Are there ways to naturally boost melatonin production? How to increase melatonin levels? Those are only some of the questions that people may be asking themselves when they can’t fall asleep, have insomnia, wake up at night or others.
Table Of Contents
What is Melatonin?
The human body has different hormones which perform certain functions to make it work properly. Melatonin here is one of the human hormones which is responsible for sleep cycles. In simple words, melatonin works in correspondence with the sun.
Whenever there is more sunshine, the levels of melatonin hormone in the body reduce. Whereas, when the sun starts setting and the light vanishes away, the melatonin levels increase. This increased melatonin is responsible for healthy and better sleep.
Due to this quality of melatonin, it is also used as a medication by different people who suffer from poor sleep or disturbed sleep cycles. It is now considered a popular medication for boosting its supply in people who aren’t able to produce enough.
It is not considered as habit-forming and generally is considered a safe medicine but still, it can show some reaction or interfere with other medications causing various side effects including nausea, dizziness, headache, and drowsiness.
We all are well aware that how poor sleep can have an impact on our whole life. Disturbed sleep equals poor health leading to a poor lifestyle. Looking at the serious impacts, disturbed sleep cycles can result in forming insulin resistance.
This can lead to diabetes. It also has the ability to disturb the hormones responsible for hunger. In this case, the person ends up with more calories than required. Therefore, this also leads to multiple health issues.
Let’s see how melatonin can affect our body
1 – Sleep Restoration
Though there is no hard evidence proving the point that melatonin is helpful in chronic insomnia, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be effective in the restoration of a healthy sleep pattern. Therefore, if you are having a difficult time sleeping, then maybe consulting your doctor regarding melatonin can prove to be helpful.
2 – Sleep patterns
There is no doubt that sleep patterns are very important. If you have seen someone who is unable to sleep the whole night and then sleep after the sun rises. This might not be just because they want to, but it could be linked to poor melatonin levels. Similarly, problems such as ADHA, Autism etc. put children and adults in n uncomfortable conditions unable to rest their minds.
3 – Brain Health
The levels of these hormones reduce with age. Keeping melatonin levels in check could prevent the elderly from getting diseases such as Alzheimer’s or other neurodegenerative diseases.
Also, improper sleep has become one of the most common concerns of people nowadays. Many people are suffering from low melatonin but most of them aren’t aware.
Circadian rhythm is without any doubt affected by external factors. You might have noticed that it is very difficult for you to wake up and perform creative work during the rainy season. It is not just because of the weather but due to a higher level of melatonin as there is less sunlight. It leads to your body getting ready to rest.
You might have also observed that people living in the colder atmospheres are recorded to suffer more from depression. It is also linked with melatonin.
You may be able to reset your sleep cycle with intermittent fasting, we have an entire post on this topic.
How to Naturally boost Melatonin
As we have already discussed that melatonin medications are available and are sometimes prescribed to people suffering from anxiety, ADHD, Autism etc. On the other hand, it is also important to know how we can naturally increase our melatonin levels. There are a few natural methods that can work in our favour to increase levels of melatonin and some of the important ones are mentioned below:
1 – Sunlight Exposure
It has become clear that melatonin levels depend on sunlight. One of the easiest ways to boost up your levels of melatonin is by increasing your exposure to sunlight. Whenever the body receives a high amount of natural sunlight, it gets the signal to boost up the energy to make your body more active.
Unfortunately, nowadays, due to our working habits and strict time schedules, we spend most of our day time inside buildings such as offices. Due to this, the body exposure to sunlight has decreased significantly. Staying away from sunlight the whole day makes your body believe that it is supposed to produce more melatonin and when you try to sleep at night, it still doesn’t catch the signal.
So, try to take some time during the day to expose your body to direct sunlight. For example, take a walk for some time on a sunny day. This will make your body realize that its day time, produce less melatonin in the day and set back your circadian rhythms in place.
2 – Appropriate Bed-Time
We have developed poor sleep patterns and sleep late at night. Due to this reason, most people are not able to get enough sleep at night.
Developing a habit of sleeping late makes your body produce less melatonin with the passage of time. It becomes very difficult to break this cycle once you get into it. Therefore, it is important that you sleep at an appropriate time to get at least proper eight hours of sleep. It won’t only make you healthier and more energetic but also works wonders for mood during the whole day.
3 – Avoid lights at Night
In this modern world, artificial lights have become an important part of our life. Mobile phones and laptops are with us 24/7. The light which is given out by mobile phones, computers, and televisions screen is known as blue light.
