Melatonin Sleep Aids

Melatonin sleep aids are often promoted as all natural sleep aids. You can find this sleep aid medication in varying amounts from 1 mg to 5 mg or you can stimulate your own production of melatonin by following these tips.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland. It has a very important job which is to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. The body begins to secrete this hormone in response to darkness or the setting of the sun. The gland stops secreting melatonin in response to light or as the sun rises. The darker the room the better your melatonin production.

melatonin sleep aids

Melatonin levels peak at night and are hardly detectable during the day. What makes this hormone so important for sleep is the body's response to elevated melatonin levels. Typically they are drowsiness and sleepiness. 

Many sleep deprived people assume that the more melatonin they take the better they will sleep. However, there are things you can do to naturally help stimulate your own production of melatonin. 

Start to prepare for sleep around 9:00 PM and follow these tips to boost your melatonin production:

1.  Turn Down the Lights

As you start your night time sleep routine turn down the lights in the house and especially while washing your face or brushing your teeth.

"How much the melatonin flow is suppressed by light depends on the intensity, the color, and the duration of the exposure."

2. Use a small night light in the bathroom 

Or put a dimmer switch on your overhead bathroom lights.

Turn the lights to really low, rather than using the bright, glaring overhead lights.  Even better use amber lights that do not have the blue spectrum and won't interfere with melatonin production.  These motion sensing amber lights work great as a night light

Maxxima Amber LED Night Light With Sensor (Pack of 2)

3. Keep the light in your bedroom low or better yet use a blue light blocking bulb.

There is one lamp in our bedroom that I use in the evening that has this lightbulb by GoodNight. It is really very bright and doesn't have a yellow tint - it gives off about the same amount of light as other lamps but doesn't give off blue light which affects your sleep hormone production..

make your own melatonin for insomnia

It's more expensive than other light bulbs, but well worth the investment to protect your sleep.

Lighting Science Good Night LED Light Bulb

4.  Use a book light rather than a bedside lamp to read.

make your own melatonin for insomnia
Reading is a great way to wind down from a hectic day. I use a Small Rechargeable Amber Book Light that uses amber lighting for reading and not the bedside lamp. The rest of the bedroom stays dark which helps to prepare your mind and brain for sleep.

5.  Use room darkening shades or curtains to block out any outdoor lights. If this isn't possible try wearing a comfortable sleep mask.

6.  Wear blue blocking glasses before bedtime

blue blocker glasses
I started wearing blue blocking glasses several months ago after reading, Great Sleep! Reduced Cancer!: A Scientific Approach to Great Sleep and Reduced Cancer Risk

According to research done by Dr. George Brainard, a melatonin expert, blue light has the biggest effect in suppressing melatonin production.

Here are some tips to get the most benefit of wearing blue light blocking glasses.

1.  Put the glasses on a couple of hours before bedtime. 

Richard Hansler the author of Great Sleep writes, "By putting on glasses that block the blue light a couple of hours before bedtime, melatonin will begin to flow.  When bedtime arrives, the amount of melatonin will be quite large, so the individual will fall asleep very quickly and sleep soundly."  If you get too sleepy too early start using the blue blockers a little later.  I own 10 pair of blue light blocking glasses and my favorite is the Spectra Blue Blockers. They have the highest quality lens that provides the best clarity. 

Blue Blocking Amber Glasses for Sleep - Medium to Small Head size

2.  Don't remove the glasses or expose your eyes to blue light

blue blocker glasses

Even a small exposure of blue light may interfere with melatonin production.  That's why I really like this pair of blue blockers by Uvex and the above wrap around blue light blocking glasses by Low Blue Lights.

blue blocker glasses

They are wrap around and you can adjust the frame length so there are no gaps. Surprisingly Consumer Reports said that they really do block almost all blue light. If you need to remove the glasses do it in a room that has lights using amber bulbs or amber nightlights.   

Uvex Skyper Blue Light Blocking Glasses

I have also purchased a pair of blue blocking bifocals with a reading magnification of 2x so I can read on my Kindle Paperwhite.

3.  Wear the blue blockers regularly

It may take a week or longer for your body to adjust and set a new circadian rhythm. 

4.  Put the glasses on or use your amber lighting at the same time each evening 

Setting your circadian clock requires consistency for your body to re-adjust. 

