Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally by our body, which remains present throughout our lives. As the day comes to an end and the surroundings get darker, the levels of melatonin in our body start to rise significantly, signaling our body to sleep. It circulates in our bloodstream, binds with receptors in the brain, and decreases nerve activity, promoting relaxation. Melatonin plays a vital role in helping us fall asleep quickly and reducing the frequency of waking up at night, resulting in a restful night’s sleep. However, as we age, its levels naturally decrease. Therefore, what measures can we take to boost our melatonin levels?
1. Soaking up some sun can do wonders for your health.
Exposure to sunlight each day can help regulate your internal clock and support the production of melatonin. Sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin, which is a precursor to melatonin. According to reports, serotonin converts into melatonin when it gets dark. To boost your melatonin levels, it’s recommended that you expose yourself to sunlight for 30 to 45 minutes within an hour of waking up. Taking a walk or spending some time outdoors in the sunshine can bring about many benefits for your overall well-being.
2. Limiting screen time can positively impact your melatonin production.
Blue light, which is emitted from electronic devices, has the most significant effect on melatonin levels when compared to other types of light. These devices include TV, smartphones, tablets, computer monitors, LED and fluorescent light bulbs, among others. If you find it challenging to reduce your screen time, you can opt for blue light blocking glasses, which can help mitigate the impact of blue light. Another option is to switch your devices to dark or night mode after sunset, which can significantly reduce the exposure to blue light and promote better melatonin production.
3. Creating a conducive environment for sleep is essential to support the body's natural production of melatonin.
Bright lights at night can disrupt our internal body clock, as melatonin increases with darkness and decreases with light. Therefore, it’s crucial to dim the lights at least an hour before bedtime to promote melatonin production, which can help you fall asleep faster. In today’s age, it’s common to be surrounded by bright lights, but taking simple steps like dimming the lights can significantly improve the quality of your sleep.
4. Eating the right foods can play a significant role in boosting your melatonin levels naturally.
Some foods are rich in melatonin, such as cherries, goji berries, eggs, milk, fish, and nuts, especially almonds and pistachios. You can incorporate these foods into your diet in tasty ways, such as having a goji berry smoothie with almond milk or a salmon omelette.
5. Promoting Relaxation and Reducing Stress for Better Sleep
Many of us have experienced difficulty falling asleep due to a racing mind or upcoming events causing stress. Unfortunately, stress can interfere with our sleep quality as our stress hormone, cortisol, affects our internal clock. Normally, cortisol levels are highest during the day and decrease at night to allow for restful sleep. However, chronic stress can disrupt this natural rhythm, leading to insomnia and other sleep issues. To improve your sleep, it’s essential to prioritize relaxation and stress reduction techniques before bedtime. This can help regulate cortisol levels and promote melatonin production, leading to a more restful and restorative sleep.
6. Reducing Coffee Intake for Better Sleep
Studies have demonstrated that coffee consumption can interfere with the body’s natural melatonin production, potentially causing sleep disruptions. To improve sleep quality, it is recommended to avoid consuming coffee at least six hours before bedtime. However, it’s important to note that individuals may have different melatonin production levels, so it’s essential to monitor your sleep patterns and adjust your coffee consumption accordingly. Reducing coffee intake can be challenging, but there are several alternatives to consider that can provide a natural energy boost without interrupting your sleep. Here are five coffee substitutes to try out:
- Green Tea – This tea contains a small amount of caffeine and is also rich in L-theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation.
- Yerba Mate – This South American beverage is known for its energizing properties and is often used as a coffee substitute.
- Lemon Water – Drinking water infused with fresh lemon can provide a natural energy boost and help to hydrate the body.
- Kombucha – This fermented tea is an excellent source of natural probiotics and can provide an energy boost. Golden Milk – This warm beverage is made with turmeric, which contains curcumin, known for its anti-inflammatory and energizing properties.
7. Incorporating Prayer or Meditation into Your Evening Routine
Research has shown that individuals who practice meditation or prayer have higher levels of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Melatonin production typically requires a calm and relaxed mind and body in the early evening. Incorporating relaxation techniques such as prayer or meditation into your evening routine can help reduce cortisol levels and promote relaxation, leading to an increase in melatonin production. By engaging in calming activities before bedtime, the body can release stress and tension, which can have numerous positive effects on overall health and wellbeing. Additionally, regular practice of these techniques can lead to a more restful and rejuvenating sleep experience. So, consider setting aside some time each evening to practice meditation or prayer and reap the benefits of increased melatonin production and improved sleep.