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  • Writer's pictureDr. Erin Tausend

5 Natural Ways to Regulate Melatonin and Improve Sleep

Melatonin is one of our body’s hormones, made by the pineal gland in the brain. It helps regulate our circadian rhythm, aligning our sleep-wake cycle with night and day. In particular, melatonin helps us transition into quality sleep and maintain it. The pineal gland increasingly produces melatonin in the evenings, with peak levels in the middle of the night, and lowest levels first thing in the morning and during the day. Increasing and decreasing amounts of light are the key inputs to the pineal gland to lower or raise its melatonin output.

With light in mind, here are 5 things you can do to get a better night’s sleep.

  1. Get outside into natural light in the morning. This lets your brain know that it’s daytime, decreasing melatonin production.

  2. Start lowering lighting in the evening so that your brain receives the message that night (and therefore bedtime) is approaching.

  3. Limit screen sources of light several hours before bedtime. Most of us need a break from light and stimulation to help us settle in and drift off to sleep.

  4. Instead of screens, create a bedtime routine for yourself that you look forward to. Warm baths, reading, relaxing music, stretching and journaling are all helpful ways to unwind.

  5. Make sure your bedroom is completely dark, quiet, clean and cool, all of which create the ideal environment for quality, undisrupted sleep.

A great book that goes broader and deeper on the importance of sleep is Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. If lifestyle changes aren’t making the difference you want, we’d be happy to work with you on identifying the causes of your sleep disruption and treatment options.

Wishing you a good night’s sleep!

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