Here's How To Boost Your Melatonin Production For A Better Night's Sleep

We've all been there. You know, when you wake up in the morning and it feels like you have been up all night. That sluggish feeling then follows you around the entire day and ends up ruining your productivity. Then, when nighttime comes again, you suddenly feel more awake than ever, causing you to stay up all night. That endless cycle repeats itself daily until you feel out of sorts with no solution at hand. Wondering why this happens? The answer you're looking for may lie with your body's melatonin production.


According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, melatonin is responsible for promoting sleep. Produced naturally in your body, "melatonin levels rise about two hours before bedtime," according to Johns Hopkins sleep expert Luis F. Buenaver. When your body isn't producing the right amount of melatonin or it isn't producing it at the right time, you can have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep.

There are a variety of hacks out there to get better rest, such as the Military Method and Progressive Muscle Relaxation (via Sleep Cycle). But they may not be for everyone. Instead, there are a lot of ways that you can naturally trigger your body to produce higher levels of melatonin so that you can get the restful sleep you deserve.


Foods that can increase melatonin

Your diet can have a huge effect on your sleep habits and simply integrating certain foods into your diet, or eliminating some, can help regulate your melatonin production naturally without the need for any major changes. According to The Sleep Doctor, melatonin-rich foods include milk, pistachios, tart cherries, fatty fish, rice, and bananas. On the flip side, foods like chocolate, tomatoes, and citrus fruits can keep you up at bedtime because they can trigger acid reflux or digestion issues.


Another popular way to increase melatonin levels is by taking melatonin supplements. Dr. Jennifer Martin, psychologist and professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, is one of the many sleep experts who recommend starting with the lowest possible dosage available when taking supplements. "If you try a dose, stick to it for a few days before you make an adjustment," she told The New York Times. "It's one of those things that may not happen overnight."

As always, whenever you consider taking supplements, it's a good idea to discuss them with your doctor first, as there can also be underlying health issues affecting your sleep.

Lifestyle changes that promote better sleep

According to the Sleep Foundation, maintaining a bedroom environment with optimal conditions for sleep can help you to unwind at night. These conditions include keeping the room quiet and relaxing and potentially investing in new bedding or a new mattress. Ensuring the room is as dimly lit as possible can also promote better sleep "because darkness is what triggers the body to create melatonin." (via Bustle)


Ditching your electronics close to bedtime can also be helpful. Rose MacDowell, chief research officer at Sleepopolis, told Bustle that blue light, like that from laptops and smartphones, can negatively affect our sleep. "Blue light sends signals through the retina to the brain, which shuts down melatonin release in response," she said. Additionally, even habits as simple as taking a warm bath or meditating before bed can help whisk you off to sleep. 

Break the cycle of bad sleep habits and try these ways to boost your melatonin production, because getting enough restful sleep is worth it.