or panic attacks.

Given that, melatonin will not directly impact anxiety, but your ability to sleep well is a huge factor in how strong your anxiety is, or how prone you may be to it.

Anxiety can negatively affect your sleep, then bad sleep can impact your anxiety, in an irritating viscous cycle.

You can therefore take synthetic melatonin in order to get better, regular sleep.2

Causes and symptoms of anxiety

We all feel anxious now and then. You may feel worried before an exam or a job interview, for example.

However, sometimes the anxiety is constant and impacts how you get through your day.

Anxiety can also be a symptom of phobias, PTSD, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.3

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a long-term condition, where you feel anxious in a wide range of situations, rather than just as a result of a specific event.

People with GAD may struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed, and can have trouble concentrating or sleeping, and experience heart palpitations. 4 The causes of GAD are complex and vary with each person. They are also not fully understood. Sometimes people develop GAD for no clear reason. The following factors may play a role, however; over activity in the parts of the brain related to emotions and behaviour, an imbalance of serotonin and noradrenaline – the brain chemicals which regulate mood, and genes (you are five times more likely to develop GAD if you have a close relative with the condition).5 A history of traumatic or stressful experiences, such as domestic violence or bullying could also be a factor, as well as some long-term health conditions, or a history of excessive and ongoing drug or alcohol consumption.6

Taking vitamins and supplements to help ease anxiety

To help with anxiety you can talk to someone (a friend, health professional, or counsellor), and also try calming breathing exercises. Exercise and a healthy diet, as well as sufficient sleep, tend to help keep your energy levels stable and help you relax.7

There are also some supplements and vitamins that may relieve some of the symptoms that accompany your anxiety.

Vitamin D, for example, is important in mood regulation as well as brain health. Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Fatty fish like salmon also contain some. This means that in the long winter nights, for example, you may not be getting enough vitamin D, and that can in turn contribute to depression or anxiety.8

The vitamin Bs are a group of eight nutrients that work together to manage various processes in your body, including stress levels.

Magnesium is important for the good functioning of most bodily systems, and it could play a role in relieving anxiety levels.9 Omega-3 fatty acids, which you can find in fish and flaxseed, are important for brain health. Supplements such as fish oil could be helpful in preventing or relieving depression and anxiety.10 Valerian root can be used for short periods and is sometimes used by people with anxiety. The chamomile flower or chamomile supplements can also help to calm in the short term, and may see a reduction in GAD symptoms in the long term. People also find the scent of lavender relaxing, and lemon balm is also used as a calming remedy for people with anxiety or for people with sleep issues.11

How melatonin can help with anxiety

Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland in your bran, to control your sleep patterns.

Your body produces more melatonin when it is dark, and it helps you fall asleep, then stay that way.

A single sleepless night could make you grumpy and unenergetic the next day.

Chronic sleep debt though, can lead to long term mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.12

In addition to helping reduce anxiety symptoms through getting a good night’s sleep, there are studies that suggest that melatonin can increase the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your brain.

Last updated: 4 November 2020

Sources
  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/melatonin-for-anxiety
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/melatonin-for-anxiety
  3. https://www.nwbh.nhs.uk/anxiety
  4. https://www.nwbh.nhs.uk/anxiety
  5. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/generalised-anxiety-disorder/
  6. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/generalised-anxiety-disorder/
  7. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/understanding-panic/
  8. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325823
  9. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325823
  10. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325823
  11. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325823
  12. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/why-lack-of-sleep-is-bad-for-your-health/