Sleep Better: 4 Ways to Manipulate Your Melatonin Levels #30DaysofGOOD

Still can't get to sleep? Maybe it's time to start tweaking your brain chemistry.

Things are easier said than done, or so the old adage goes, and we couldn't agree more. That's why we do The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD), a monthly attempt to live better. Our challenge for May? Sleep better.

If you've already set a sleep schedule, optimized your bedroom, and tried some of the sleep apps on the market, take things a step further and start meddling with your melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that's produced in the pineal gland and helps regulate your circadian rhythm. It's sometimes called the "hormone of darkness," because it's produced at night. Melatonin supplements were popular in the 1990s as a remedy for jetlag. Supplements still exist, but there are also a variety of natural ways to increase your melatonin levels.

Cherry juice: For a natural boost, try drinking cherry juice. A 2011 study by researchers at Northumbia University found that volunteers who drank cherry juice for a week experienced a roughly 15 percent jump in melatonin levels, which translated into less daytime napping, almost 30 minutes more sleep each night, and better-quality sleep.

Meditation: Research has also shown that meditation can boost melatonin levels. If you have a hard time falling asleep, consider spending 15 minutes before bed concentrating on your breathing and clearing your mind—it'll actually change your brain chemistry.

Tryptophan: The amino acid tryptophan is used to make melatonin. It's often credited (or blamed) for the post-Thanksgiving dinner coma. Indeed, tryptophan is abundant in turkey, but also in other poultry, dairy, fish, and eggs. Consider a glass of milk before bed.

Supplements: There is also a wide variety of over-the-counter melatonin supplements available. There are pills you can buy in drug stores, of course, but also newfangled products like Lazy Larry "supplement squares," which try to tap into the market for marijuana brownies. These products exist in a legal grey area and aren't without their drawbacks, though, so read up before scarfing one down.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user D H Wright


A two-minute television ad from New Zealand is a gut punch to dog lovers who smoke cigarettes. "Quit for Your Pets" focuses on how second-hand smoke doesn't just affect other humans, but our pets as well.

According to Quitline New Zealand, "when you smoke around your pets, they're twice as likely to get cancer."

Keep Reading
via Bossip / Twitter

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders took aim at former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg onstage at Wednesday's Las Vegas Democratic debate, likening the billionaire businessman to President Donald Trump and questioning his ability to turn out voters.

Sanders began by calling out Bloomberg for his stewardship of New York's stop and frisk policy that targeted young black men.

Keep Reading
via United for Respect / Twitter

Walmart workers issued a "wake up call" to Alice Walton, an heir to the retailer's $500 billion fortune, in New York on Tuesday by marching to Walton's penthouse and demanding her company pay its 1.5 million workers a living wage and give them reliable, stable work schedules.

The protest was partially a response to the company's so-called "Great Workplace" restructuring initiative which Walmart began testing last year and plans to roll out in at least 1,100 of its 5,300 U.S. stores by the end of 2020.

Keep Reading