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Why Do We Feel Moody at Night? 10 Important Role of Serotonin

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Have you ever felt more emotional at night or in the early morning? You might often cringe at the notes or writings you did during those times when you revisit them in the morning. This tendency to become more emotional and sentimental at night is due to hormones. Let’s explore the hormones that control our bodies and minds throughout the day and find ways to dispel feelings of depression and sentimentality.

The Influence of Serotonin

We tend to become more sentimental during the early hours due to a hormone secreted in our bodies called serotonin. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter secreted in the brain’s synapses, is involved in emotional regulation, appetite, and sleep. When serotonin levels are high, we feel good, and when they are low, we tend to feel depressed. This secretion of serotonin is also related to sunlight. In other words, as the amount of sunlight decreases at night, the secretion of serotonin decreases, leading to feelings of melancholy and a shift toward sentimentality.

Where is Serotonin Secreted From?

Serotonin, also known as the happiness hormone, is a neurotransmitter produced from tryptophan, one of the amino acids that make up proteins. This hormone is present in various parts of our body. While it might seem logical that the happiness hormone would be produced in the brain, surprisingly, about 80% of the body’s serotonin is found in the gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin regulates mood and influences appetite, sleep, and memory, among many other areas.

Various Drugs Utilizing Serotonin

Various drugs are made using serotonin’s functions. Drugs used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression activate serotonin or make it linger longer in the brain, thereby inducing feelings of happiness and a sense of calm. Serotonin’s appetite-suppressing effect is utilized in various obesity treatments.

The Relationship Between Melatonin and Serotonin

Melatonin, a hormone involved in sleep determined by the amount of serotonin secreted, is greatly influenced by sunlight. In other words, melatonin is secreted when there is little or no light stimulus, such as at night. Conversely, serotonin is produced and secreted in our bodies during the day when we absorb sunlight. The serotonin produced during daylight hours changes to melatonin as the sun sets. Therefore, making as much serotonin as possible during the day will lead to the active formation of melatonin at night, aiding in a good night’s sleep.

Increase Tryptophan Intake

Consuming a lot of tryptophan is beneficial for increasing serotonin secretion. Tryptophan is abundant in tofu and other soy dishes, such as cheese, yogurt, bananas, etc. Vitamin B6 also plays a role in the production of serotonin, and it is plentiful in chicken, pork, and brown rice. Tryptophan can be easily obtained as a supplement, so if it’s challenging to get from food, it is also a good option.

A Cup of Warm Milk Helps

When you feel heavy and depressed due to poor sleep, a cup of warm milk with honey at night can help. The tryptophan in milk helps produce serotonin in the morning and aids in calming the nerves, helping you sleep better at night. That’s why sleep supplements made from such milk are also produced.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is characterized by symptoms that recur at specific times each year, typically starting in fall and winter and improving in spring. Unlike general depression, which shows symptoms like decreased appetite and weight loss, SAD often causes excessive sleep, severe lethargy, and weight gain due to overeating. SAD is more common in areas with less sunlight and among younger people.

Keep Your Smartphone Away Before Bed

How about keeping your smartphone away before bed and reading a book instead? A delay in the biological rhythm is associated with seasonal depression, and prolonged exposure to the blue light of a smartphone when sleeping can exacerbate this delay. On the other hand, reading a book stimulates the cerebral cortex and can help reduce feelings of depression. Bibliotherapy is sometimes used in cases of mild depression.

Acupressure Techniques That Help with Seasonal Depression

If you’re feeling down or depressed as the seasons change, taking frequent walks outside and sunbathing is a good idea. However, combining this with beneficial acupressure techniques can enhance the effect. Stimulating the Solgok located on the side ends of both ears while rotating in the opposite direction of the clock can be effective. Also, pressing the Hapgok point, located slightly above the area between the thumb and index finger, can positively affect brain nerve system disorders and help stabilize the mind and body.

Foods That Help

Foods rich in tryptophan, such as beans, bananas, fatty fish, nuts, and iron, can help. Iron acts as a coenzyme in the production of serotonin. However, eating too much iron is not beneficial, as the body’s homeostasis will counteract excess production.

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