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The importance of Melatonin for good night’s sleep PDF Print Email

Melatonin is a powerful sleeping hormone that is not just helpful for your circadian rhythm and helping your body and mind to recover;  it also controls your ageing process. Unfortunately, some people cannot produce the amount of melatonin the body needs.  Too little daylight, stress and poor diet can harm melatonin production in the body. Below are four tips to boost your melatonin.


Get out in the sunlight

This doesn’t mean sunbathing every day (chance would be a fine thing!) but light is the most important factor in helping the biorhythm of your body.  The first rule for beneficial sleep is getting enough sunlight during the day. You can only produce high amounts of melatonin when it is dark if you get a lot of light in the daytime.  I t is also vital to get enough exercise in daylight especially during the darker seasons for healthy sleep.


The right diet is essential: Cherries, nuts and fish can be sources of additional melatonin and also stimulate the body's own melatonin production. Salmon or mackerel or most oily fish contain the unsaturated fatty acid docosahexaen, helping the production of melatonin in the body. Walnuts and cherries provide natural sources of melatonin.  Milk contains natural melatonin.
Reduce stress
Stress is an effective melatonin killer. The stress hormone cortisol is released in times of physical and psychological stress. It keeps the body from resting and blocks melatonin production.  Simple exercise, yoga, Tai Chi and small, consciously timed breaks during the day can help reduce stress.
Avoid ‘bad’ light.
People are often exposed to ‘bad’ light in the evening or at night and should carefully choose appropriate lamps. The blue light in many energy-saving light bulbs is damaging to the natural melatonin production in the body. Televisions, computer screens and smartphones have the same effect. The light emitted by these devices is also in the blue spectrum and inhibits melatonin release.
If you are having difficulties establishing a good sleep pattern your pharmacist is a good place to start for help and advice.