This light is responsible for blocking melatonin production in our bodies. Watching screens at night can result in low melatonin levels. This makes our body restless and therefore definitely results in poor sleep.
It is advised to reduce your exposure to such lights in order to get proper sleep. Adopt certain activities before your bedtime which will keep you away from screens. For example, reading books or adapting a skincare routine before going to bed gives enough time away from screens before sleeping.
4 – Eat Melatonin-Rich Food
We eat certain fruits and vegetables due to the vitamins and the benefits they bring along with them. In the same way, there are different food items that are rich in melatonin. If you suspect to suffer from low melatonin in your body. A very good way of dealing with it would be taking rich food items. Some of the melatonin rich food items are:
- Tart cheery or its juice has proved to be effective. These can be used before sleeping to get a better and relaxed sleep. This is because of the fact that they contain more than average amount of melatonin. It has also researched that when people when given a cup of tart juice, they were able to sleep better.
- Malted milk has also proved to improve sleep. It is made by combining a powder which is made up of wheat, flour or barley. It also contains certain vitamins. Milk itself has melatonin and a cup of milk before bedtime could be helpful. When milk is mixed with malted products, it makes it even more helpful in getting a better sleep.
- Fatty fish can also help in getting better sleep cycle. It consists of a number of vitamins such as vitamin D along with high quantity of Omega-3. These also have melatonin which makes it possible to get a healthier sleep cycle.
- Nuts are considered very crucial as they contain huge amounts of different minerals and vitamins along with melatonin. Nuts such as almonds, cashews and walnuts are the most common once considered helpful for sleeping. They also are rich in minerals such as zinc and magnesium. In research it is concluded that when magnesium and iron is taken with melatonin, it becomes very helpful for people suffering from insomnia. You can learn some effective ways to fall asleep with insomnia in one of our other posts.
- Tryptophan is an important amino acid in this case as well as it is needed for effective production of melatonin in body. It isn’t naturally produced in our body, so, making our diet full of items which consists of tryptophan such as chicken, cheese, oats, almonds etc.
5 – Weighted blanket
You might have heard about the use of weighted blankets for better sleep as well as for reducing anxiety. It is popular among people who have children with Autism or ADHD for giving them better sleep and a sense of security.
They are made of different materials depending on the type of sleepers and for which purpose they are bought. If you are considering how they affect melatonin in our body, let me explain. It puts enough pressure on the body to stimulate the production of hormones and soothing sensory receptors of the body.
It is researched that levels of serotonin were increased by 28% with the use of a weighted blanket along with an increase in dopamine also. Higher serotonin results in a boost of your melatonin level which then gives better and relaxed sleep.
6 – Darker Bedroom
As light decreases the natural production of melatonin, so, it is helpful if you keep your bedroom dark. Keeping lights on in your bed area would only decrease its production which would lead to disturbed sleep.
It is advised that the bedroom should be kept darker with closed blinds and no unnecessary light. Room light could be confused for daylight and would lead to much lesser melatonin release in the body.
7 – Control Stress
Stress rises a lot of different health issues. It can disrupt different hormones and the normal functioning of the body. Therefore, it is very important to keep stress under control. Now, melatonin is not the only hormone that is necessary for a proper sleep cycle. Hormones such as cortisol are also crucial for the internal clock. When a person is under stress, it fluctuates normal hormonal levels.
Under stress, the levels of cortisol increase and on the contrary the levels of melatonin decreases. The two mentioned hormones can be misaligned and completely thrown the sleep cycle off.
Yoga, exercise and medication are proved to be super helpful in reducing stress. If you’re under stress, it could be the one interfering in your sleep cycle. Try incorporating certain exercise and medication routines to deal with stress and keeping the cortisol levels low.
8 – Addictive habits such as smoking
Getting some smoke at night does reduce melatonin levels in the body due to its components. So, if you are an active smoker, disturbed sleep could also follow. Try limiting your smoke to the daylight or try to leave this habit as a whole for betting health.
9 – Limit Caffeine
There is no doubt in the fact that we all love a good, hot cup of coffee to start our day. But caffeine addiction is also very common for people who hold on to it and does not check their intake under control. Taking caffeine increases the cortisol hormone and puts the body in the famous, “Flight or Fight” response. It leads to the uneasiness of the body and restlessness. Drinking more than advised levels of caffeine could result in long term anxiety, nervousness and irritability.
