Are Melatonin and Caffeine a Bad Combo?

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

melatonin and caffeine

In the world of research chemicals, it is easy to fall prey to the scams and misinformation that abound in this space. Today I am going to shed some light on what I consider the most curious combination that exists in the world of smart drugs: melatonin and caffeine. In case you aren’t too familiar with these two compounds, here is a brief run-down.

Anyone who has taken either product knows that they can have different effects on you. But what are the differences? Although both substances are chemically similar, the effects they have on you differ significantly. Since both substances are used for the same purposes, it is only normal to wonder whether a melatonin and caffeine interaction could be beneficial, or something you should not consider.

Caffeine’s Effect on the Brain

Caffeine is a chemical compound that’s naturally produced in the seeds, leaves, and fruits of some plants. It’s also added to many foods and beverages to improve flavor, including coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks.

Caffeine is one of the most widely used drugs in the world. It increases alertness by improving concentration and reducing fatigue. It can also increase blood pressure, heart rate and respiration.

The effects of caffeine on the brain are both positive and negative. Positive effects include heightened alertness and focus, while negative effects include anxiety and insomnia.

What Happens if You Mix Caffeine and Sleeping Pills?

If you’re a coffee drinker, it’s likely that you’ve had trouble sleeping at some point. Caffeine is a stimulant that keeps you awake. It affects your brain by blocking adenosine, which makes you tired. Maybe it was a rough day at work, or maybe you just can’t seem to get comfortable. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of times when we need a little help getting to sleep.

Most people turn to over-the-counter sleeping pills or prescription medications to help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. It’s made in your brain and helps you fall asleep, stay asleep, and feel rested when you wake up.

But if you’re also a caffeine fiend—you know, someone who keeps a stash of energy drinks around for those days when you need a little extra pep in your step—are these two things safe to mix?

The short answer is yes—but there are some caveats. Because melatonin helps you fall asleep, it makes sense that taking it before bedtime would help you sleep better. But if you mix melatonin with caffeine, the effects can be less than ideal.

melatonin and sleep mask

For instance, combining caffeine with sleep medications can cause side effects like nausea, headaches, dizziness and dehydration. In addition, taking large doses of caffeine while on prescription medications can cause complications such as irregular heartbeats and gastrointestinal issues.

Also, if you take sleeping pills without having an adequate amount of water before bedtime (which is recommended by most doctors), they can cause dehydration while they work their magic on your brain chemistry.

Does Caffeine Affect Melatonin?

YES. Melatonin is a hormone that’s produced by your pineal gland and secreted from your brain cells. It’s responsible for regulating your sleep cycle and circadian rhythm, which means it helps you fall asleep at night and stay asleep throughout the night.

Caffeine disrupts our circadian rhythms—the natural cycle of sleep and wakefulness. This disruption happens because caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in our brains, which are responsible for regulating our sleep-wake cycles.

The more caffeine we have in our system during the day, the more likely we are to stay awake later than normal—which means less time sleeping and more time worrying about not getting enough sleep.

The effects of this can be especially pronounced in people who regularly consume caffeine late in the day (and night). It’s important to understand how your body reacts to caffeine so that you can avoid problems like insomnia or feeling groggy when you wake up.

How To Negate the Effects of Caffeine?

So you’re about to have a cup of coffee, but you’re also trying to get your sleep on. Do you know how to negate the effects of caffeine?

The answer is: it depends.

If you’re just starting out with coffee and don’t have a tolerance for it yet, then you’ll probably want to wait until after your caffeine fix before taking melatonin. If, however, you’ve been drinking coffee for a while and are now drinking it regularly (more than once per day), then we recommend taking melatonin at least six hours before having another cup of joe.

