First up - when we talk about the benefits of natural melatonin, many people often assume that supplementing melatonin levels can be achieved through taking melatonin sleeping tablets. It’s an easy assumption to come to. Our bodies naturally produce the hormone melatonin, so melatonin tablets must be natural too, right?
We’re afraid not.
Natural vs. synthetic melatonin
Melatonin sleeping tablets are a synthetic hormone that exactly mimics the melatonin hormone our bodies produce.
Whilst melatonin tablets absolutely have their benefits for jet lag and circadian rhythm sleep problems, they should always be prescribed by a doctor who can advise how to take them correctly.
Synthetic tablets often contain more than 20 times the level of melatonin we actually need, therefore, we don’t recommend taking them over the counter (OTC).
Further reasons are outlined here in our article ‘is melatonin making your insomnia worse?’
In brief: melatonin explained
There’s a lot of confusion and conflicting advice about melatonin and we certainly don’t want to add to that, so we’ll explain what melatonin is and how it works before we talk about how to naturally boost your melatonin levels.
As we’ve touched on above, melatonin is a hormone that our bodies produce from serotonin.
A great night’s sleep requires the right levels of both serotonin and melatonin.
Melatonin’s job is to regulate our circadian sleep clock, whereas serotonin is responsible for triggering REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
Melatonin only makes up one part of our body’s sleep function, so taking melatonin on it’s own isn’t going to bring on quality sleep and it isn’t going to solve long term sleep problems.
Modern living and its impact on our natural melatonin levels
Modern living, for all its benefits can actually decrease our levels of natural melatonin. From the widely rebuked blue light screen on our smart phones at bedtime to modern farming techniques that decrease soil quality and therefore the vitamin quality in our foods, a natural boost of melatonin can be a good thing.
Below, we’ve explained easy ways you can boost your natural melatonin levels. Incorporate these simple guidelines into your day and night routine for a month and you’ll be sleeping better.
How to boost your melatonin levels naturally for better sleep
1. Eat melatonin rich foods.
- Turkey and chicken
- Asparagus, tomatoes, pomegranate, olives, grapes, oranges, pineapple, broccoli and cucumber
- Grains - rice, barley and oats
- Nuts and seeds - walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, mustard seeds, flaxseed
- Meat - Fish - specifically cod, salmon, trout and tuna, red meat and poultry
- Pulses - chickpeas and green pea
- Fruit and Vegetables: potatoes and bananas
- Grains - oats, rice and quinoa
- Meat - Turkey Breast, chicken breast, beef and tuna
- Nuts and seeds - Pistachios, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
- Pulses - Pinto
- Fruit - Avocado