So, if you have a habit of getting warm caffeinated drinks in the evening, try shifting them in the day to let your body function in a normal way or you may take some alternatives such as tea, chamomile tea or lemon water as they contain antioxidants.
10 – Hot Shower in the evening
Heat reduces the level of stress hormones in the body. Another amazing idea to increase your melatonin level could be taking some hot showers. If you are able to get to some sauna room, that would be amazing. This has the tendency to boost neuron function along with relaxing muscles. Similarly, sweating while you are working out seems irritating but it also increases melatonin production as it reduces cortisol.
Some Alternative Ways to Boost your Melatonin:
The pineal gland is located in the head and it is responsible for the production of melatonin. This hormone has the function to regulate our sleep cycles. We have read in detail why is it so important and how can we increase its production.
Let’s see some other additional methods to naturally boost your melatonin production for people who are facing problems during sleep and want to relax their bodies from this disturbed sleep cycle.
Natural ways are always preferred than relying on unnatural and medicated methods. Therefore, the importance of understanding how naturally we could boost melatonin could be really helpful.
So, here is what else you could do:
1 – Rich diet
Nowadays we have become irresponsible regarding our dietary habits. Long working hours and limited resting time has put our eating habits second. Due to this, we are not responsible for what goes into our bodies. Whereas, it should be the most important concern. It is the need of time that we give our health priority.
Certain food items are no doubt higher in melatonin and other hormones. We should be considerate about our health issues and mental state to cope up with them. Having a rich diet could keep your body in proper balance. This produces appropriate hormones level and keeps your body and mind healthy.
2 – Exercise and Meditation
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle could be beneficial in every aspect and the same is the case with our melatonin concern. Regular exercise reduces the stress hormones in our body i.e., the cortisol hormone. So, exercises such as swimming, running or cycling are likely to increase melatonin.
Other than these, simple exercises such as walking for ten minutes or jumping for some time could also be proved to be helpful.
Yoga is also playing an important role. Different yoga poses have proved to be effective in dealing with melatonin levels. Meditation is also considered for people who suffer from some kind of body disability. People who are not able to exercise regularly due to some physical reasons could practice meditation.
Meditation is also a helpful way to reduce stress and helps individuals to get normal sleep times of stress. Its calms the body down and gets the mind to rest due to adequate melatonin level in the body due to meditation.
3 – Lavender in the Bedroom
Lavender candles, essential oils for relaxation, and perfumes have become very common nowadays. It is not just because of its amazing smell but also because lavender has various health benefits as well. For one, lavender has been considered to have a close link with the quality of sleep. So, if disturbed sleep is in your mind, get yourself some lavender-scented candles or flowers to calm yourself.
4 – Glasses for Blue Light
As we have discussed earlier that blue light should be avoided during night time, it should be considered to get these glasses if you are unable to get off the screen light due to work issues. If you are in for investing in something for yourself other than the lavender candles, getting these amber-tinted glasses could be a great idea as well.
Sometimes, eye doctors also recommend these glasses for people who suffer from less melatonin levels and they have also proven to be successful.
It is clear that melatonin is an essential hormone for having a normal sleep. But melatonin is not the only hormone that is responsible for that. Other hormones also play an important role in dealing with the sleep cycle.
Melatonin is produced from the pineal gland in the body. It is very important to keep it low during the day to have a boosted morning and work attentively. Whereas, on the other hand, it is very important that melatonin levels increase as the dark prevails.
These high levels of the hormone are responsible for giving essential signals for the body to get rest and sleep. People who suffer from poor sleep patterns have low levels of melatonin in their bodies. This can be due to various factors and normal people do not pay attention to this factor in usual life until some medical concern rises.
There are various natural ways to increase its level in the body at the required time to boost up sleep such as getting more sun in the day, using no blue lights at night, getting more food rich in melatonin, using weighted blankets, cutting out on caffeine and cigarettes, sleeping with a weighted blanket etc.
Other uncommon methods are also considered helpful up to some extent such as lavender candles, long, warm baths and exercises.
There is no doubt that making these little adjustments in your everyday life along with using stuff such as a heavy weighted blanket could help a lot in this matter.
These could prove to be very effective in limiting the problem and could also be the ultimate solution for some people. In some serious cases, medications would be an important option to consider. In this scenario, your doctor would suggest if any kind of medicine or further treatment is required. As far as you are just doing all right with the natural remedies, you are good to go.