You can also try slowly weaning yourself off of caffeine altogether by switching over to decaf or herbal tea instead—just make sure not to mix them. You can also try adding sleep-promoting prebiotics that are natural and healthy to your daily routine.

woman holding a cup of coffee

Another great addition to your wellness arsenal is Serenity, a revolutionary sleep supplement that encourages better sleep and rest, so you wake up the next day feeling refreshed and more energized.

How Long Does Caffeine Stay In Your System?

Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 10 hours after you consume it. Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system (CNS), which is the network of nerves and other cells that control how your body works. When you have caffeine, your brain tells your body to release hormones such as adrenaline and dopamine, which make you feel more alert.

What Effect Does Caffeine Have On Sleep?

Caffeine is one of the most widely consumed psychoactive drugs in the world. It’s found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and many other beverages and foods. Although it has been linked to health benefits such as a reduced risk of diabetes, it can also have negative effects on sleep quality.

Caffeine is a stimulant that blocks adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine normally makes us sleepy when we’re awake for too long. By blocking adenosine receptors, caffeine prevents this drowsiness from happening so you can stay awake longer.

How Much Caffeine Is Safe To Consume?

Caffeine is the world’s most popular drug, and it’s easy to see why. It helps you stay awake, increases your energy levels and alertness, and can even improve your mood. But too much caffeine can cause significant side effects like headaches and stomach problems.

In fact, consuming more than 500 milligrams of caffeine per day—about five cups of coffee—can result in regular insomnia and anxiety. Try to consume less than that quantity.

Can Caffeine Help Me Stay Awake?

YES. Caffeine can help you stay awake by blocking the effects of adenosine, a chemical in your brain that makes you feel tired. Adenosine builds up during the day and causes sleepiness. Caffeine blocks this buildup, allowing you to stay alert and focused.

Does Caffeine Cause Sleepiness in Some People?

The short answer is yes, caffeine can cause sleepiness in some people. However, it’s important to note that the amount of caffeine you consume is also a factor. If you’re not sensitive to caffeine, then one cup of coffee won’t have much of an effect—in fact, it may actually help you stay awake. But if you are sensitive to caffeine, even a small amount can make you feel tired.

woman holding a cup of coffee with both hands

If you’re wondering whether or not your sensitivity to caffeine has anything to do with melatonin levels, the answer is probably not. Most people who are sensitive to caffeine don’t have high levels of melatonin in their body; they just metabolize caffeine faster than others do.

Perfect Combination? Answering the FAQS on Caffeine and Melatonin

How Long After Drinking Caffeine Can You Take Melatonin?

Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system, which means it can make it difficult for your body to fall asleep. On the other hand, melatonin is an endogenous hormone that helps regulate our internal clock. When we take melatonin supplements, they help restore our natural circadian rhythm by increasing serotonin levels and reducing cortisol levels in the brain.

In order for melatonin supplements to work effectively, you should wait at least 6 hours after drinking caffeinated beverages before taking them—and preferably 8 hours or more if possible.

Does Coffee Cancel Out Melatonin?

YES, and the reason is simple: caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and increases your blood pressure, heart rate, and metabolism. Melatonin is a hormone that helps you get to sleep (and stay asleep).

Caffeine basically puts your body on alert mode, which makes it hard for melatonin to do its job. So, if you’re trying to drink coffee in the morning (or any time) and get to sleep at night, you might want to consider cutting back on the caffeine. For a similar discussion, please check out my article on melatonin and Adderall.


When it comes to the question of whether caffeine and melatonin interact in the body, the answer appears to be yes.

The chemicals may fight with one another so that neither gets into the system to initiate or maintain its function as it is supposed to. If you are taking this supplement or drink this beverage, maybe it would be best that you take some time off from both for a few days when you begin taking the other.

In my other posts, I also give answers to sleep-related concerns and questions, such as these two very interesting ones: what are adaptogenic herbs for sleep, and can chocolate induce bizarre dreams?  

I wish for my page to be as comprehensive as possible when it comes to topics on wellness and longevity. Live the life you love, Superhumns!

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