What is melatonin and how can you increase melatonin levels in your body naturally? Melatonin is a hormone released by the pineal gland that regulates the sleep-wake cycle of the body.
There are several options to increase melatonin levels in the body.
Foods To Boost Melatonin
Look for foods that are high in tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is needed to produce melatonin. It is not produced naturally in the body. Most foods that are rich in protein contain this amino acid such as turkey, chicken, almonds, and cottage cheese. Other foods useful in boosting melatonin include pineapples, oranges, walnuts, and goji berries. When reaching for a bedtime snack be sure to choose one that is a melatonin rich food.
Increase Natural Sunlight Exposure
Light is the most important factor when it comes to the production of melatonin. How much sunlight you receive each day, the amount of time you look at your phone, tv, etc before bed all plays a role.
One simple thing you can do to increase your melatonin levels is to step outside in the morning. Sunlight helps in the production of serotonin. Serotonin is needed to produce melatonin. Having adequate exposure to sunlight can help reset the circadian rhythm of melatonin.
In a Finland study of two groups of rodents, it was found that the group who was given more exposure to sunlight produced more melatonin at night than those who were not exposed to sunlight.
About two to three hours before you plan on sleeping avoid looking at any type of blue screens such as a computer, phone, tablet, or tv. The blue light from these devices sends signals to the brain which in response shuts down melatonin production.
If you are like most people and find it difficult to get enough sunlight during the day there is something you can do. Using a sun lamp is a safe and natural way to get exposure to natural sunlight. Sun lamps are a convenient way to boost melatonin and treat many sleep disorders.
Try A Weighted Blanket
A weighted blanket is another way to increase melatonin levels. These types of blankets work by putting pressure on the sensory receptors of the body which soothes the nervous system and regulates the production of hormones.
Through research, it has been found using a weighted blanket increased dopamine by 31% and serotonin by 28%. Serotonin is linked to the production of melatonin. Melatonin levels increase when serotonin is increased.
Keep Your Bedroom Dark
If there is light coming into your bedroom this will confuse your body into thinking it is daylight resulting in a decrease of melatonin. Keep all blinds closed, use light-blocking curtains and you can also try a sleep mask to block out any distracting light.
Exercise To Increase Melatonin Levels
Dr. Roy Raymann, of SleepScore Labs says, “Exercise is likely to increase the level of melatonin, ” “This is probably related to the fact that the hormones and neurotransmitters that are released during exercise support melatonin syntheses.”
When exercising it is best to do it earlier in the day. If exercise is done in the evening hours this can affect your sleep causing a disruption.
Smell Lavender To Relax
Smelling lavender oil for just 10 to 15 minutes before bed has been shown to increase melatonin and improve the quality of sleep. Try putting some lavender oil in a diffuser, spray on your pillow and linens. The scent of the lavender will naturally boost melatonin.
Take A Supplement
One way to increase melatonin levels in the body is to take a natural supplement. A few supplements to take to help boost melatonin is magnesium and melatonin supplements. Magnesium works by regulating melatonin and the neurotransmitters in the brain and nervous system. You can get more magnesium either by taking a supplement or looking for foods rich in magnesium such as pumpkin seeds, yogurt, avocadoes, black beans, spinach, and dark chocolate.
Does Melatonin Affect Your Weight?
Through research, it has been found that melatonin can increase metabolism and help in weight loss. In a year-long study of 81 postmenopausal women given melatonin or a placebo, it was found that the group given melatonin saw a 7 percent decrease in fat mass.
By making some changes to your lifestyle you can increase melatonin levels in your body naturally. Once you have increased the production of melatonin you will begin to see a noticeable improvement in the quality of your sleep.
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