Top 12 Natural Ways to Boost Your Melatonin Production

When it comes to healthy living, a good night’s sleep is key. Sure you feel good after a restful night’s sleep, but its importance goes beyond boosting your mood. Getting enough sleep has direct and positive effects on your weight, heart, mind, and overall well-being. 

Although we all understand the benefits of sleep, the CDC estimates that 1 in every 3 Americans do not get enough sleep. Many factors can be attributed to this epidemic, but one in particular stands out.

Many people have low melatonin levels. Nor do they have the know-how to naturally boost melatonin production on their own.

During a 24-hour period, each of us produces melatonin, which controls when we go to sleep and when we wake up. This cycle is called the circadian rhythm and it is very sensitive to outside factors. There’s a reason why it’s nearly impossible to get out of bed on a rainy day. Or why many people experience seasonal depression during winter months. Those who work in front of a computer all day have a hard time falling asleep, as well as those suffering from anxiety.

How to Increase Your Melatonin, Naturally

When melatonin levels are high, you start to feel sleepy. But when levels are low, it can be almost impossible to fall asleep. Thankfully, there are ways to boost your melatonin levels and regain control of your sleep cycle. Let’s take a look at our list of the top 12 natural ways to boost your melatonin levels.

1. Increase Natural Sunlight Exposure

Most of us wake up in the morning while it’s still dark. We commute to work, park in the parking garage, and sit in an office all day. By the time we make it home, it’s already dark again. By limiting your exposure to natural sunlight, you are confusing your body’s natural clock. Your body thinks it’s supposed to be awake throughout the night and therefore does not know when to produce melatonin.

Try taking time out of your day for a ten-minute walk outside. Aim for the morning hours, but if you are pressed for time, get outside during your lunch break. This will let your body know that it is daytime and will help in resetting your circadian rhythm.

2. Go to Bed at A Reasonable Time

Make sure you’re going to bed early enough to get at least 8 hours of sleep. When you stay up late, your body doesn’t produce enough melatonin at the right time. This makes you sleepy in the morning and awake in the evening. This feeling can be very similar to jetlag and can take sometimes days to overcome. Just this slight change in routine can naturally raise your melatonin levels.

3. No Artificial Lights at Night

Computer screens, cell phones, light bulbs, and televisions give off what is called blue light. Blue light blocks the production of melatonin. Watching TV or checking your emails in the morning help wake you up, but doing this at night will prevent you from falling asleep.

Try reducing your exposure to artificial lights 2-3 hours before you go to sleep. This will ensure a high melatonin production by the time you go to bed.

4. Eat More Melatonin-Rich Foods

Eating foods with high amounts of tryptophan will naturally increase melatonin production. Tryptophan is an amino acid that your body does not produce naturally, but it is needed in the production of melatonin. Tryptophan can be found in most foods that contain protein, including almonds, oats, turkey, chicken, and cottage cheese.

5. Invest in a Weighted Blanket

Another great way to naturally boost your melatonin levels is with a weighted blanket. For years, occupational therapists have been using weighted blankets as a therapeutic tool. Weighted blankets put pressure on the body’s sensory receptors, soothing the nervous system and regulating hormone production.

Researchers found that after using a weighted blanket, serotonin levels increased by 28%, and dopamine by 31%. Not only do these “happy hormones” have a positive effect on your mood, but serotonin is directly linked to melatonin production. When serotonin levels are high, melatonin production increases.

6. Keep Your Bedroom Dark

Those who work night shifts can appreciate the connection between sunlight and sleep. Trying to go to sleep in the early hours of the morning is a daunting task. Only when their bedroom is dark enough to naturally increase melatonin production, can they fall asleep.

Keep all blinds closed and do not use night lights. When there is too much light in the room, your body thinks it’s daytime and will not produce melatonin.

7. Deal with Stress

Melatonin isn’t the only hormone that fluctuates with our sleep and wake schedules. Cortisol, the body’s natural stress hormone, also plays a role in our internal clock. However, cortisol levels fluctuate on an opposite cycle. Production naturally increases during the day and decreases at before bed.

