Melatonin is a hormone that your body makes naturally. It is produced by the pineal gland located in your brain but can also be found in the gut,eyes and bone marrow.
Melatonin controls your circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is the bodies internal clock, signalling the body when to sleep and when to wake up.
Technology and the exposure to artificial light especially at night time messes with our circadian rhythm. This has been linked to premature ageing and disease.
Melatonin is produced mainly during the day in response to natural light exposure. It is released at night into the blood stream to turn on your cellular rest and repair mechanisms.
Melatonin protects our mitochondria and is a powerful antioxidant.
It also supports eye health, regulates body temperature, blood pressure and can raise growth hormone levels in men.
The deep sleep we get from the release of melatonin is one of the primary activator of the Glymphatic system. This is where spinal fluid washes plaque from our brains reducing the risk of Alzheimers.
Stress, smoking, alcohol, diet, shift work, ageing and nightlight all affect melatonin production.
To increase your melatonin production, try to get as much natural sunlight exposure during the day.
Reduce the artificial light from computers, phones etc in the evening, 1-2hr before bed time.
Food such as eggs, fish, nuts, grapes, tomatoes, peppers, and mushrooms (all key ingredients of the Mediterranean diet) contain melatonin.
You can also take a melatonin supplement. These supplements are extremely useful for shift workers or people suffering jet lag or lack of sleep. Up to 3 mg seems to be the optimal amount.