Want to Sleep Better? 5 Natural Ways to Increase Melatonin Levels

Various factors such as stress, poor diet, and the passage of time affect the natural production of melatonin in your body. Here are some tips you can follow to help you sleep better.

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LatinAmerican Post | Erika Benitez

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Leer en español: ¿Quieres dormir mejor? 5 formas naturales de aumentar los niveles de melatonina

Sleep is a biological necessity that keeps our brain healthy and helps us to have good physical health to fulfill all our daily functions. Each human being has very different natural and life rhythms; therefore, not all of us can fall asleep similarly. Several studies show that melatonin deficiency (a hormone that regulates the sleep cycle) is associated in the short and long term with health problems. Tiredness, difficulty concentrating, or more severe issues such as mood disorders, overweight, and poor bone health, among others, are some of the consequences of lack of sleep.

According tothe “National Library of Medicine” (NLM) of the United States, melatonin, which regulates human sleep, is a hormone found in both plant and animal sources, such as human milk, bananas, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Thanks to this substance’s secretion process, the internal clock that governs the natural rhythms of body function is maintained. It also protects neurons against degeneration, participates in memory fixation processes, and influences the activity of the immune system, hence its importance.

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Depending on the stage of our life, our sleep needs are also different. If we do not get enough sleep and rest, it will be directly reflected in our health. This is why it is essential to create small habits that help you regulate the circadian rhythm, respecting the times and spaces of light and darkness that are part of the rest cycles. Fortunately, there are several ways to increase your natural melatonin levels that you can incorporate into your daily routine.

5 Simple Tips to Increase your Melatonin Levels Naturally

1. Eat Foods Rich in Melatonin.

A proper and balanced diet is vital to our body’s overall health, and this case is no exception. Many foods help you raise melatonin levels and thus promote better rest. According to a study published by the “Journal of Food Composition and Analysis” nuts are a great source of melatonin, including almonds, hazelnuts and pistachio seeds. You can also include eggs, fish (especially salmon), tomatoes, milk, and sour cherries in your diet.

It is also essential to consume foods with tryptophan, an amino acid that supports melatonin production by raising serotonin levels in the body. Among them: red meat, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, fruits, potatoes, and bananas, and in the group of legumes, chickpeas win the prize for their high content of tryptophan.

2. Include Foods Rich in Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 plays various essential roles in the body, one of which is a vehicle for melatonin synthesis. If you do not get an adequate amount of vitamin B6 in your diet, it can cause alterations in sleep patterns and insomnia. This vitamin can be found mainly in meat, turkey breast, chicken breast, beef, tuna, nuts and seeds, legumes, beans, and avocado.

3. Avoid Screen Light Before Going to Sleep

According to the European Sleep Institute, “to get a good sleep, both in quality and quantity, our body needs darkness or no exposure to light, thus stimulating melatonin production.” This is why experts recommend dimming the lights at least one hour before bedtime, which will help us sleep much better.

Similarly, several studies show that the light emitted by the screens is very intense and directly affects the eyes, which delays the secretion of melatonin and, therefore, the beginning of the sleep cycle, the publication adds.

4. Manage Stress

Stress is a great enemy when it comes to sleep. The stress-related hormone (cortisol) also plays a role in regulating the internal clock. When a person is under stress and does not handle it properly, melatonin production is disrupted and can lead to insomnia. Take the time to relax before going to bed. Create a routine in which you learn new forms of relaxation to promote good restorative sleep. For example, meditation or deep breathing exercises are recommended.

5. Reduces Caffeine Consumption

Coffee is one of the stimulants you should avoid to sleep better. Over time, drinking large amounts of coffee or caffeine-containing beverages can decrease overall melatonin production. Several studies recommend not drinking coffee at least six hours before bed since, if consumed after that period, it can reduce at least one hour of sleep for those who drink it. Remember that sleeping between 7 and 8 hours a day helps your brain to boost memory. While you sleep, all your body’s cells are repaired, which translates into more significant physical and mental energy.

Sleeping well is synonymous with living well, so pay more attention to those habits that, although sometimes go unnoticed, may affect your sleep quality. In addition to these five tips, try to lead a healthy lifestyle and exercise regularly. Create a comfortable sleeping environment by keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.

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