8 Powerful Tips to Boost Your Serotonin: Be Productive and Happy at OnceAUTHOR: Berta Melder
Our success and productivity never remain stable. Sometimes we are more productive and focused. We make decisions easily and choose to complete more tasks because we feel like we can do it. But sometimes, we catch ourselves just wasting time, doing meaningless things and missing some important details. There’s nothing wrong with having your ups and downs, in fact, our activity is determined by the balance of hormones in our bodies. Serious hormone imbalance, however, is able to ruin your plans and make your regular activities challenging.
Hormones can affect your emotions. They make you more or less active, they change your mood and behavior. Without some hormones, we stop enjoying our lives and feel depressed. One of such hormones is serotonin.
What Is Serotonin?
Serotonin is one of the most commonly mentioned hormones, however, not everyone understands what exactly this hormone is and how it affects our mood. First of all, it is responsible for the regulation of anxiety. It makes us happy. The lack of serotonin leads to numerous diseases and mental conditions, including anxiety, depression, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases.
This hormone is directly related to depression but it has much more functions than just regulating our mood. For example, serotonin helps us sleep properly. It fixes problems with circadian cycles and allows us to wake up in time. People with low levels of serotonin often suffer from depression and insomnia, however, problems with circadian cycles can itself cause depression. This is a reason why third-shift workers are more likely to develop this disorder.
Every one of us has his or her own normal level of serotonin. Our normal serotonin levels are genetic, but it’s up to us how fast we produce it. Certain activities can increase the serotonin level, while others may lead to hormone imbalance and its consequences. You need to think of serotonin as of a response from your body to what you’re doing now. For example, if you stick to a good diet, have enough sunlight, and avoid stressful situations, your level of serotonin will grow.
How to Boost Your Serotonin
1. Get more natural light
Sunlight triggers our serotonin system and increases its production. Moreover, the more intensive the sunlight, the faster we produce serotonin. Thus, there’s no surprise we feel depressed in autumn when it’s cold. Not only does sunlight stimulate serotonin production, but it also increases your cognitive functions regardless of your mood. Artificial light doesn’t work. Even if the sky is cloudy, you still will get more light outside, so just get up and take a walk. We suggest going for a walk as soon as you wake up to stay productive for the rest of the day.
Physical exercises help increase serotonin in two different ways. First of all, when motor neurons are activated, they also trigger serotonin neurons. It activates the synthesis of serotonin and boosts the amount of serotonin released in our brains. In addition, exercises increase the level of another hormone — tryptophan, which is a precursor for a serotonin.
3. Eat animal protein
Since tryptophan turns into serotonin, we can regulate our serotonin levels by boosting tryptophan. Animal protein is a great source of tryptophan. No matter what you choose: chicken, eggs, beef, lamb, or turkey, all these products will increase the synthesis of tryptophan and so make you feel happier.
4. Get more sleep
Serotonin affects the quality and the amount of your sleep, however, this system also works in the opposite way. The more you sleep, the more serotonin you get. Sleep deprivation is a reason why our bodies don’t produce this hormone and don’t respond to serotonin properly. Long-term sleep deprivation ruins our serotonin pathways. You need to sleep in a completely dark room. The duration of sleep may vary from 7 to 9 hours.
5. Eat more carbohydrates
If you want to increase your serotonin, you need to include more carbohydrates in your diet. Carbohydrates boost insulin, which moves amino acids from our bloodstream into the brain cells. Given that tryptophan isn’t affected by insulin, this amino acid becomes dominant. It converts into serotonin and makes us feel better. Thus, make sure you eat enough vegetables and non-gluten grains.
6. Get more micronutrients
You need to eat more vitamin B6 and vitamin D. A great way to get more vitamin D is sunlight, but you can also find it in such food as liver, egg yolks, and seafood. As for B6, you can get it by eating fish, spinach, and celery.
7. Get a massage
After a nice massage, the level of serotonin in your body increases by 28%. Massage also decreases the stress hormone cortisol by 31% and boosts another hormone of happiness — dopamine.
8. Drink coffee
Even though too much coffee is bad for your health, this beverage increases the level of serotonin in your brain and also makes your brain more sensitive to this hormone.
The “happiness hormone” not only saves us from depression but also helps us sleep at night and be productive during a day. It heals our vessels, helps our digestive system, and regulates sexual desire. If you feel exhausted or stressed out, if you’re not motivated, and regular tasks take more time than usual, it means that you may need more serotonin. Just follow our simple advice, and you’ll feel happier, with no need to visit a therapist.