3 Ways To Produce Melatonin Naturally and Sleep Like A Baby
Updated: Aug 13
Melatonin supplements fly off the shelves. I know first-hand because I used to manage the supplements department at 2 different local health food stores. According to an article in Nutritional Outlook, melatonin sales grew nearly 29%, from $285 million to $367 million from 2018 to 2019.
I’m skeptical about melatonin supplements. From the research I’ve done, 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.
Now just because I don’t think you should take a melatonin supplement doesn’t mean you don’t need melatonin. The sleepy hormone helps your body relax and prepare for sleep so it’s an essential part of sleeping well. Luckily there are ways you can encourage your body to produce melatonin naturally so you fall asleep easily and stay asleep all night.
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, lowering your cortisol levels.
Check out this article to find ten ways to reduce stress so you sleep like a baby at night.
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 the 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. Eat melatonin-rich foods
Eating foods with natural melatonin before bed can help increase your melatonin stores as well. Melatonin-rich foods include:
Some of my clients rave about tart cherry juice. It has naturally occurring melatonin in it so I recommend that instead of melatonin supplements. You want to buy the concentrated liquid form without added sugar that’s found in the supplement section of health food stores.
Instead of taking a supplement, encouraging your body to produce melatonin on its own is safest and most effective.
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 I 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 every night and feel rested and full of energy every morning.