Most of us know that melatonin aids in sleep but do you know how to naturally promote melatonin production?
One of the more common suggestions is to get more sleep. Frustrating advice if that's what you're trying unsuccessfully to do and why you are looking into melatonin in the first place.
If you are in need of more sleep but not making it a priority, that’s step one.
Today we look at a variety of ways to naturally increase our melatonin production.
Side note #1: For the adults reading this: boosting our melatonin slows aging. Melatonin is a youthful hormone both in the sense that it keeps aging at bay and that we produce more of it when we are young. The Action Ideas below are good for all of us to consider.
Side note #2: While melatonin is relatively safe, taking it as a supplement can cause issues. For example, what is the correct dosage for children?
If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.
a. To set our circadian rhythm, we need full spectrum light in the morning. It can be done by going outside (if it is daylight early enough) or through artificial full spectrum light. The most common solution is a lightbox that is set on a table and the person sits in front of it.
If it is a hassle to sit in front of a full spectrum light, visor versions have been created. All you need is a ballcap and you’re set to go.
b. Get outside during the day to reinforce your circadian rhythm (also heard something similar this week on a productivity interview: One of the best ways to increase productivity is to be exposed to sunshine, whether inside or outside).
c. Shut off all screens an hour before bed. Also,do not turn on a screen if you have trouble sleeping or wake up in the night.
Install the free app f.lux.com to reduce the blue light in your screen. The blue light disrupts melatonin production. Blue-blocking glasses can also be purchased.
a. Have the bedroom as dark as possible during sleep hours. Use a sleeping mask if there is too much light in the room.
b. Do not have an alarm clock with brightly lit numbers. Does it really matter if you wake up at 1 a.m. or 3 a.m? Sleep until you are well rested or the alarm goes off. The additional light can disrupt your sleep.
c. If you often get up at night and need to put a light, consider using a nightlight with a coloured bulb.
3. Input (what you consume)
a. Eat non-processed, whole foods. Processed foods are stressful on the body. Stress reduces production of melatonin. In contrast, whole foods provide the precursors of melatonin. The mineral mentioned most often? Magnesium. Check out a previous article on that magic mineral.
Below is a summary of other nutrients and the whole foods associated with those nutrients.
"Eat foods rich in the nutrients niacinamide, vitamin B-6, calcium and magnesium, suggest the authors of "Melatonin." Niacinamide is found in green vegetables, fish and red meat; vitamin B-6 is abundant in fortified cereals, turkey, chicken and bananas; cheese, dark leafy greens and milk contain calcium; and magnesium is also found in dark leafy greens, as well as in whole grains and legumes."
b. Have something ‘sweet’ before bed. ‘Sweet’ is not a bowl full of sugary cereal. It is a piece of fruit, especially tropical fruit. Limit the amount. Too much sugar is a stressor, even if the sugar is from fruit.
4. Output (activities you do)
a. Exercise – movement increases melatonin. All exercise is good but exercising in the morning produces more melatonin.
b. Meditation has been shown to increase melatonin.
I wonder if combining the two (movement and meditation), like tai chi or a yoga sequence would give an additional boost
c. Make sleep a priority. Create a sleep routine to encourage sleep and you will become healthier, possibly wealthier, definitely wiser (sleep deprived people should not make important decisions}, will enjoy life more, and others will enjoy you more as well.
d. Using a weighted blanket has shown to produce more serotonin, a precursor of melatonin. Check out our 10 lb uniblankets, 15 or 20 lb 2-piece blanket, as well as our smaller travel blankets.
Have a mega-melatonin week. Happy Easter.
Providing calmness & comfort, learning & laughter,
P.S. There was a lot of overlap of information in the articles I read. Here is a list of the ones I used (in no particular order):