Before you go blaming any outside forces or factors beyond your control for your lack of sleep, ask yourself if lack of sleep always been a problem in your life. It might be an internal issue. Perhaps your body isn’t producing enough melatonin to fall, and stay, asleep. The human body naturally produces the hormone melatonin in order to regulate your sleep cycle, but you can also add it to your diet in supplement form to aid with any irregular sleep patterns.
Diet and Light Exposure Can Affect Sleeping Patterns
If your body isn’t producing enough melatonin naturally, there are ways to organically raise your natural melatonin levels.
Suggested Foods to Eat
A study was recently conducted to see which fruits raised subjects’ natural melatonin levels over a two week period. The results concluded that tropical fruits such as bananas, pineapples, and oranges were the highest contributors.
Some other foods noted to naturally raise melatonin levels include, but are not limited to: Cherries, cherry juice, oats, sweet corn, rice, ginger, barley, mangosteen and tomatoes. Consuming these foods regularly can help set your body on the right track for a good night’s sleep.
If you don’t already eat these foods, a great way to incorporate them into your diet is by making a simple smoothie. All you need is a blender, some fruit, and whichever other vegetables, yogurts, or other ingredients you want to add in.
Change in Daily Behavior
Depending on your home and work situation, your body might not be producing enough melatonin at the appropriate time of day. Our circadian rhythms respond to changes in light and darkness, so you may not be spending enough time outside.
A quick fix that can have a lasting impact is to go for a 10-minute walk outside in the morning or afternoon to let your body know that it’s daytime. Many of us commute to work in some form of motorized vehicle that offers minimal sunlight exposure, go into our office, order in lunch, and then leave the office to go home when it is already dark out. This lack of exposure to natural light confuses our bodies and throws off our circadian rhythms and the time of day at which melatonin is produced naturally in our bodies. Your body thinks it’s supposed to be awake at night, which is why you may have trouble sleeping. Going for a walk during the day will not solve all of your sleeping problems, but it is definitely a start towards a better night’s sleep. Helping your body readjust to changes in the time of day will go a long way towards boosting your natural melatonin production. Plus, we could all use an extra 10 minutes walking outside to get slightly more active and soak in some Vitamin D!
Another solution is to go to bed earlier. Going to bed when it is dark out can help set your body back on track to help secrete the hormones needed to function properly. This will make your body more alert during the day, rather than at night.
How to Raise your Melatonin Levels
1. Eat more melatonin producing foods.
2. Allow your body to recognize the morning by going for a walk.
3. Get to bed earlier.
4. Take a melatonin supplement.