Today I am going to share my most important tip for helping you create a home health haven. A tip for not only keeping your immune system strong in the presence of this virus, but also for living a happier, healthier life in general.
The Tip: Strive to get a full night of sleep
Sleep deprivation suppresses the immune system. When you sleep, your body makes cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation. Sleep also increases the production and efficiency of T-cells, a type of immune cell that fights against pathogens, like viruses, bacteria and cancer cells. Without these night time soldiers at work, the invaders go wild.
One of ways sleep affects our immunity is through the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone produced in the evening that causes us to become sleepy. Elevated melatonin levels directly influence the release of cytokines and T cells while we sleep.
Interestingly, as we age we don’t produce the same levels of melatonin as we did when we were younger. This is a strong reason why older people are more prone to infectious diseases than any other age group.
Melatonin is also a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory further enhancing the benefits of sleep by helping to heal and repair our tissues at night.
The daily, rhythmic release of melatonin is synchronized by our circadian rhythm. Taking measures to regulate our circadian rhythm and support the release of melatonin in the evenings can help you get a good night’s sleep and enhance the immune system.
7 Natural ways to support healthy melatonin levels:
1. Get morning sunshine. The hormone melatonin is made by a small gland in the body called the pineal gland. Morning sunlight directly into the eyes deactivates the pineal gland, suppresses the production of melatonin, and helps to “set” our circadian rhythm.
2. Avoid light after the sun goes down. Light is a direct inhibitor to the production of melatonin. Therefore, exposure to light at night, especially the blue light emitted from electronic devices, can prevent the secretion of melatonin… making it more difficulty for you to fall and stay asleep.
3. Escape the EMF’s or electromagnetic fields. EMF’s are not a new phenomenon, but we are getting a steady increase in exposure with all the advancing technologies. Studies have shown that exposure to EMF’s can influence our circadian rhythm by interfering with melatonin secretion. It is best to turn off your phone at night while you are sleeping. However, if it is your primary lifeline to your family, place it at least 15 feet away from your bed.
4. Sleep in complete darkness. A dark environment ensures a good production of melatonin throughout the night.
5. Eat foods rich in melatonin, tryptophan and magnesium. Almonds and walnuts contain melatonin. The amino acid tryptophan is needed in the production of melatonin. Tryptophan is found in protein rich foods such as turkey, chicken, almonds and cheese. Magnesium rich foods like leafy greens, nuts and seeds and legumes also naturally boost your melatonin levels. If you do snack in the evenings, snack on foods such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts or a slice of hard cheese.
6. Take a hot Epsom salt bath. The warm water will have a relaxing effect on the body and the magnesium in the Epsom salt will aid to naturally boost melatonin levels.
7. Limit coffee consumption late in the day. Caffeine reduces melatonin production, which might be fine first thing in the day, but may interfere with sleep in the evening.
Supplementing with melatonin is also an option, but because melatonin may interact with certain nutrients, herbs and pharmaceuticals medications, it is best to consult a health care practitioner before taking melatonin.
I am currently offering a 50% discount on my supplement review appointments. Please reach out if you are interested in having me review and update your current supplement protocol.
From living longer, to boosting your immune system and warding off disease, sleep is the foremost nourisher of health!
is a Physical Therapist,
Nutrition Consultant and
Doctor of Integrative Medicine.
She has been treating women with osteoporosis for over 30 years and is dedicated to helping people achieve
lasting good health and vitality.
Want to learn more about how you can improve your bone health? Contact me for a free 15 minute phone consult to learn more about the BONES Method™ and how it can help you achieve strong, healthy bones for life!