Melatonin continues to demonstrate how it can be an essential part of your health and wellness routine. The revelation that the chronic consumption of melatonin may be instrumental in fighting both obesity and diabetes is just another reason why you should consider making this supplement part of your daily regimen. Here is what you need to know about the latest research and how you can boost your melatonin levels, both naturally and through the use of supplements.
What You Need to Know About Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain when it is dark. The production of this hormone helps to regulate the body’s natural circadian rhythm, a 24-hour cycle closely aligned with the earth’s periods of light and darkness. Without the proper levels of melatonin, you may notice disruptions to your sleeping patterns. Conversely, your brain may block the production of melatonin if it is exposed to too much light.
While your body produces melatonin, you can also boost the presence of this hormone in your body through the use of supplements and other targeted practices. Because of its effects on the sleep cycle, melatonin is often used to treat issues such as sleep-wake phase disorder, chronic insomnia and jet lag. Shift workers also often lean on the use of melatonin to maintain regular sleep patterns.
Supplementing with melatonin may help to control anxiety both and after surgical procedures, reduce the severity of certain cancer symptoms and more. While it is still too early to draw any conclusions, some health care professionals are now looking at the use of melatonin in conjunction with conventional therapies to treat COVID-19 in the early stages of the virus.
Research on How Melatonin Fights Obesity and Diabetes
In addition to the proven benefits of a healthy level of melatonin on sleep cycles, emerging research is pointing to the effectiveness of this hormone in mitigating the onset of obesity and diabetes. A study out of the University of Granada along with La Paz University Hospital in Madrid and the University of Texas, San Antonio used experiments on obese rats to demonstrate how chronic consumption of melatonin can reduce both obesity and diabetes mellitus type 2.
Because melatonin is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it makes sense that the hormone also protects the function of the body’s metabolism. Additionally, the study showed that rats that consumed melatonin regularly enjoyed an increased mitochondrial function, improving oxygen consumption and lowering the levels of free radicals in the body. All of these factors naturally fight back against obesity and the onset of type 2 diabetes in the process.
How to Produce More Melatonin Naturally
Now that it’s evident that melatonin fights obesity, there are active steps that you can take in order to prevent an imbalance in your melatonin levels. Start with exposing yourself to natural sunlight during the day. It is best to get outside as soon as possible in the morning. Taking frequent breaks to step outside throughout the day sends the message to your body that it is still daylight. This exposure will encourage the body to make more melatonin when you need it at night to fall asleep.
Taking a hot bath or shower is another easy way to increase melatonin levels. As heat reduces cortisol levels, the brain will automatically increase its production of melatonin. Other ways to increase this hormone include sitting in a sauna, spending time out in the sun and working up a sweat.
You should also be mindful about limiting your exposure to blue light in the hours before bedtime. This means that you should avoid the use of smartphones, tablets and computers at least one hour before trying to go to sleep. The blue light that emanates from these sources can negatively affect the amount of melatonin that the body is able to produce. Instead, try creating a relaxing bedtime ritual such as reading a book, taking a warm bath or drinking a soothing cup of decaffeinated tea.
Lastly, consuming foods that are rich in the amino acid tryptophan can also boost the production of melatonin. Good sources of tryptophan include turkey, beans, nuts, chicken, lentils, seeds and some types of seafood.
Why You Should Consider a Melatonin Supplement
Melatonin production decreases as you age. This decrease in production is one of the major culprits of sleep deprivation in those over the age of 60. Being intentional about encouraging and supporting the production of melatonin can help you to sleep better as well as contribute to a number of good health practices. With no major side effects, it makes sense to look into melatonin supplementation.