The Missing Link For Better Sleep

David from Iowa Writes:

I have been dealing with sleep issues for more than a year now. I tend to struggle to stay asleep and generally wake up around 2 or 3 am. What do you think could be causing this? I don’t want to start taking sleep medications but I am tired all day long. 


Dear David,

Sleep is one our greatest assets to having amazing health and optimum productivity during our day. Many factors can cause our sleep to decline as we age. Stress is a major factor along with life circumstances. Many times our bodies get out of balance nutritionally can it can cause us to not function in the best manner possible. One of the most important naturally occurring chemicals that we need to sleep better is serotonin. This is a powerful neurotransmitter in the brain. It is our “feel good” brain chemical and regulates much of our ability to stay in a deep sleep. When we have low serotonin, we can’t maintain a strong REM cycle in our sleep patterns. That is why as a first line in treatment, many doctors will prescribe an anti-depressant to see if it can help someone sleep better. Many times it does the trick. However, if you want to go with more of a natural approach, there are great ways to build up serotonin in the body with our everyday lifestyle. Below are some great ways to increase serotonin levels. If you are on an SSRI or anti-depressant, make sure you check with your doctor.

Exercising just 15 minutes a day has shown an increase in overall brain chemistry specifically serotonin.

2.Eat Protein
Specifically eggs, turkey, red meat, fish, and organic protein powders. These will help raise serotonin and support a great level of well being.

3.Healthy Fats
Omega-3 fats specifically found in fish oils and certain vegetables are a great foundation to keep serotonin levels at a healthy level.

4.Melatonin and 5-HTP
These are the actual components that make serotonin in the brain. You can get in supplement form, but don’t take along with anti-depressants. They have been known to support healthy serotonin cycles.

 There are 2 versions of this vitamin. Pyridoxine and P5P. It is found in dark leafy greens and many of the red vegetables like red peppers. The version that is great for serotonin production is called pyridoxal-5-phosphate. It is the catalyst for having healthy serotonin levels. 

Look into these healthy ways to support your serotonin and focus on new daily lifestyle changes that can help you thrive.