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5 Ways To Boost Your Natural Melatonin For Sleep

Boost Natural Melatonin For Sleep

First up - when we talk about the benefits of natural melatonin, many people often assume that supplementing melatonin levels can be achieved through taking melatonin sleeping tablets. It’s an easy assumption to come to. Our bodies naturally produce the hormone melatonin, so melatonin tablets must be natural too, right?

We’re afraid not.

Natural vs. synthetic melatonin

Melatonin sleeping tablets are a synthetic hormone that exactly mimics the melatonin hormone our bodies produce.

Whilst melatonin tablets absolutely have their benefits for jet lag and circadian rhythm sleep problems, they should always be prescribed by a doctor who can advise how to take them correctly.

Synthetic tablets often contain more than 20 times the level of melatonin we actually need, therefore, we don’t recommend taking them over the counter (OTC).

Further reasons are outlined here in our article ‘is melatonin making your insomnia worse?’

In brief: melatonin explained

There’s a lot of confusion and conflicting advice about melatonin and we certainly don’t want to add to that, so we’ll explain what melatonin is and how it works before we talk about how to naturally boost your melatonin levels.

As we’ve touched on above, melatonin is a hormone that our bodies produce from serotonin.

A great night’s sleep requires the right levels of both serotonin and melatonin.

Melatonin’s job is to regulate our circadian sleep clock, whereas serotonin is responsible for triggering REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

Melatonin only makes up one part of our body’s sleep function, so taking melatonin on it’s own isn’t going to bring on quality sleep and it isn’t going to solve long term sleep problems.

Modern living and its impact on our natural melatonin levels

Modern living, for all its benefits can actually decrease our levels of natural melatonin. From the widely rebuked blue light screen on our smart phones at bedtime to modern farming techniques that decrease soil quality and therefore the vitamin quality in our foods, a natural boost of melatonin can be a good thing.

Below, we’ve explained easy ways you can boost your natural melatonin levels. Incorporate these simple guidelines into your day and night routine for a month and you’ll be sleeping better.

How to boost your melatonin levels naturally for better sleep

 1. Eat melatonin rich foods.

    There are plenty of sleep aid foods that boost melatonin levels. The natural melatonin ‘new kid on the block’ is Montmorency cherry (also referred to as tart cherries, sour cherries and sleep cherries). Montmorency cherry contains a significant amount of melatonin that aids better quality sleep. This can be taken in supplement or juice form and studies have shown that adults get to sleep faster and stay asleep up to 84 minutes longer.
    Other melatonin rich foods include: 
    • Turkey and chicken
    No problem if you’re vegetarian or vegan, melatonin is found in plenty of fruit and Veg. In fact, they’re one of the best sources. Fruit and veg are a rich source of natural melatonin because they too are dependent on adjusting to the light and the dark in order to thrive.
    Some fruit and veg are more melatonin rich than others. Our favourites are:
    • Asparagus, tomatoes, pomegranate, olives, grapes, oranges, pineapple, broccoli and cucumber
    Other foods that contain melatonin are:
    • Grains - rice, barley and oats
    • Nuts and seeds - walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, mustard seeds, flaxseed
    2. Eat tryptophan rich foods
    Tryptophan is an amino acid that supports the production of melatonin by raising the body’s serotonin levels needed to make it.
    Foods that include significant levels of both Tryptophan and B6 are:
    • Meat - Fish - specifically cod, salmon, trout and tuna, red meat and poultry
    • Eggs
    • Pulses - chickpeas and green pea
    • Spirulina
    • Fruit and Vegetables: potatoes and bananas
    • Grains - oats, rice and quinoa
    3. Eat vitamin B6 rich foods
    Vitamin B6 is also important in the production of melatonin. The best vitamin B6 rich foods are:
    • Meat - Turkey Breast, chicken breast, beef and tuna
    • Nuts and seeds - Pistachios, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
    • Pulses - Pinto
    • Beans
    • Fruit - Avocado
    4. Banish screens from the bedroom
    Artificial light at bedtime suppresses the body’s production of natural melatonin, more so than any other artificial light source.
    This is very problematic because light is an important factor in managing our circadian rhythm (our internal sleep clock).
    Cells in our retina are finely tuned to respond to daylight. As the sun rises, our retinas tell the brain to stop producing drowsiness-inducing melatonin and start making the cortisol to wake us up.
    The short wave blue light from screens mimics daylight and that is what reduces melatonin production and makes it difficult to fall asleep.
    Our advice? Switch off from screens an hour before bed.
    5. Relax in a nice, hot bath
    There are many sleep benefits to taking a hot bath. The first is that our body temperature needs to cool down in order to feel sleepy. It is the drop in temperature after getting out of a hot bath that helps us to feel sleepy.
    The next is that research shows that a hot bath can actually increase the production of melatonin. Scientists aren’t sure yet but believe that relaxing in the bath reduces the stress hormone cortisol that wakes us up and brings on the production of melatonin.
    Throw in some lavender and have yourself the ultimate sleep ritual.
    Neuro Rest - an advanced night time complex contains natural sources of melatonin and tryptophan to effectively aid better quality sleep.
    How To Boost Your Natural Melatonin Levels
    The information shared in Utmost Me articles are not intended to replace qualified health care professional advice and are not intended as medical advice.  Always seek the advice of your GP or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.

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    • I would like to know more, as I have always been a poor sleeper,coped well when young, but not now.

      Beryl Willams on

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