I watch TV with other blue blocking glasses but couldn't see well enough with them to read.  Although I still minimize any electronics in the evening I still like to use the glasses with reading magnification if I need to check my iPhone for messages.

Blue Blocking Glasses with Bifocal 2.00 for Men and Women

7.  Turn down or turn off the lights at the same time every evening.

The circadian rhythm is our internal clock that tells us when to go to sleep and when to wake up. It likes regularity.

Richard Hansler, who researches the effect of light on health has authored several books on how light during the day and light at night impacts our well being. 

From weight loss to cancer prevention sleeping and producing melatonin is essential for our health.

"Going into darkness each evening at a regular time is important for keeping melatonin flowing. "

Check out his book here:

Great Sleep! Reduced Cancer! 2nd Edition: A Scientific Approach to Great Sleep and Reduced Risk of Cancer

8.  Eliminate exposure to electronics two or more hours before bedtime.

Some of the  biggest "offenders" of sleep are electronic screens.  They emit blue light which suppresses melatonin - devices such as computers, televisions, iPads, Kindle Fire, iPhones, other smart phones all interfere with melatonin production.

If you want to continue to use your devices, be sure to wear Blue Blocking glasses

These amber glasses block the offending blue light putting your eyes and brain into "virtual darkness."

9.  Turn on bright lights or get out into the sunlight at the same time each morning.

Turning off melatonin secretion in the morning is as important as stimulating it in the evening.

"Exposing the eyes to light at a regular time each morning is at least as important as what happens in the evening."  Richard Hansler

Tart Cherry Juice for Sleep

I've started drinking organic tart cherry juice to help me fall asleep at night. It has helped me fall asleep faster and stay asleep.

 Often I will put a tablespoon of juice in my smoothie in the morning and in the evening I mix another tablespoon of the tart cherry juice concentrate in a small glass of water along with a teaspoon of my magnesium Calm.  

How does it help with better sleep?  Well a small study of 20 volunteers, called the Effect of tart cherry juice on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality found that total melatonin content was significantly higher in the cherry juice group and the researchers also concluded that "consumption of a tart cherry juice concentrate provides an increase in exogenous melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women and might be of benefit in managing disturbed sleep."

In the double blind placebo controlled group, those that drank the tart a Montmorency cherry juice concentrate reported "significant increases in time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency total."

Eur J Nutr. 2012 Dec;51(8):909-16

I've tried several brands and keep coming back to Dynamic Health.  I like that it is a concentrate and not watered down like regular juice. Want to try to naturally increase your melatonin levels plus get the antioxidant benefits as well, try including this sleep inducing juice to help you fall asleep and stay asleep:

Dynamic Health Organic Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate, 32 Ounce

Melatonin Magnesium Connection

According to Carolyn Dean, the author of The Magnesium Miracle sufficient levels of magnesium are essential for good sleep and melatonin production. She writes,"Also sleep-regulating melatonin pathway production is disturbed without sufficent magnesium."

There are lots of different ways to get magnesium from pills and powders, lotions and sprays, or drops and IV infusions.  Absorbing it as a pill or liquid may not be as effective as absorbing it through the skin.  I like to use a magnesium spray to absorb this mineral into the body. Anything you put on your skin is absorbed and bypasses the GI system. 

The best way to do it is to spray magnesium oil on the bottom of your feet before bedtime.  I keep the spray on my nightstand.  I also spray it on any areas of soreness - like a shoulder or hip.

Magnesium Oil helps me relax, fall asleep faster, and sleep better through the night. 


Vitamin B Deficiency

best natural sleep aid

"B 12 levels have a direct effect on the levels of melatonin produced, and if this is low then the quality of sleep is impaired (although the actual time sleeping may be reduced.) more research is needed to confirm this finding."

The Definitive Guide to Vitamin B, Insomnia and Sleep

As always it is best to try these sleep tips to enhance your own natural production of melatonin and as ways to signal to your body that it is time for bed.

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BedJet 3 Climate Comfort Fan that Cools or Heats

Warm Book Light -Rechargeable

Natural Calm Magnesium

Blue Blocking Amber Glasses for Sleep

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Ancient Minerals Goodnight Magnesium Lotion

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