melatonin helps tension and migraine headaches

Melatonin is famous as a sleep aid. But emerging research is pointing to headaches as an important use of melatonin too.

The most common type of headache is tension-type headaches. For some people, these headaches become crushing for quality of life. 2-3% of tension-type headache sufferers progress to chronic headaches that affect them every day, or almost every day. These people need preventative treatment. But the preventative treatments can be hard to take.

Melatonin, though, is not hard to take at all. And it works.

Sixty-one people with chronic tension-type headaches took 3mg of melatonin at bedtime for 30 days. And they had a significant decrease in the number of days they suffered headaches. They also had a significant decrease in pain intensity, not to mention anxiety and depression. Melatonin also significantly decreased the impact headaches had on their ability to function. Not surprisingly, the melatonin also improved the quality of their sleep.

The melatonin was also safe to use.

That means that melatonin can reduce the frequency and severity of tension-type headaches while improving your ability to function with the bonus of a better night’s sleep.

And this is not the first time melatonin has been shown to help headaches, nor are tension headaches the only kind of headache it can help.

An important, earlier study suggests that melatonin is better than drugs for migraine headaches.

A 3 month double-blind study gave 25mg amitriptyline, 3mg melatonin or placebo to people who experience 2-8 migraines a month. Melatonin reduced the number of headache days by 2.7 versus 2.2 for amitriptyline and 1.1 for placebo. More people responded to the melatonin than to the amitriptyline. While those on amitryptiline had significant weight gain, those on melatonin lost weight (J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2016;87:1127–1132).

So, melatonin may be an emerging natural treatment for headaches.

Pain Ther 2020;9(2):741-750

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For much more on preventing and treating headaches and migraines, see our book The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia.

For comprehensive help with headaches and migraines, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven nowLinda’s clinic is now open for virtual appointments.


The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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