Getting enough sleep is instrumental to overall health and wellness. According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, more than 1 in 3 adults in America are coming up short on sleep regularly.
Unfortunately, a lack of sleep can drain energy, put a dent in productivity and increase the risk of a number of diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Because of this, many people are looking to natural sleep aids like melatonin to help them get the rest that they so desperately need.
Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by a gland at the base of the brain, the pineal gland and in a few other places in the body like the retina. This gland regulates our sleeping and waking cycle known as the circadian rhythm or 24-hour internal clock. This is the clock that controls how much melatonin is produced.
Not only does melatonin regulate your sleep but it also helps regulate blood pressure, hormone levels, and body temperature to name just a few.
Melatonin levels generally start to rise in the mid to late evening just as the sun is going down. At this point, it remains high for the night. As the sun comes up and the rooster crows, melatonin levels start to drop just a bit as we start to wake up.
Impacts On Melatonin Production
Often times, our lifestyles contain quite a few artificial lights like those blue lights emitted from phones, computers, and televisions. These can all wreak havoc on our natural wake and sleep cycle as well as melatonin production. This is one very good reason why you should shut down all electronics at least an hour before you go to bed so that you have time to wind down. Alternatively, consider wearing blue light blocking glasses.
Another issue is that as we age, our production of melatonin begins to slow down and this makes it hard for older adults to sleep well.
Studies have connected melatonin suppression in the night to a number of health problems including obesity, cancer, metabolic syndrome as well as mental conditions such as depression.
Foods That Increase Melatonin
Some foods that naturally increase melatonin production include oats, bananas, tart cherries, barley, and walnuts, however, if your body isn’t producing enough on its own naturally, supplementing with melatonin is also an option.
Benefits Of Melatonin Supplements
Taking a melatonin supplement will help not only with sleep but can also do the following:
- Help prevent insulin resistance and diabetes.
- Help reduce blood pressure.
- Help protect the heart because of its powerful antioxidant activity.
- Help with fertility by improving the overall quality of sperm.
- Help strengthen the barrier between the brain and blood.
- Helps protect cells in the eyes from damage from free radicals.
There are a number of good quality melatonin supplements, but for quality and affordability, try this Nature’s Bounty 3 mg Melatonin.
How To Make Your Own Natural Melatonin Gummies
Here is a delicious all natural melatonin supplement that you can make at home. The cherry juice is an added bonus that can also contribute to a great night’s sleep.
- ½ cups tart cherry juice
- ½ cup water
- 1/4 cup gelatin powder
- 3 tablespoons raw honey
- small pipette/dropper
Bring the water and tart cherry juice to a simmer.
Add in the powdered gelatin. Mix the gelatin powder into the juice, then add the honey.
Gently whisk for 2-3 minutes until gelatin has dissolved.
Pipe in the amount of liquid melatonin you want for each gummy. I used 30 drops in each of my silicone cavities.
Pipe in enough of the cherry juice mixture to fill the mold. Let the gelatin mixture set until firm in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Once set, remove the gummies from the mold. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
To use: take one gummy about 30 minutes before bedtime.
Note: Melatonin is an effective sleep aid that should only be taken for the short-term. It is not a cure for insomnia or other sleep disorders. As with all supplements, talk to your doctor before you start using supplements on a regular basis.
More Natural Remedies For Better Sleep
In addition to melatonin, there are a number of other healthy ways to get the help you need to fall asleep and stay asleep all night so that your body can recharge.
Lavender essential oil – The sweet aroma of lavender promotes a feeling of relaxation and sedation. For a quick sleep fix, dab a drop of lavender essential oil on your wrists and temples.
White noise machine – Many people have luck falling asleep when they use a white noise machine. These machines play all sorts of sounds including a river, ocean or even a forest. They are useful for drowning out other disturbing noises like planes, trains and police sirens.
Warm bath – Taking a warm bath, with some Epsom salts before bed can help reduce muscle tension – the reason many people don’t sleep well.
Chamomile tea – Drinking a cup of warm chamomile tea before bed is an excellent way to relax.
Yoga – Relaxation techniques such as yoga can help clear your mind and relax your body for a good night’s sleep.