5 Ways to Naturally Boost Melatonin (and help you sleep like a baby)
Melatonin is a natural hormone that is released from a small gland within the brain known as the pineal gland. Melatonin is known to be responsible for the regulation of our internal body clock, referred to as the circadian rhythm and regulates female’s reproductive hormones. However, science is now discovering that this is only one of the many benefits adequate melatonin levels have in the body.
1. PMS and PMDD: A study by the Douglas Mental Health University Institute revealed that melatonin levels may play a role in severe PMS. Woman that were suffering from PMS symptoms and mood changes had lower levels of melatonin compared to their counterparts.
2. Headaches: Low levels of melatonin have been linked to a variety of headache types including migraines. Supplementing with melatonin may also help to reduce headache pain.
3. Insomnia: Boosting melatonin levels appears to reduce the time it takes for individuals to fall asleep, increase the number of sleeping hours and boost daytime alertness.
4. Menopause: Increasing melatonin may also benefit woman suffering from disordered sleep during the time of menopause.
5. Breast Health: Melatonin appears to be protective against breast cancer. Several studies suggest that low melatonin levels may be associated with breast cancer. Further, several preliminary studies suggest that melatonin may strengthen the effect of chemotherapy drugs.
6. Prostate Heath: Studies show that men with prostate cancer have lower melatonin levels than men without the disease.
Melatonin levels appear to naturally decline as we age. Read on to find out how you can naturally boost the levels of this important hormone in your body.
Avoid Exposure to Bright Lights at Night Nighttime light exposure disrupts melatonin production and interferes with sleep. It is recommended to dim the lights at the same time the sun is naturally setting outside and avoid looking at TV, computer and smart phone screens 1 hour before going to bed. This also applies for if you wake during the middle of the night, use dim light and avoid putting on bright overhead lights. If you like to use night lights or have some light in the bathroom, using a salt lamp can be a good option, or changing your bathroom light bulbs to pink or red. These colours of light do not seem to interfere with melatonin the same way as bright white or blue lights
Expose Yourself to Sunlight During Your Waking Hours. Nighttime light interferes with melatonin production, however inadequate exposure to light in the daytime also disrupts the body’s natural melatonin cycles. Make time to get outside in the sunshine during the day, or sit in a sunny window when you can.
Consume Melatonin-Boosting Foods in Your Daily Diet. By increasing the substrates necessary to produce melatonin through food, you can naturally increase the production of this important hormone in our bodies. Consuming protein in the morning can help the body naturally make more melatonin at night. Morning protein rich meals can include eggs, hemp hearts (sprinked on toast or added to smoothies), nut and seed butters or a little of last nights left over chicken or fish. Foods high in calcium and magne18.5sium may also help foster production of melatonin. Good choices include seeds and dark leafy green vegetables.
Cool it down at night
Melatonin also increases with cooler temperatures. This makes sense as the temperature outside often is cooler overnight compared to day time. Optimal temperatures for sleep and melatonin production are about 64F or 18C. Some people may find this a little too cool, but you can start by reducing the temperature in your house by even 1-2 C at night and note if you begin to have a better sleep.
Consider Supplementing with Melatonin The dose of melatonin required will vary from for each individual and it is best to consult your naturopathic doctor before taking melatonin. Additionally, taking melatonin overtime may reduce the amount of naturally occurring melatonin your body makes. Therefore, melatonin is may be a solution for a SHORT PERIOD of time, and/or to re-set your circadian rhythm. Melatonin should always be taken 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime, preferably on an empty stomach. Melatonin should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or nursing or before driving a vehicle.
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