Everybody has the right to happiness. Therefore, all of us have melatonin and serotonin, the happy hormones, moving around in our systems.
So, what do these happy hormones do? They facilitate a good mood and keep us motivated throughout the day. Besides regulating our appetites and social behavior, these hormones improve our sleep. We show you how they do so and what you can do to increase them if you have sleep problems.
What Are Melatonin and Serotonin?
What exactly are these happy hormones, and how do they work?
There are many reasons for wanting to increase this happy hormone. People refer to serotonin more than melatonin as the hormone that regulates mood and other processes. It may surprise you to know that endocrine cells which line the gut manufacture it.
Serotonin assists the blood’s clotting mechanisms. It also strengthens the bones. Low levels of this hormone will trigger:
- Sleeping too much
Too many carbohydrates raise inulin, which reduces serotonin. We tend to crave them when the weather is cold, which explains winter weight gain. The body uses starch to trigger serotonin production when there is no sunlight. Stress and depression lower serotonin levels. The low levels, in turn, increase food cravings and overeating.
Meet serotonin’s offspring, melatonin. Serotonin makes melatonin from an amino acid, tryptophan. Melatonin has a string of benefits.
First of all, it increases antioxidants and defends essential fatty acids. Melatonin also plays a part in improving a person’s lifespan. According to this study, it has this effect because it reduces free radicals. It increases natural killer cells (CD4), which fight cancer. Furthermore, melatonin increases testosterone, the male sex hormone. Consequently, it increases sex drive.
Most importantly, natural melatonin provides sleep support. And how does it do this?
3. The Role of Melatonin in Sleep
Our bodies have internal clocks that control our sleep cycles. Consequently, these clocks decide how much melatonin they make. Melatonin increases at night and drop in the morning. Therefore, the more of it our bodies have, the better our sleep. How much melatonin our bodies produce depends on how much light they receive. They may create it earlier or later in the day.
Nights are longer in the winter, which means higher melatonin production. Too much of it could lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder, a mood disorder in which people with otherwise even temperaments the most of the year experience depression during winter.
All this implies that the more melatonin that is in our bodies, the better we sleep. Because serotonin produces melatonin, we sleep better if we have more of it.
How to Increase Melatonin and Serotonin Naturally
Your body probably needs more happiness hormones if you find it difficult to sleep. Here are a few ways to enhance your serotonin and melatonin levels naturally.
a. Ease your sadness
First of all, take steps to relieve your depression. Grief is a top cause of sleeplessness. Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), an amino acid, is a useful hormone supplement for treating depression and giving you better sleep.
b. Calm yourself with vitamin B
Another way to reduce stress, increase serotonin and sleep better his to keep vitamin B complex supplements at your work desk. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which studied a community of older adults, showed that vitamin B stimulated serotonin production. It reduced depression in these adults and promoted better sleep.
c. St. John’s Wort
A herb proven to treat depression is St John’s Wort. A 2008 review suggests that it may be more effective than a placebo for treating depression.
This substance is naturally present in many of the foods we eat. Studies prove that it increases serotonin activity in the brain. It also relieves depression, and consequently, promotes better sleep. It is particularly efficient if mixed with magnesium. Try adding inositol powder to your smoothies.
a. No artificial lights
Ambient LED light blocks melatonin production at night. Start reducing it when the sun sets. Research shows that blue light blocks melatonin levels in the early hours of the morning. Stop checking messages on your cell phone or tablet before bed, as these devices use artificial backlights.
b. Get some sunlight
Also, the body will only produce melatonin at night if there is a complete shutdown during the day. To shut melatonin production down entirely, get proper doses of sunlight. Studies show that bright daylight can increase the amount of this happiness hormone.
d. Eat foods with Melatonin
Of course, one way to boost melatonin levels is to eat melatonin-rich foods. These include pineapple and cherries. Studies show that cherries have a significant amount of melatonin. This one shows that cherry juice affects sleep positively because it has this hormone.
e. Take a hot bath at night
Research proves that a hot shower at night relaxes the body. Furthermore, melatonin levels increase. Bathing decreases cortisol, which, in turn, increases melatonin.
f. No EMF or Wi-Fi exposure
Electrical devices have electromagnetic fields. High EMF levels are dangerous when you expose yourself to them over an extended period. Don’t put your cell phone under your pillow when you sleep. Remember to turn your Wi-Fi off at night to keep your melatonin levels optimal.
g. Reduce caffeine
Having coffee close to your bedtime reduces melatonin levels. White coffee beans have lots of melatonin. Ironically, too much coffee decreases melatonin production over time. Coffee drinkers usually find themselves needing more and more of it to stay mentally alert. If you must have your coffee fix, take decaffeinated coffee.
Praying or meditating before you sleep increases the melatonin in your body. Meditation relaxes you and reduces your stress. A calm mind allows the body to produce more of the happiness hormone. Studies show that people who meditate have more melatonin than those who don’t. Other research proves that it regulates sleep.
i. Hot milk
Milk is rich in melatonin. Having warm milk before bed will boost your melatonin levels and help you sleep. Make sure that you don’t consume pasteurized milk.
j. Eat foods rich in tryptophan.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that facilitates melatonin production. Foods rich in it will promote sleep. Examples of tryptophan-rich foods are spirulina, almonds, and peanuts.
In all, poor sleep doesn’t need to slow you down. Changing your lifestyle habits can increase your serotonin and melatonin levels. You will get more shut-eye as a result.
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