by Elizabeth Renter
August 20th, 2013
If you suffer from occasional insomnia or if it’s a nightly battle for you, you’ve likely looked at all of the natural solutions currently out there. You may have even tried some melatonin supplements, and if you’re like many individuals, had some disappointing results. While research has shown the body’s naturally-produced melatonin helps regulate sleep, synthetic melatonin has proven less than impressive. One thing that has been virtually ignored, however, are the foods that are able to increase the body’s natural melatonin production.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland. Not only does it control your circadian (sleeping and waking) cycles, but it is responsible for regulating other hormones as well. It plays a role in regulating female reproductive hormones including menstruation and menopause.
While young people have the highest melatonin levels, production of this hormone wanes as we age. Some scientists believe this is why older adults struggle more with sleeping for the recommended amount of hours or even why they may go to bed earlier and wake up before the sun.
Boosting Melatonin Production Naturally
Several factors can throw off the body’s natural melatonin production. These include a time change, jet lag, shift work, and even poor vision. And, as stated, it generally decreases in production as we age.
Melatonin supplements are made with synthetic ingredients in a lab or with cow urine. And though the supplements may have slight benefits, especially for people suffering with occasional insomnia, they don’t always offer long-lasting or significant results for those who struggle with sleep on a nightly basis.