3 Ways To Produce Melatonin Naturally and Sleep Like A Baby
If you have trouble sleeping, you’ve probably tried melatonin supplements.
The form of melatonin you get in a pill isn’t the same kind that your body makes. Research shows that melatonin in supplement form isn’t proven safe or effective for general insomnia. It can be helpful to deal with jet lag or circadian rhythm disorders, but that’s about it. Many of my clients report that melatonin makes them feel groggy and out of it the next day, too. You can learn more about melatonin in the article I wrote for the Jackson Hole News and Guide last year.
The sleepy hormone helps your body relax and prepare for sleep so it’s an essential part of sleeping well. But I always recommend testing before I recommend supplements. The DUTCH hormone test I use shows melatonin levels. If a client has low melatonin, I usually recommend supplementing for a few months while we work on helping their body produce it naturally. Here are 3 ways you can encourage your body to produce melatonin naturally so you can sleep better.
1. Manage your stress
If you’re in fight or flight mode all day, your body is going to have a hard time lowering its stress hormones at night. Cortisol, one of your main stress hormones, suppresses melatonin and sabotages your sleep. This is why managing your stress during the day is key to sleeping well at night.
To help reduce stress, I suggest taking recovery breaks every hour or so throughout the day. Take 5-10 minutes, step away from your computer and phone, and take deep breaths or walk outside, so your cortisol levels will lower.
Here are more ways to reduce stress so you can sleep better.
2. Avoid blue light in the evening
Light tells your body whether it’s day or night and when you should be awake or asleep. As the sun goes down in the evening, your body starts to produce melatonin to get ready for sleep. If you keep the lights bright in your home or you stare at your computer or TV screen, your body will still think it’s daytime and it won’t start making melatonin.
The way to encourage melatonin production at night is to avoid blue light. You can dim the lights around your home an hour before bed. Or you can install blue-light blocking light bulbs in the rooms you use before bed. You want to avoid screens the hour before bed as well. If you absolutely can’t live without watching TV before bed (I love Netflix, too!), you can wear blue-light blocking glasses like Swannies so the blue light doesn’t block melatonin production.
3. Heal your gut
90% of melatonin is made by good bacteria in your gut. If you have low melatonin levels, that means your gut isn’t healthy.
Healing your gut involves more than just taking probiotics or drinking bone broth. If you have a pathogen like a parasite or bad bacteria, those creatures constantly damage your gut. You have to get rid of pathogens to allow your gut to heal. Dealing with pathogens is the most overlooked step when people try to heal their gut on their own. Here’s more info on the steps to restoring gut health.
Instead of taking a supplement, encouraging your body to produce melatonin on its own is safest and most effective for the long-term.
If you’ve tried melatonin and all the other sleep aids and nothing works, it’s not your fault. There’s something going on in your body that is keeping you awake at night, and we can find out what it is. The good news is that you can sleep well, I promise!
Schedule a call with me and I'll pinpoint what's standing in your way of a good night's sleep, help you make a plan to fix it and talk about what it looks like to work together so you can sleep well soon.