How To Increase Melatonin Naturally And Without Supplements

Quality Sleep for a Quality Life

How To Increase Melatonin Naturally And Without Supplements

August 25, 2017 Lifestyle Solutions 14
How to increase melatonin naturally

 

Melatonin to sleep as a quarterback is to football

melatonin like football

When playing football, your team needs someone to direct the action in the field. You need a person to execute the coaches directives and lead the offensive. In football, it’s the quarterback’s job to take care of this.

In this respect, sleep happens to be a lot like football.

Your body uses its circadian rhythms to determine when it’s time to hit the sack. These circadian rhythms are like the coach in a football game, sending the higher up signal to the body that it should be asleep or awake.

Similar to football, your body needs a quarterback to execute these plans in the field. That’s where melatonin comes into play.

When your body decides that it’s time to sleep, it produces more melatonin. Melatonin directs all the necessary biological reactions that need to occur in order to cause you to fall and stay asleep. The end result? Restful and blissful sleep.

Except, that’s usually not the case…

Sometimes, our bodies produce lower than necessary melatonin levels, making it more difficult to fall into and stay asleep. This can be caused by poor sleeping habits, sleep disorders, drugs, and many other factors.

 

Not just a sleep problem

Lower than desirable melatonin levels don’t just cause you to feel more tired than normal. Low melatonin levels have been linked with higher probabilities of developing cancer, cardiovascular disease, and a weaker immune system.  

Melatonin is especially necessary for fighting and preventing cancer. Certain studies have shown that melatonin can destroy certain cancer cells, slow down tumor growth, and act as an antioxidant to prevent cancer development.

All benefits considered, it’s evident that melatonin is nothing short of a wonder hormone.

 

Unfortunately, many common factors cause melatonin to decrease 

Age is perhaps the most inevitable of these. Over time, our bodies melatonin levels start dropping. This leads to shorter REM sleep cycles, higher sleep demand, and other health issues.

Other factors that can contribute to lower than usual melatonin levels include drugs such as NSAIDs and beta blockers. Sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep related breathing disorders and circadian rhythm disorders are also contributing factors to lower melatonin levels.

Good news is that there are natural and perfectly healthy ways to increase melatonin levels get the amounts of this wonder hormone that you need. 

The following are tested ways to increase melatonin naturally and effectively without you having to take any kind of prescription or synthetic drugs. Most of these solutions involve tweaking one or a few aspects of your day to day activities to stimulate melatonin production while others involve ways to increase melatonin intake.  

 

6 Tactics To Increase Melatonin Naturally

1. Follow Proper Sleep Hygiene Habits

Sleep medicine has been placing an increasingly large emphasis on following proper sleep hygiene practices as treatment for sleep disorders like insomnia and restless leg syndrome.

And with good reason…

Oftentimes, the sleep related issues that we experience are due to poor sleeping habits. Many people aren’t aware of these behaviors because they’ve been doing it for so long that it has become second nature to them. 

Many of these small mistakes affect sleep because they decrease melatonin levels 

proper sleep hygiene for higher melatonin

As a result, the first solution to increase melatonin levels is to prevent this decrease from occurring in the first place. You can do this by following proper sleep hygiene.  

For example, you may be watching TV every night before going to bed, without knowing that doing so decreases melatonin levels due to blue light emissions from the TV screen. Other common sleep mistakes include sleeping in a less than pitch black room and sleeping in a room that’s not cold enough. 

For a full list of proper sleep hygiene practices, check out the Rested Life regularly updated free sleep hygiene fact sheet.

 

2. Eat the Right Foods

Odds are, you have melatonin rich food in your pantry at this very moment. 

It’s true. Melatonin is common in a wide variety of foods. Many common foods like rice, corn, and peanuts contain melatonin and offer great nutritional value. 

Eating each of these foods individually might not increase melatonin significantly. However, when combined they can make for a significant natural source of melatonin and help increase the concentration of much-needed antioxidants in your body. 

foods to increase melatonin naturally

Melatonin rich food isn’t the only food that can increase melatonin levels naturally. Providing your body with the necessary nutrients to make melatonin accomplishes the same thing. As a result, consuming foods that are rich in tryptophan increases serotonin production in the body. And since serotonin is used in melatonin production, eating more tryptophan rich foods = higher melatonin levels. 

 

Eat more turkey

For most people, the mention of tryptophan conjures images of Thanksgiving turkey. 

Although contains large amounts of tryptophan, it’s not the only food that does so. Check out the list below for high tryptophan food options. 

tryptophan foods for better sleep

 

3. Eat the Right Micronutrients

Though extremely important, tryptophan and serotonin aren’t the only compounds needed to produce melatonin. Some of the most important micronutrients for melatonin and better sleep include Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Magnesium, and Folic Acid.

sleep micronutrient foods

Micronutrients are used for innumerable biological reactions in the body. If that’s the case, why is it that even in 2017 Americans face vitamin deficiencies in potassium, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, and so many more essential micronutrients?

