is a hormone
produced by the pineal
gland in the brain. For sleep, its purpose is to stimulate
sleepiness, lower the body's temperature and control the sleep cycle.
This signal is part of the process required to have a healthy and
is a neurotransmitter
located in the central
nervous system, platelets, stomach and intestine of the
body. It has a calming effect on the body and will regulate sleep.
Melatonin and serotonin are interrelated
and work together to aid sleep.
the night approaches and the sky darkens, the levels of serotonin in
the body increase, sending
signals to the brain to produce melatonin. These two
features combine to kick start the body's natural sleep cycle.
functions of melatonin and serotonin:
- Melatonin also works with
the immune system and slows
the process of
ageing, as it is an antioxidant. It is a clever hormone
alongside other antioxidants and helps to prevent oxidative stress.
- Serotonin has many
functions. Some of
these include: gauging
appetite, affecting organ development,
regulating mood and contributing
to feeling happy.
building block of these two sleep regulators is an amino acid known
medically as tryptophan.
It is an essential amino acid needed in the
body obtained from dietary sources. Tryptophan is primarily found in
food containing protein e.g. meat, cheese, eggs, milk and wheat
can also be found in some fruits and vegetables. The body needs this
amino acid to function correctly and this is why it
is essential. Tryptophan is available as a dietary supplement
have been varied results obtained from research carried out in regards
to its effectiveness.
Therefore, as with any
nutrient required in the body, it is better to obtain tryptophan by consuming real, healthy food.
Vegetarians and vegans should not worry about a deficiency in the amino
acid as it is in many food types that will suit their diet.
of melatonin, 'the Dracula of hormones', are affected by light. During
day time hours, especially in the summer time when it is extremely
light for long periods, the light will be converted through the retina
and then sent via an electric pulse to the hypothalamus.
hypothalamus transmits a signal to the body's glands to reduce the
levels of melatonin being supplied. The opposite effect can happen
during winter months, whereby the lack of prolonged periods of light
can cause the body's glands to over produce melatonin which can, in
certain cases, result in seasonal
affective disorders (SAD).
supplements can be used to help treat numerous sleep related
conditions. Insomnia is one of the main conditions that can be treated.
It's a prolonged period of sleeplessness and affects many
adults and children around the world.
poor sleep can happen to anyone at any stage of their life. Even young
children and babies can have periods of insomnia and
symptoms of sleeplessness, and other sleep disorders, can be difficult
to live with because the repercussions of disturbed nights can spill
into day time activity and leave a person feeling lethargic and drowsy.
Sleep is made very difficult without the correct levels of melatonin
Ways of Boosting Melatonin and Serotonin
protein and choosing not to avoid healthy fats is
required for hormonal
believe that fats should be avoided. Good (unsaturated) fats are
important, whereas products containing saturated fat (such
as junk food) should be steered
to better your routine and to regulate sleep will work well for
healthy levels of serotonin. Although the neurotransmitter works to aid
sleep, it has to work even harder when sleep patterns are not
there is nothing preventing you from having regular quality sleep,
then you should try and set
a routine for yourself if at all possible. When the body
is resting properly, all parts of it will be more efficient.
and avoid any stimulants
when possible and especially before sleeping.
These fake substances may feel uplifting but over time they can exhaust
valuable hormones. Opt for caffeine free products if you miss the
flavor of the drink.
happens if someone has low levels of melatonin and serotonin?
to the fact that it is a neurotransmitter that promotes a happy
feeling, supplements can be given to promote this if a person has a
serotonin deficiency. This is often advised to people
experiencing anxiety, stress, depression and poor
sleep. Serotonin is a common
ingredient in antidepressant medication.
to serotonin, anxiety can be linked to people who have a low level of
the levels of uplifting, happy feelings are not being
produced as much in the body, this can make a person anxious, paranoid
is hard to cope with psychological
disorders but it
even more difficult when you cannot pinpoint what is causing the
problem. If could be a physical reaction, or lack of action, occurring
in the brain.
conclusion, to benefit from and maintain a healthy, natural sleep
pattern, both physical and mental wellbeing is of utmost importance.
There are so many
different factors that can be beneficial or
detrimental health. If you are unsure of what these are, you can speak
to your doctor or physician.
general, sticking to the following rules
Try to eat a healthy,
balanced diet full of good food and nutrients
- Drink plenty of water and
sugared, processed fluids
- Exercise regularly
to the best of your
- Regulate sleep by
attempting to get
six and nine hours every night when possible. This rule
not apply to children as they require a lot more sleep than adults.