Melatonin, the natural hormone that plays an important part in our sleep-wake cycle. This hormone gets released into the brain in response to darkness and suppresses when it’s exposed to light.
I love my sleep, anyone who knows me well will know my bedtime is not long after my children’s.
Sometimes though, a good, quality night’s rest requires a little more effort than other days. Here are a few tips to help increase your melatonin naturally:
☾ Step outside. The sooner we expose ourselves to natural sunlight in the day, the earlier our melatonin production will occur in the evening.
☾ Relax and unwind. High levels of our stress hormone (cortisol) impact our melatonin production. Take the time to relax in the evening in preparation for bed. Try a warm bath or shower, meditate, read a book, or whatever it is that makes you feel at ease and relaxed.
☾ Limit screens. I know this is a hard one with so many great shows on Netflix, or having to unavoidably catch up on some work on the laptop, but blue lights from electronics sends signals to our brain shutting down any melatonin release. Try switching the screen off an hour or so beforehand, to give your brain a better chance at falling asleep more easily.
☾ Exercise daily. Exercise is packed with so many health benefits and it helps to decrease cortisol too. Studies have proven that the hormones we release whilst exercising (particularly in the morning) support our melatonin production in the evening.
☾ Limit caffeine in the afternoon/evening as this suppresses melatonin production and disrupts sleep throughout the night. Try some sleep herbal teas instead.
☾ Eat foods high in melatonin. These include tart cherries (tart cherry juice is available from most health stores), goji berries, kiwi fruit, eggs, fatty fish, and nuts.
Do you have any other tips to help get a better night’s sleep?