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Boost mood with melatonin

happy mood sad moodAs we head into autumn, our body clocks might be starting to react. Melatonin is one of the hormones responsible for controlling your body clock (also known as the circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle). By activating certain types of chemical receptors in the brain Melatonin encourages sleep (and is sometimes called the sleep hormone). While you can have it prescribed in medicinal doses, you can also boost your own melatonin levels by incorporating some changes into your lifestyle if you’re not getting enough sleep, whether you have diabetes or not.

First, soak up more sunlight. Light is the most important factor in regulating the human biorhythm so the first rule for restorative sleep is catching enough sunlight during the day. Only those who consume a lot of light in daytime can produce high amounts melatonin when it is dark. Getting enough exercise in daylight especially during the darker seasons is vital for healthy sleep.

Second, eat melatonin-rich food. Cherries, nuts and fish (especially salmon or herring) can be sources of additional melatonin and also stimulate the body’s own melatonin production. Cow’s milk also contains natural melatonin, especially if the cows are milked at night.

Third, try to reduce your stress levels. 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 and small, consciously timed breaks during the day can help achieve this.

Lastly, avoid the wrong type of light. People often exposed to bright light sources in the evening or at night should carefully choose appropriate lamps. The large proportion of blue light in many energy-saving light bulbs is damaging to the natural melatonin release in the body. But not only conventional light sources can cause harm to the human day-night-cycle. 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.

For information on a melatonin supplement, see Milchkristalle.

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