This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
Naturally Increase Melatonin for a Better Night’s Rest
Many have difficulty getting a good night’s sleep, even if you had enough time in your day to get in 8 or more hours of rest, many have difficulty falling asleep or wake up many times throughout the night. If you have difficulty sleeping, you’re not alone, it is estimated that 1/3 of Americans have trouble sleeping every night and over 50% have trouble at least several times each week.
One possible cause is a decrease in your body’s level of melatonin. Melatonin levels can be affected very easily and can drop off due to environmental factors, such as sleeping with bright lights on.
When you think about going back to what’s natural, hundreds of years ago we weren’t staying up late at night with artificial light, using laptops, or watching TV before bed, instead the human body used daylight to determine when it was time to sleep and when it was time to wake up. When this timing is altered it can result in the disruption of the circadian rhythm.
With just a few simple changes you will be able to naturally increase melatonin which will help you get a good night’s sleep.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a natural hormone that is produced in the pineal gland. Melatonin production is what allows the body to relax and triggers sleepiness at night, the level decreases in the early morning.
The production of melatonin can easily be affected by environmental factors including, using artificial light and stress, which make it more difficult to fall asleep.
With the number of people who use cell phones, watch TV or use their laptop right before going to sleep, it’s no surprise that so many are low in melatonin and would benefit from increasing it.
The Super Health Benefits of Melatonin
Studies on melatonin have shown the numerous amount of health benefits. The hormone melatonin has been shown to increase the immune system and have anti-cancer benefits. It not only inhibits proliferation of cancer cells, but also triggers cancer cells to self destruct (apoptosis).
Melatonin is also a potent antioxidant, it decreases your bodies level of oxidative stress and reduces inflammation.
What Causes Low Melatonin
The most common cause of decreased melatonin is due to light exposure. Unless your going to bed at 8pm or 6pm in the winter, you’re using some form of artificial light.
Research has shown that exposure to artificial light at nighttime inhibits the production of melatonin. Even just being exposed to normal room lighting can suppress melatonin.
However, melatonin is most affected by “blue” light, which is emitted from cell phones, computer screens, and TVs.
Whether you check your phone for a minute before you go to bed or watch TV for a few hours, studies show the effect is the same and your body’s melatonin pump won’t turn back on when you turn your devices off.
There are also other factors that can influence melatonin production, including high levels of stress and eating foods with caffeine.
How to Naturally Increase Melatonin
With these simple tips you can naturally increase melatonin and should be able to get a better night’s sleep.
1. Go to Sleep Early– Make sure to get a full night’s sleep in order to allow your body to go through all sleep stages and to not disrupt circadian rhythm. If possible, try to turn down the lighting in your home as it gets closer to nighttime and minimize the use of computers and TV’s especially right before bed.
2. Sleep in Darkness – Completely pitch black would be best, make sure to cover alarm clocks or any small lights on electronic devices, and use blackout window curtains.
3. Avoid High Sugar and Caffeine – Several studies have shown that those with diets high in caffeine, processed foods and sugar tend to have even more decreased levels of melatonin
4. Meditate -Allow yourself some quiet time before you go to bed and practice deep breathing. Meditation has been shown to aid in boosting the production of melatonin.
5. Reduce Stress– High levels of stress result in the suppression of the production of melatonin and growth hormone secretion
6. Eat Cherries-Several foods naturally contain melatonin. To increase melatonin, the most powerful is tart cherries. Other foods that boost melatonin levels include turkey, chicken, and almonds.
Should You Supplement with Melatonin?
You can also buy melatonin supplements to increase melatonin. However, give the natural ways a try first to see if you can eliminate what may be causing low melatonin. Melatonin can be very helpful for some who continue to have difficulty sleeping. Studies have shown that melatonin helps individuals fall asleep quicker, remain asleep, and prevent fatigue during the day.
Have you tried any of these tips to naturally increase melatonin?