Not getting enough sleep? Before you blame the construction going on outside of your window or your dog barking, ask yourself if this has been a long term problem. It might be an internal issue. Perhaps, your body isn’t producing enough melatonin to fall asleep and stay asleep. The human body naturally produces melatonin, but you can also add it to your diet in supplement form to aid with your irregular sleep patterns.
Daily Diet and Light Exposure Can Affect Sleeping Patterns
When your body isn’t producing enough melatonin naturally, don’t worry – there are ways to organically try to raise your natural melatonin levels.
Suggested Foods to Eat
According to Green Med Info, Khon Kaen University in Thailand conducted a study where 30 healthy human subjects were observed over a period of two weeks to see which fruits, if any, raised their natural melatonin levels. The results concluded that tropical fruits such as bananas, pineapples, and oranges were the highest contributors.
Other foods noted to naturally raise melatonin levels include, but are not limited to:
- Cherries, cherry juice
- Sweet corn
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 light and darkness, so you may not be spending enough time in the daylight.
A quick fix that can go a long way is to go for a 10-minute walk outside in the morning or afternoon – to let your body know that it is daytime. Many of us commute to work in some form of transportation be it a car, train or bus(minimal sunlight exposure), go into our office, order in lunch, and then leave the office to go home when it is dark out. This lack of natural light exposure confuses our bodies and in effect, throws off our circadian rhythms and the time of day in which melatonin is produced in our bodies. Your body thinks it is 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 will definitely be a start. Helping your body to recognize when it is daytime will go a long way with your natural melatonin production.
Another solution, that is easier said than done, 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
- Eat more melatonin producing foods.
- Allow your body to recognize the morning by going for a walk
- Try to get to bed a little earlier!
- Take a melatonin supplement