5 Ways to Make Melatonin Naturally
Millions of Americans have difficulty sleeping each year.
According to a survey from the National Sleep Foundation in 2011, two-thirds of Americans say their sleep needs are not being met during the week. Forty percent of adults say that they are so sleepy during the day that it interferes with their daily activities. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is worse for women. Researchers at Duke University found that sleep deprived women experienced higher amounts of depression, psychological stress and anger, not to mention higher levels of insulin, c-reactive protein and interleukin 6, which are markers of inflammation. Lack of sleep is associated with high blood pressure, type II diabetes, heart disease, depression, cancer and obesity.
Functions of Sleep:
- Rejuvenates the body and mind
- Recharges the immune system
- Repairs injuries
- Recovery from workouts and other strenuous activities
- Helps sort and store everything learned, felt or experienced during the day
- Promotes growth, enhances memory, sharpens the mind, stabilizes the emotions
- Slows the aging process
- Aids in waste removal in the brain & clearing of the mind (going to bed to clear your head, sleeping on it, etc.)
Signs & Symptoms of Sleeplessness:
- Fatigue or malaise
- Attention, concentration or memory impairment
- Poor performance in the workplace or at school
- Mood disturbances or irritability
- Daytime drowsiness
- Lack of motivation
- Concerns or worries about sleep
- Trouble focusing
- Daily reliance on caffeine on caffeine (coffee, energy drinks and pills to stay awake and function throughout the day).
There is an increasing body of evidence supporting the link between lack of sleep and obesity, increased inflammation and heart disease. Sleep deprivation affects appetite regulation by causing an increase in ghrelin (a hormone that stimulates the appetite) and a decrease in leptin, “the satiety hormone.”
5 Ways to Produce Melatonin Naturally:
Minimize artificial light in the evening. Light exposure after the sun goes down suppresses natural melatonin production. Download f.lux (justgetflux.com) which adjusts the light on the screen to mimic the time of day and night minimizing blue light exposure. Using amber eyewear around the house at night is another option to support melatonin production. Will you look a little silly? Yes, but I use these every night and they work like a charm.
Set an alarm to wrap up the work day before the sun sets. Just as you would set an alarm to wake up in the morning. Make it the same time everyday so your internal clock adjusts.
Make the bedroom pitch black. Dim your alarm clock as much as possible or turn it face down. Use blackout curtains or a sleep mask. A great product called Indow. Indows are customized window inserts that block out light and sound. Depending on the season, they also prevent heat from seeping out of the room, or keeping the bedroom cooler which is great for energy efficiency.
Turn off all technology an hour before bedtime. Quitting this cold turkey can be quite challenging so do it in chunks. Start with turning off all technology 5 minutes before bedtime for a week, then increase it by 5 minutes the following week, and so on. Try reading a real book (remember those?) instead.
Remove the TV from the bedroom: This is a biggie for a lot of people, especially if you feel like you need the TV to fall asleep. Try watching 5 minutes less each week. Or take it out altogether.
Hope this info helps you take those first steps in changing your habits to create great sleep, more energy and help you be more purposeful and productive.
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