Failing to get enough of the right micronutrients hinders our body’s ability to produce important hormones like melatonin. Alternatively, by consuming enough micronutrients, you’ll be able to provide your body with the necessary materials to produce the necessary amounts of melatonin, along with other very important compounds.

Getting the right amounts of vitamins and nutrients each day is a necessary long term investment in your health. In addition to the nutrients that I get from my diet, I take this daily multivitamin to ensure that I’m meeting my daily quota. It helps fill many of the nutritional gaps in men’s diet.

 

4. Go Vampyre Mode at Night

Vampyres don’t like light. And when it’s time to sleep, neither should you.sleep like a vampyre

Melatonin production depends on how well the body’s circadian rhythms are operating. In the morning, more light signals the body to decrease melatonin production. At night, darkness signals the body to start melatonin production. 

Ultimately, it is natural sunlight that triggers melatonin production in the human body.

As a result, it’s very important to sleep in a pitch black room at night. This is one of the most important habits you can start incorporating into your daily life to prevent any decreases in melatonin production during bedtime.

Very important, but very often overlooked

It’s common for many people to sleep with different light sources on at night. Always turn of these light sources by either unplugging the electronic device or placing some kind of cover over it. Common sources of bedroom lighting include:

– lights from phone charging cable

– phone notification lights

– gaming consoles

– computers

– night lights

– lamp post lights coming in through the windows

Bedroom lighting can put a serious dent in your body’s circadian rhythms and lead to constant sleep complications. Often, people get used to these bedroom light sources and ultimately experience low quality sleep.

Once you go vampyre, you can’t go back

Once you begin sleeping like a vampyre, you’ll wonder how you slept otherwise.

After you’ve been sleeping in a pitch black room for a while, you’ll notice a big difference if you ever have to spend a night in a bedroom that’s not pitch black. I noticed this myself a few weeks ago when I had to stay over at a friends house during a trip. My friend’s blinds were broken and outside light was coming in through the windows. It was a struggle to fall and stay asleep that night. I had to borrow a blanket and place it over the windows to eliminate the light source.

 

5. Go Superman Mode in the Morning

Superman derives his power from the suns light rays. During morning time, so do you.sleep like superman

There are few better ways to wake up feeling energized and excited in the morning than stepping outside and soaking in some sunlight. The suns natural light tells your body that it’s time to wake up and halt melatonin production. You feel less groggy and more awake and aware.

More than a feeling

Waking up to natural sunlight is more than just a nice way to feel energized and awake in the morning. It also establishes a reference point for your body’s circadian rhythms. By waking up and soaking in sunlight in the morning, you halt melatonin production and tell your body’s sleep wake cycle to wake up at that time.

The body then starts using this as a reference point to help determine when to seize melatonin production and when to start it based on your 24-hour internal clock

This phenomenon is one of the reasons why it’s important to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. The more consistent your sleep/wake schedule is, the more effortlessly you will be able to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning.

 

6. Befriend the Gym

You probably knew this one would make it into the list. exercising and better sleep

If it seems like exercise is a solution for almost every sleep problem out there, that’s because it is. In past articles, we’ve talked about its benefits as a treatment for sleep apnea and its ability to improve sleep quality in general. 

Physical activity has been shown to boost melatonin production as well. In a study by researchers in Canada, scientists examined the melatonin levels of about 200 female subjects over time. The study specifically looked at changes in melatonin concentration as physical activity was performed. The study showed that melatonin levels spike up during physical activity. 

But the sweetness doesn’t stop there

Researchers have known for a long time that exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer in women. Using the aforementioned research, scientists have come up with a possible mechanism for why exercise decreases the risk of breast cancer.

It was postulated that spikes in melatonin levels due to physical exercise lead to greater amounts of cancer-fighting melatonin. The higher amounts of melatonin are ultimately what suppress and decrease the risk of breast cancer. 

Exercise is a solution to so many health problems,  I’m convinced it’s as close as humanity will ever get to a true panacea. The increase of melatonin and the anticarcinogenic abilities are just another point in an already long list of reasons to exercise regularly



 

Although melatonin supplements may be an easy fix to decreasing melatonin levels, if you prefer natural ways to increase melatonin that work in the long term, following these tactics is the way to go. 

Please share this post with anyone you believe might benefit from it. If you have any questions or suggestions on this post or would like to see other posts about the topic, feel free to add any suggestions below. 

 

Stay Rested

Juan

 

 

14 Responses

  1. Luna says:

    I really enjoyed your post. I am guilty of some of the things you wrote about that reduce melatonin and reduces sleep. I cannot go Vampire mode I would never go to sleep.

    I suffer from Tinnitus and leave my television on all night so I can mask the noise that is coming from my ears. I have decided to change my diet so I will make note of your suggestion.
    I like the Superman mode. I take walks in the mornings when the weather allows it.
    Thanks for the post.