However, if you are stressed, cortisol levels remain high and melatonin production cannot start until those levels begin to decrease again. These two hormones become misaligned and your sleep schedule gets thrown off.

 Try incorporating meditation, yoga, exercise, or journaling into your daily routine. This will help keep your stress levels under control, which will decrease cortisol levels.

8. Cut Down On Caffeine Intake

Although we all love a warm cup of coffee in the morning, drinking coffee late in the day actually block melatonin production. Caffeine triggers the body’s “fight or flight” response and increases the stress hormone, cortisol. Drinking too much caffeine can make you irritable, nervous, and unable to fall asleep. These symptoms mimic anxiety symptoms, even in a healthy person.

If you still want to sip on something warm in the evening, try making the switch to caffeine-free drinks. Chamomile, chai tea, and even lemon water contain natural antioxidants that won’t give you the jitters.

9. Eat More Magnesium

Magnesium also naturally boosts your melatonin levels. You can find magnesium in spinach, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, black beans, avocados, and dark chocolate.

10. Take a Hot Bath or Shower

Another great way to naturally boost your melatonin levels is to take a hot bath or shower. If you have access to a steam or sauna room, even better! Heat naturally reduces tension in your muscles and boosts neuron activity in your brain. Sweating during a workout, or even laying out in the sun will reduce cortisol levels, allowing your melatonin production to increase.

11. Reduce Wi-Fi Exposure at Night

Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) can be dangerous when exposed for long periods of time. As of today, there is not much research on the effects of Wi-Fi and cell phone radiation. But we do know that exposure to EMFs reduces melatonin production.

Avoid sleeping with your phone next to your head, and if possible, turn off your Wi-Fi at night. This will give your body the chance to produce enough melatonin before you go to sleep.

12. Quit Smoking

Smoking cigarettes at night actually reduces the amount of melatonin in your body. If you smoke, try to limit your cigarettes to the morning, or better yet, kick the habit completely. If you need help quitting, consult your doctor.

Additional Ways to Increase Melatonin Production Naturally

Located in the pineal gland, melatonin is a hormone that controls sleep and is normally produced in our bodies at night. A lack of melatonin disrupts your sleep cycle, which in turn can cause serious health issues such as insulin resistance which further leads to diabetes.

Individuals who face difficulty falling asleep often resort to melatonin supplements or sleeping pills, but these can cause other side effects such as addiction. Thus, it is best to increase melatonin naturally. Besides those mentioned above, here are some additional ways in which you can do that.

1. Incorporate a Rich Diet

A rich diet is the answer to countless health issues, plus it will keep you fit as an added bonus. You can opt for melatonin rich foods such as corn, cucumbers, fish, asparagus, olives, milk, pomegranate, eggs, walnuts, flax, barley, goji berries and rolled oats.

Many of these are everyday items that we normally consume. Still, you need to make sure that you get a balanced amount of these ingredients so that your body produces the desired amount of melatonin.

2. Exercise Daily

If you already have a daily workout routine, that’s great. Whether it’s walking, running, cycling, swimming or any other sport - it is likely to increase your body’s natural melatonin production.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you need to workout during the day. This is because your body needs time to cool off so evening workouts can potentially result in a disrupted sleep cycle.

If you’re struggling with extremely low levels of melatonin, try the corpse pose in yoga. Research shows that it has a direct link with higher levels of melatonin.

Another alternative to exercise, especially for older adults who cannot afford to exert their bodies so much, is meditation. Since individuals with stress and anxiety have trouble falling asleep, meditation can be used to help them remain calm and composed. When the body is at ease, it releases melatonin naturally. 

3. Add Lavender to Your Room

Experts have stated that smelling lavender results in an improved quality of sleep. Whether you buy a lavender scented candle, a lavender perfume, use lavender scented essential oil in a diffuser or even place lavender flowers in your room - the end result is the same.

The link between lavender and sleep quality has been scientifically proven. Hence, this is a sure-fire way to increase melatonin.

4. Buy a Pair of Blue Light Glasses

Also called amber-tinted glasses, blue light lenses help reduce the glare of screens. While the preferred way of increasing melatonin levels is to switch off all screens at least an hour before bedtime, many of us have lifestyles that don’t allow that.

