According to Catherine Darley, ND of The Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine, Inc., some studies have shown that by affecting circadian rhythms, melatonin increases REM sleep, which is associated with the most sleep phase associated with dreaming. For example, Darley tells MBG that the body’s natural reserves of hormones could potentially create a “big change in our dream experience” by stimulating more vivid dreams.
That being said, the jury is still out on whether taking melatonin supplements makes you dream crazy. According to Darley, there is not hard enough research to suggest that taking melatonin can cause one to have more strange dreams than usual.
However, if you take melatonin to get back on track after suboptimal sleep, Medina tells MBG that it is possible to have some weird dreams when you start getting more sleep at night. It is also possible that someone taking melatonin will experience strange dreams because melatonin can cause extra activity in different parts of the brain.
“The brain contains melatonin receptors in areas such as the cortex, thalamus, substantia nigra, nucleus accumbens, amygdala, hippocampus, cerebellum and your eyes,” Medina explained. “These are areas that involve learning, memory, processing of horror events and stimuli, stress relationships and cognitive functioning. So, when melatonin is ingested more than the body is accustomed to, it is not surprising why these regions are over-activated with the amount of melatonin available on the market. “
Indeed, recent research shows that in the last 20 years, taking more than 5 mg of melatonin per day (much higher than the usual recommended dose of 0.5 mg, which is more closely linked to a person’s physiological levels of the hormone) has become more common. In the United States, this raises some safety concerns, as experts agree that taking high levels of any hormone – especially one as extensive as melatonin – can stop your body from producing natural hormones.