Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland in the brain.
Melatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles. Very small amounts are found in foods (oats, rice, ginger, tomatoes, bananas, almonds and seeds) and unfortunately, levels drop with age.
Melatonin levels can be low in:
Those working in fluorescent lighting
Bright light or prolonged light
To raise levels of melatonin:
1. Ensure a completely dark bedroom, so no TV, digital devices including clocks, use blackout curtains or blinds for any external light
2. Exercise - research in the American Journal of Epidemiology (vol 162, issue 11,1005) showed that exercise duration had the strongest effect- an hour later in the day seemed more beneficial than shorter more strenuous activity
3. Ensure an increase in morning and daytime sunlight exposure (eyes need to be exposed)
4. Homeopathic melatonin or medically prescribed melatonin supplements
5. Eat Tryptophan containing foods such a soy, nuts, whole grains, beans, rice, eggs and seeds in the evening meal
6. Nutrient co-factors in melatonin production such as B6, zinc, magnesium & folic acid - speak to your Naturopath about which forms are best to take re bioavailability and activity