We can all agree that a cluster headache is definitely not just a regular headache.
Luckily, the etiology of a cluster headache is very similar to a migraine so by applying the same principles we can get amazing relief and healing.
In this article, I will be talking about melatonin for cluster headaches, what studies have shown, why it helps and how it’s used.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that works oppositely to cortisol.
Whereas cortisol is one of the main stress hormones that give us energy, wakes us up and in times of need sends us into fight or flight mode to protect us from danger.
Melatonin is the opposite. When cortisol levels fall, melatonin levels rise.
In a healthy individual, when the sun rises, cortisol shoots up and awakens us. Then in the afternoon cortisol starts falling and melatonin starts to rise.
Melatonin helps our body prepare for sleep and all of the regenerating and repairing our brain does during sleep.
Melatonin is absolutely essential for regulating our circadian rhythms which control the 24 hours cycle that every single cell in our bodies goes by.
Our cells need a time for activity and a time for detoxification, rest and repair.
If our circadian rhythms are off or if we are overly stressed, melatonin will not be created and secreted properly which may lead to problems.
The darker we can make our environment before sleep, and the better we can create a sleeping environment with 100% darkness, the greater our chance of increasing our body’s production of melatonin.
This study says that “Melatonin levels have been found to be decreased in cluster headache patients.”
See the picture below for more information on melatonin’s cycle.
What is a cluster headache?
A cluster headache is a severe headache that most often comes with one-sided head pain usually around an eye. This pain is so severe that they are often given the name “suicide headaches.”
This pain may come with other symptoms like eye-watering, sinus congestion and swelling.
Symptoms usually last a few minutes to a few hours and come in clusters.
See the video below for more information on cluster headaches.
It is important to understand that patients with cluster headaches show a greater percentage of increased work-related stress, self-employment, tobacco smoking, and alcohol use or abuse.
Lifestyle factors like the standard American diet, over-consumption of caffeine and alcohol and the use of tobacco all result in mitochondrial impairment, nutrient deficiencies and toxicities which may all continue cluster headaches despite treatment.
Why may melatonin help cluster headaches?
Melatonin has been used in a few studies with varying levels of effectiveness.
In one study, 10mg of melatonin taken at night relieved cluster headaches in approximately 50% of patients with results beginning 3-5 days after the start of treatment and continuing for the duration of treatment. But the 2 chronic cluster headache patients in the study didn’t respond.
Another study found that “For cluster headache, melatonin 10 mg was superior to placebo.”
But melatonin is an amazing hormone and has a great safety profile.
Reduce oxidative stress and excitotoxicity which are some of the leading causes of headaches
Counter the melatonin reducing effects of blue lights that come from screens like phones, TVs and computers
Cooldown inflammation which is a common cause of full body and brain stress
If our cluster headaches are coming from a disrupted circadian rhythm, increased inflammation, oxidation, disrupted sleep or a lack of melatonin secretion, melatonin may prove to be helpful in finding relief.
See the pin below for the many benefits of melatonin.
How to use melatonin for cluster headaches
Only small amounts of melatonin are generally needed. The most effective way to take melatonin is sublingually where a small tab melts on your tongue and absorbs through your mouth tissue right into your bloodstream.
It is important to note that melatonin may cause mild headaches or daytime drowsiness if too much is taken so starting with a low dose such as 1 or 2mg and working your way up may be best.
Generally, melatonin levels will slowly start to rise around 6 pm as cortisol drops and this is a good time to take it but anytime before bed works for some.
Some supplements have incredibly large amounts of melatonin like 100-200mg but studies have found that 3-10mg are effective.
If we can combine the reduction of lifestyle factors that contribute to clusters along with support for our body’s own production of melatonin along with supplementation, we will be much more effective in finding relief and long-term health.
If you want to learn more than you ever have about headaches and different head pains, join over 15,000 other members in the community here.
Have you ever experienced a cluster headache or tried melatonin? Let me know in the comments below.
Share this with someone you know who might be thinking of trying melatonin or currently experiencing cluster headaches.
Holistic Health Practitioner
Mark Canadic is a writer, speaker, holistic health practitioner and migraine community leader. Read Mark’s inspiring comeback story, “My Burnout and Brain Fires that Lead me to the Root.” Feel free to send Mark a message here.