Melatonin is a hormone that drives normal bodily function, including that of the reproductive system,
and contains antioxidants that can stimulate white blood cells and lower the risk for major diseases such as cancer. Melatonin is generally produced at night while our bodies sleep, and tapers off in production when the sun rises, or when our bodies are exposed to light.
According to a new medical study, this sleep hormone may also have the ability to help individuals lose weight. Melatonin has been found to speed up the production of fat burning and result in a higher metabolism. Therefore, individuals who make healthy lifestyle changes that result in better sleep patterns can produce higher levels of melatonin and fight off weight gain while also accelerating weight loss.
In the human body, there are different types of body fat that each have different purposes. In this instance, a healthy type of fat that burns off energy known as “beige fat” multiplies when the body produces adequate levels of melatonin. During the latest study, researchers gave melatonin supplements to two groups of rats that were either healthy or suffered from obesity and type 2 diabetes. Some of the rats in both groups were denied melatonin for the sake of examining the effects of melatonin and lack thereof on each group of rats.
The researchers found that the rats supplied with melatonin generated higher amounts of beige fat and experienced a boost in metabolism and weight loss — regardless of whether or not the rat had diabetes. Melatonin has since been linked to improvements in insulin sensitivity, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels.
Since this study remains partly inconclusive, health care professionals are not urging Americans with weight problems to start taking melatonin supplements without medical supervision. However, there are other ways to boost melatonin production naturally by making healthy changes to your sleep routine and lifestyle.
1. Engage in regular physical activity
Exercise is one of the most ideal ways to boost the body’s hormone levels, including melatonin. Exercise will also help individuals sleep more soundly throughout the night, which will encourage melatonin production in addition to helping boost weight loss.
2. Spend more time in the sun
Sunlight is vital to overall health and our sleeping rhythm, also known as the circadian rhythm. Sunlight can strengthen an individual’s circadian rhythm and help them feel tired at night time when it’s time to go to sleep.
3. Avoid exposure to light at night
Melatonin is only produced in the dark — therefore, it’s important to avoid late-night exposure to bright lights, which can delay your body’s melatonin production. Instead, spend time in dim lighting whenever possible and avoid watching television and performing other activities that require you to spend time in bright light before bedtime.