Many have difficulty getting a good night’s sleep, even if you had enough time in your day to get in 8 or more hours of rest, many have difficulty falling asleep or wake up many times throughout the night. If you have difficulty sleeping, you’re not alone, it is estimated that 1/3 of Americans have trouble sleeping every night and over 50% have trouble at least several times each week.
One possible cause is a decrease in your body’s level of melatonin. Melatonin levels can be affected very easily and can drop off due to environmental factors, such as sleeping with bright lights on.
The pineal gland, which sits deep within the brain, is responsible for melatonin production. An adequate level of this hormone is necessary for regulating sleep cycles, and a restful night of sleep.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that is produced in the pineal gland. Melatonin production is what allows the body to relax and triggers sleepiness at night, the level decreases in the early morning.
The production of melatonin can easily be affected by environmental factors including, using artificial light and stress, which make it more difficult to fall asleep.
With the number of people who use cell phones, watch TV or use their laptop right before going to sleep, it’s no surprise that so many are low in melatonin and would benefit from increasing it.
With just a few simple changes you will be able to naturally increase melatonin which will help you get a good night’s sleep.
Top 7 Natural Ways to Increase your Melatonin Levels:
No artificial light at night
Ambient light or artificial light at night blocks the production of melatonin needed to get to sleep and stay asleep. Begin reducing blue and artificial light exposure starting at sunset, or 2-3 hours before bed. Make sure there are no lights on at night while you sleep. If necessary, use blackout curtains or an eye mask to block ambient light.
Eat melatonin-rich foods
Every plant on the planet carries a certain amount of melatonin. They, too, are dependent on making light/dark cycle adjustments in order to survive.
One way to naturally boost our melatonin levels is to eat more melatonin-rich foods. Studies show that tart cherries have a significant amount of melatonin in them, and are linked to deeper and better quality sleep.
Some of the foods that have high levels of melatonin or goji berries, tart cherries, walnuts, almonds, pineapple, tomatoes, bananas, oranges and many others.
No LED lights at night
The earth’s sun gives off about 25% blue light, while LED light bulbs, computer screens, cell phones and televisions give off blue light levels at about 35%.
Research shows that it is the blue light, in particular, that blocks the melatonin levels first thing in the morning which normally would help you wake up and start your day. Blocking melatonin at night, by watching TV or checking your emails on your phone, will compromise the full production of melatonin while you sleep.
This doesn’t just affect the depth of your sleep. Melatonin’s real job is to detoxify you, rebuild you and rejuvenate you during the wee hours of the night.
We may only need a small amount of melatonin to get us to sleep and keep us asleep, but hindering the full production of melatonin may not show its harmful effects for years to come. This is just one of the reasons why I encourage testing your melatonin levels now before it’s too late.
Take a hot bath at night
Research shows that taking a hot bath at night has a relaxing effect on the body, and a resultant boosting effect on melatonin levels!
Perhaps this is due to the relaxing effect on cortisol levels from a hot bath. As cortisol decreases, melatonin levels will rise.
Regulate your caffeine intake
Most people have figured out that if they drink a cup of coffee too late in the afternoon or in the evening, they don’t sleep as well that evening. While coffee beans are loaded with melatonin, much of their beneficial effects are neutralized by the caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and has been linked to a reduction in melatonin levels. Having a small amount of caffeine in the morning may help reduce melatonin production, but drinking excessive amounts of coffee or caffeinated beverages during the day can decrease melatonin production over time.
Unfortunately, most people who drink coffee find themselves needing more and more of it to experience the benefits of mental clarity, energy and bowel regulation. If you are going to drink coffee in the morning, try to limit the amount of caffeine you ingest so not to become dependent on taking more and more of it. Over time, the increased intake of coffee may reduce your natural production of melatonin.
No EMF or Wi-Fi exposure at night
Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are produced by pretty much every electrical device. Generally, the EMF levels are only dangerous when you are occupationally exposed to high levels of EMF for prolonged periods of time.
There is little research on Wi-Fi and cell phone service radiation on melatonin levels, but the research that has been done suggests reducing your exposure to EMF levels, particularly while you sleep, may offer an ounce of protection.
Avoid sleeping with your cell phone under your pillow, next to your pillow or next to your bed. Do your best to create a master Wi-Fi switch that can be turned off at night, power down your cell phones and computers and give your pineal gland every chance it can get to produce optimal melatonin levels.
Go to sleep early
Make sure to get a full night’s sleep in order to allow your body to go through all sleep stages and to not disrupt circadian rhythm. If possible, try to turn down the lighting in your home as it gets closer to nighttime and minimize the use of computers and TV’s especially right before bed.