How to Increase Melatonin Levels
How to Increase Melatonin Levels

Melatonin is a sleep hormone triggered by darkness that tells the body to wind down at the end of the day and helps in the timing and regulation of your circadian rhythm. While this should naturally occur in the evenings, things such as light exposure can inhibit the production of melatonin even in the middle of the night.

Get Some Sunlight

While it may seem counterintuitive that exposing yourself to sunlight could help in the production of a hormone triggered by darkness, sunlight triggers the production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. Serotonin and melatonin work hand-in-hand in the sense that serotonin may work to produce melatonin later on in the evening.

Eat Food Rich in Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid that, you guessed it, helps produce serotonin. Knowing what we know about the relationship between serotonin and melatonin, eating foods rich in tryptophan can help further trigger this production of melatonin later in the evening. The emphasis is less on the tryptophan itself, but rather its effect in melatonin production. Foods rich in tryptophan include peanuts, bananas, chicken, and turkey. Suddenly the post-Thanksgiving dinner nap is making a whole lot more sense. 

Stay Away From Artificial Light

Okay, maybe not stay away from artificial light entirely, especially in the winter months where it gets dark at 4:30pm, but start to limit your exposure to it in the last hour leading up to bedtime. Blue light is especially harmful to melatonin production and we are exposed to it consistently throughout the day making it all the more difficult to drift off at night. Blue light is found in all the screens we find ourselves staring at both for work and leisure such as computer screens, computer screens, and television screens. In the final hour or two before bed, try to set aside your devices and instead opt for an activity like reading or doing a puzzle in order to help your mind and body wind down at the end of the day.

Try to Relax

While stress can keep us all up at night, there are a number of reasons why taking a moment to step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and taking a moment to relax can be beneficial. Cortisol, the stress hormone, can impact your sleep as it focuses all the body’s energy into handling the stressor as opposed to regulating other bodily functions such as digestion and improving the immune system. Taking certain measures to relax, however, can help reduce cortisol levels and make it easier to fall asleep in the long-run. 

Try a Weighed Sleep Mask

Darkness can help trigger the production of melatonin, so ensuring a dark sleeping environment is paramount when it comes to getting your body ready to go to sleep at night. It may not always be feasible to have a dark sleeping environment though (especially in the summer months or if you have an early wake-up call), so bedtime accessories like sleep masks can be a major help in these cases. Nodpod's weighted eye mask, among other benefits, are light-blocking and contour to your face to help give you a perfectly dark sleeping environment even fully lit room. 

Key Takeaways

Increasing your levels of melatonin can be done a number of ways with different levels of efficiency depending on your own set of specific circumstances. Certain methods may work better than others based on your existing sleep patterns and whether or not you take artificial sleep aids. Nonetheless, experimentation with different methods of improving your production of melatonin can be instrumental in improving your own sleep habits and sleep hygiene. Whether it’s by taking a step back from the screens in the last hour before bed or by focusing more on relieving stress in the evenings, these methods are helpful in the improvement of your sleep as well as your general physical and mental health.

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