    • Juan Avila says:

      Taking walks in the morning is a great way to boost your overall health and help you be more productive overall. Maybe you can try using a loud fan to help mask some of the noise and help you sleep better. This would also make the room cooler which also helps with sleep.

  2. Marcie says:

    Interesting stuff!
    I have sleep problems because I work night shifts a lot, and I cannot sleep during the day very well.
    Have you got any tips for me, as I’m becoming more and more exhausted!
    Thanks in anticipation!

    • Juan Avila says:

      I actually plan on publishing a post about this soon. Night shifts can be pretty hurtful to your sleep, as you might be able to tell.

      To get the best sleep you can while working night shifts, you’re gonna have to trick your body’s circadian rhythms into believing that you’re falling asleep at night and waking up during the day. That means falling asleep around 7am (as soon as you get out of work and while it’s still dark outside), keeping a dark room by having black curtains, and then waking up in the afternoon after about 7.5 hrs of sleep. When you wake up, also make sure to go outside to get a few minutes of sunlight so that your bodies internal clock knows it’s time to wake up and ceases melatonin production.

  3. brad says:

    As a person who has endured insomnia for years, I found the article very interesting.
    Along with insomnia, I also have severe sleep apnea-they say close to the danger level after doing a sleep study overnight class.
    They did not however, explain so much on melatonin and how I myself can get a decent nights sleep.
    Is there the chance that your body gets too much Melatonin? Or is the real issue lack of?

    I look forward to more posts on this subject.

    thanks in advance

    • Juan Avila says:

      Hi Brad
      Great question. Yes, as with anything else, too much of anything can be a bad thing. Melatonin is no exception. The effectiveness of melatonin is partially depended on when it is taken, and even more so on the dosage. Taking too much can make you feel pretty miserable and cause you to feel tired at the wrong moments. At the end of the day, melatonin is a big regulator of the body’s circadian rhythms. Since your circadian rhythms control so many different aspects of your body functions (such as hormone production, sleep cycle, etc.) taking too much can be very detrimental.

  4. Matts Mom says:

    This is great information for me. I do feel tired a lot and I do suspect that my melanin levels are low. Sadly, a lot of the foods I am not fond of LOL. Guess I am pickier than I thought. But I do like some of them and I can beef up my eating habits with them. I also do work out a lot at the gym (about 3 to 4 hours a day), so this is my most helpful advantage for the melanin? And I do believe it is melanin instead of melatonin? Just thought you should know so you can correct the spelling 🙂 Thanks for the great information! I just got out of the hospital, researching somethings and found your great website. I will book mark it and look for more great information from you.

    • Juan Avila says:

      Hi
      Thanks for the feedback 🙂 . Working out is always a great action to take to improve sleep, glad to hear you’re doing all that. Just a heads up:

      Melanin is a name for the pigments that change skin color into darker tones upon exposure to UV. It’s produced when Tyrosine, one of the non-essential amino acids in the human body, loses an electron and begins a polymerization reaction.

      Melatonin is the name of the hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness cycles in animals.

      It’s easy to confuse the two, so I wrote this quickly for reference.

  5. Rob says:

    Loved this post. Those are six ways of increasing melatonin naturally and healthy. Would you be against taking melatonin products? I use to have troubles sleeping and I took melatonin from the pills. It helped me but then I started to think it was making me more drowsy during the day. I love the micronutrients to increase melatonin. They are all healthy foods and a couple treats in there to taste even better like the dark chocolate. Thanks for sharing.

    • Juan Avila says:

      I’m a huge fan of dark chocolate myself, ever since my doctor told me years ago that it can actually improve asthma. Not sure if that’s been disproved since then but I like to think I eat it for health reasons lol.

      I wouldn’t be against taking melatonin supplements, so long as they’re taken sparingly and from a trusted manufacturer. Melatonin is one of those supplements that isn’t regulated by the FDA because it is naturally produced by the body. This means that manufacturing companies don’t have to comply with those standards.

      I actually have a post about this that I will be publishing soon. Stay tuned!

  6. Jamie says:

    What a great article! Not sure why, but for some reason I had no idea there was melatonin in food. There is a lot of interesting and helpful info in this post. I will totally share this with other people. I think it is very important. Thanks so much for the information…I think I should go to the gym now and then pick up some walnuts!

    • Juan Avila says:

      Thanks Jamie. Like you, many people are surprised to find out that certain foods do have melatonin. It might have to do with the fact that it’s in relatively low concentrations. Still, when combined, eating the right foods can make a difference in regulating melatonin levels.

  7. Furkan says:

    My curtain always allows light to come in and I thought it was not such a big deal. Also, my sleep is not well lately. I think first I will get a new curtain and if it does not help, I will have a look at nutrient options.

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