For many millions of years, people rose and retired with the sun. The human body evolved to centre around the cycle of light and darkness, and sleep triggers were created within the blood to ensure a restful night’s sleep. These blood triggers begin to elevate in anticipation of the onset of darkness, and form a part of what is known as the circadian rhythm, or simply ‘the body clock’. Although the circadian rhythms can be altered to a certain extent over time, all those millions of year’s of evolution still have a strong affect on sleep patterns. The key ingredient to this sleep system is a hormone called melatonin.
Melatonin is released from a small gland in the brain, just as the light begins to fade, and begins to ready the body for sleep. The blood pressure falls slightly, hunger is lowered or even shut down, along with many other alterations within the body. Melatonin also has an effect on reproductive health, and is a potent antioxidant, setting the body up for its nightly detox.
With the advent of the industrial age and factors such as electricity meaning that night-time doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the days play, humans have, in the last 100-200 years in particular, taken to defying their circadian rhythms. This has led to more and more people suffering from sleep disorders. At the extreme end of the scale, night workers lives are forced into the exact opposite routine to that which their bodies are striving to accomplish. This has been linked to poor health, mainly due to hormones running out of sync.
So, what can be done to help our bodies adjust to this newly established routine of sleep? The answer is to boost our melatonin levels in the evenings.
Melatonin can be found in a pill form, but the effectiveness of this method is still under debate. Instead, it may be better to consume healthy foods that either contain melatonin, or promote melatonin production within the body.
Following is a list of foods that have been shown to boost melatonin levels –
Wine and beer (in small quantities)
A small amount of alcohol, especially from beer, can help to accentuate the effects of melatonin.
So, get experimenting with these melatonin rich food sources and ensure you get the greatest benefit possible from your comfy mattress.