Melatonin has become a popular topic as awareness increases about the importance of sleep for our health and wellbeing. But what is it and should we worry about it?
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone – a chemical naturally produced in your body – which helps to control your cycle of sleep and wakefulness. It’s made in the pineal gland in your brain, and is one of the things that can help you get a good night’s sleep. Your melatonin production is closely linked to light, so it rises at night and falls during the day.
Can you improve your levels naturally?
Yes! Melatonin production is affected by your lifestyle, so you do have control over some of the factors which manage melatonin levels.
Practising good sleep hygiene is the healthiest way to improve night-time melatonin levels. This simply means having a bedroom environment and daily routines and habits that help you sleep well.
Stick to regular times for bedtime and waking, and make your bedroom comfortable, without clutter or distracting devices. Bright lights (like those from electronic devices) late in the evening are particularly bad for affecting sleep. Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can disrupt your melatonin production.
Things that seriously disrupt sleeping patterns, like jetlag or working night shifts, can affect your melatonin levels. The impact of them can be reduced by following good sleep practices as much as possible.
Spending time outdoors in natural daylight strengthens your brain’s connection to night and day and supports melatonin production.
If you’re practising good sleep habits but still having problems with sleep, talk to us. There can be a variety of reasons, from lifestyle issues to pain or posture. We can help identify possible causes, and where appropriate offer advice and treatment.
Adam's Back is a team of dedicated complimentary health professionals. Our aim is to support you in finding drug-free solutions for better health.