Give Your Sleep Hormone A Boost
Melatonin is a natural hormone created by your body’s pineal gland. It is also known as the “sleep hormone” as the production happens mainly when it is dark. This hormone is of particular importance to women, as it helps to control the timing and release of your reproductive organs, and determines when you start to menstruate, the frequency and duration of your menstrual cycles, and can even affect when you start perimenopause.
Studies have shown that this hormone plays a crucial role in a number of metabolic functions, including antioxidant and neuro-protection, anti-inflammatory defense and immune system support. It is also beneficial in suppressing ultraviolet or UV-induced damage to your skin cells, and is believed to act as a buffer to both environmental and internal stressors that affect your skin. Getting your melatonin levels up is therefore a very good thing.
We share 5 tips how to boost your sleep hormone to improve your heart and bone health and to reduce your risk of diabetes and obesity.
How to Boost Your Melatonin
1. Eat pineapples & other tropical fruits
Researchers from Khon Kaen University in Thailand have found that certain tropical fruits can boost your natural melatonin levels.
The scientists found that pineapples increased this hormone’s levels by over 266%, while bananas increased levels by 180% and oranges by around 47%. Other melatonin-boosting foods include oats, sweet corn, rice, tomatoes and barley.
2. Minimise artifial light
Artificial light and electromagnetic radiation should be minimised, as these affect your melatonin levels. Try to avoid having a television in your bedroom, and limit your screen time on your smartphone or tablet prior to going to sleep.
3. Keep it dark at night
Try not to switch the light on at night if you need to get up for any reason. Bright light stops melatonin production in its tracks and it takes time to increase again. As melatonin is optimised by the dark, it’s time to switch off those lights and draw your curtains. The darker your room, the better it is for your melatonin levels.
4. No midnight snacks
Avoid foods and drinks prior to retiring that may result in blood sugar imbalances or induce stress hormone production. These include heavy meals, sugar, caffeine or too much alcohol.
5. Have an active lifestyle
Be active during the day (particularly in winter); outside exercise and exposure to natural light promote a regular circadian rhythm of this hormone, which in turn will optimise production at night.
Boost your immunity with better food choices. Follow the link to read how specific food choices can improve your overall health.