You Need More Melatonin (Yes, You!)

Most people think they know a lot about sleep, but when you sit down and really ask the hard questions, they don't seem to know as much as they think they do. For example: do you know why humans sleep at night and stay awake during the day, when there are other life forms on this Earth who have a completely opposite sleeping schedule? Are there certain hormones in our body responsible for feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness? And how can we hack our brains and our bodies in order to make sure we get the best sleep possible?

If you want answers to these questions, you've come to the right place. Our sleep experts have done their research, and we know much more about the process than your average person. Specifically, we know all about one of the most important hormones in your body - melatonin, the sleep hormone - and why you can't get the sleep you need without it. In this article, we're going to explain everything you need to know about melatonin, we'll teach you how to get more of it, and we'll even point you in the right direction for recommendations on high quality melatonin sleep supplements.


Test Your Knowledge With These Melatonin Facts

All right, it's time to test your knowledge. Back when you were in school, did you ever have a teacher give the entire class pop quiz on the first day? Well, consider this next section your first day pop quiz. The good news is, obviously, we have no way of recording your answers and giving you a grade - so even if you don't get all the questions right, there's no need to feel bad about it. But this little quiz will give you some insight as to how much you know about your sleep patterns, and how much more work you need to do in order to get quality sleep each night.

True/False: The phenomenon of human beings being awake during the day and sleeping at night is known as The Circadian Cycle.

Answer: False! It's actually referred to as "The Circadian Rhythm". Think of it like a biological clock, but instead of pushing you to make babies, it's responsible for making you feel sleepy at night and awake during the day. Unfortunately, when we get off our natural circadian rhythm, we can feel tired and cranky during the day and wide awake at night when we're supposed to sleep. This is because melatonin is not released properly when our sleep cycle is out of balance.

True/False: Melatonin is released by the pineal gland in your brain.

Answer: True! The pineal gland sits close to your pituitary, near the very center of your brain. It works in tandem with the pituitary to regulate all sorts of biological processes in your body. When your circadian rhythm is reaching the "time to sleep" part of the day, serotonin is sent to the pineal gland to be converted into melatonin for release. And that's what makes people sleepy at night.

True/False: Melatonin has only one job in the body, and it isn't involved in any other biological processes.

Answer: False! Melatonin plays a role in dozens of different physiological processes. Beyond helping you sleep at night, melatonin protects you from oxidative stress, developing mood disorders, and can even help reduce your cancer risk. This is why melatonin deficiencies are so bad for your health - and why you need more of it!

The Final Step: Getting More Melatonin the Fast and Easy Way

There are some very simple strategies you can utilize if you want to start increasing your melatonin levels at night. And you should start with:

  • Getting more sunlight. We know, we know, medical experts have been talking incessantly about the threat of skin cancer and insisting that people limit their sun exposure. But the truth is that human beings need at least some sunlight exposure in order to stay mentally and physically healthy. Certain mental health conditions (such as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD) have been directly linked to lack of sun exposure. Furthermore, your body cannot make the vitamin D it needs to stay healthy, especially if you have a very fair complexion, without exposing your bare skin to direct sunlight. Starting tomorrow, if you can, take a 10-minute walk outside on your lunch break at work. This should give you enough sun exposure to reap the health benefits without elevating your skin cancer risk.
  • Staying away from electronic lights at night. Blue light from electronic devices tricks your brain into thinking it is still daytime. And if your brain thinks it's still daytime, it's not going to produce the melatonin it needs to lull your body to rest. Reading a book right before bed (an ink and paper one, not your Kindle) can definitely help calm an excited mind and eliminate exposure to blue light. But if you absolutely cannot help yourself, consider investing in a high-quality pair of blue light canceling glasses. Not only are they great for encouraging melatonin stimulation near bedtime, they're also good for people who work on the computer all day and suffer from eye strain.
  • Taking conscious control of your brain with mindfulness exercises. So, let's say you take our first two bits of advice in order to improve your sleep hygiene naturally and produce more melatonin. But you still have anxious thoughts keeping you awake at night. What do you do? Well, you can start practicing some sort of mindfulness exercise at bedtime. It can be regular meditation, it can be prayer, it can be anything you want (other than focusing and ruminating on your fears and anxieties). There are many free meditation apps and programs you can find on the internet which can help you get started.

Lastly - and most importantly - you should try taking a high-quality melatonin supplement, especially in the beginning. Our favorite is Avinol PM. Not only does it contain a higher dose of melatonin than most other supplements, but it also contains other natural sleep aids which people have relied on for centuries in order to get to sleep at night. We promise you that if you give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

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