Thus, if you must use a screen before you sleep, invest in a pair of amber-tinted glasses. You can easily find them on Amazon, but many optic stores are also selling them now. Your eye doctor can also prescribe blue light lenses to protect your eyesight as well as keep your melatonin levels balanced.

Increase Your Melatonin Levels with a Weighted Blanket

During a 24-hour period, each of us produces hormones that control when we go to sleep and when we wake up. This cycle is called the circadian rhythm and it is controlled by a hormone called melatonin. Produced in the pineal gland in the brain, this hormone is responsible for your body’s internal clock. When melatonin levels are high, you start to feel sleepy. But when levels are low, it can be almost impossible to fall asleep.

A great way to adjust your sleep schedule is to naturally increase your melatonin levels.

Why Can’t I Fall Asleep?

The circadian rhythm it is very sensitive to outside factors. There’s a reason why it’s nearly impossible to get out of bed on a rainy day. Or why many people experience seasonal depression during winter months. And those who work in front of a computer all day have a hard time falling asleep.

We know that two major factors naturally affect melatonin production: sunlight and stress. In the evening when the sun starts to set, melatonin production naturally rises. It continues to rise throughout the night, and slowly drops when the sun comes up again.

Those who work night shifts can appreciate the connection between sunlight and sleep. Trying to go to sleep in the early hours of the morning is a daunting task. Only when their bedroom is dark enough to naturally increase melatonin production, can they fall asleep.

Melatonin isn’t the only hormone that fluctuates with our sleep and wake schedules. Cortisol, the body’s natural stress hormone, also plays a role in our internal clock. However, cortisol levels fluctuate on an opposite cycle. Production increases during the day and decreases at before bed.

However, if you have anxiety symptoms, cortisol levels remain high. This means that melatonin production cannot start until those levels begin to decrease again. These two hormones become misaligned and your sleep schedule gets thrown off.

What Helps in Increasing Melatonin?

If left untreated, a thrown off sleep schedule can greatly affect your quality of life. You’ll find it hard to concentrate. Your production levels at work and school will greatly decrease. A lack of sleep fuels depression and anxiety, making your current situation even worse. Insomnia also has a direct link to weight gain and other serious health issues.

Many people with low melatonin levels take melatonin supplements. Although effective, you should take these supplements in small doses for only a short period of time. They also have side effects such as daytime sleepiness, dizziness, and short-lived depression.

Luckily there are natural ways to increase your melatonin production.

For years, occupational therapists have been using weighted blankets as a therapeutic tool. Weighted blankets put pressure on the body’s sensory receptors. This added weight soothes the nervous system and regulates hormone production.

Weighted Blankets & Melatonin

But how does Deep Pressure Therapy increase your melatonin production? Researchers found that Deep Pressure Therapy increases serotonin levels by 28%, and dopamine by 31%. These “happy hormones” have a positive effect on your mood and are directly linked to melatonin production.

The brain uses serotonin to make melatonin. This means that when serotonin levels are high, melatonin levels are elevated as well. Researchers also found that deep pressure significantly decreases cortisol levels. After applying deep pressure, cortisol levels dropped by 31%.

The effects of this natural realignment are huge. Not only will this positively affect your quality of sleep, but your quality of life as well. Investing in a weighted blanket is a great way to naturally increase your melatonin levels.

Conclusion

By making these small adjustments and investing in a weighted blanket, you can naturally boost your melatonin production and get a better night's sleep. You can regain control of your sleep schedule, without the side effects of other sleeping aids.You deserve to wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.


If you have any questions or other ideas on how to naturally increase melatonin production, please comment below!

Reviews (2 comments)

  • David Morgan On

    This is a very informative blog about natural ways to boost melatonin, but I think the use of melatonin supplements are also very helpful in boosting melatonin production in the body. But for this your’s doctor recommendation is compulsory

  • Adam J On

    Hi,
    I found this blog very interesting and informative but I want to add some more points which are missing here and I think that they are also helpful in increasing melatonin.

    1. Take A Break From Technology
    2. Try "Corpse Pose
    3. Drink Water Instead
    4. Start An Exercise Routine
    5. Wear Amber-Tinted Glasses

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