The happiness hormone serotonin

Serotonin is known for its positive effects on mood and sleep. But what role does the happiness hormone really play in our psyche and health? You can find out everything you need to know about the “happiness maker” serotonin and how it has a decisive influence on mood and sleep here.

Table of Contents

  1. What is serotonin?
  2. This is how serotonin is created
  3. Function & Effects of Serotonin
    1. Serotonin & Mood
    2. Serotonin & Sleep
    3. What happens when there is a serotonin deficiency?
  4. Serotonin as a dietary supplement?
  5. Serotonin – good mood and restful sleep
  6. Conclusion

1. What is serotonin?

Serotonin, also known as 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HAT), is one of the six messenger substances in the human organism known as happiness hormones. In addition to its famous effect on mood, the body's own hormone is also involved in other important bodily functions. It functions as a messenger in the central nervous system, has a decisive influence on our psychological state, controls sleep-wake behavior and regulates important processes in the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems. The hormone is therefore partly responsible for a good mood during the day and healthy sleep at night.

A lack of serotonin, on the other hand, can damage your health in the long term and promote the development of negative moods, depression and sleep disorders. But how does the happiness hormone serotonin and its significant effect on the mood and sleep come about?

2. This is how serotonin

is created
Synthese von L-Tryptophan zu Serotonin zu Melatonin

Serotonin can be produced by our body itself and is found in our brain and central nervous system, as well as in the cardiovascular system, the gastrointestinal system and in our blood. The most important building block is the essential amino acid L-tryptophan, which is absorbed through diet and converted into serotonin, especially under the influence of daylight. Regular exercise, lots of time in the fresh air and a balanced diet rich in vitamins can boost production and ensure healthy serotonin levels.

Did you know that? Because of the lack of daylight, the body produces less serotonin, especially in the cold seasons, which is also converted more quickly into melatonin due to the darkness. This leads to increased fatigue and the famous autumn or winter blues.

3. Function and effect of serotonin

Serotonin is involved in numerous metabolic processes and regulatory functions in our body. In the brain it primarily influences the emotional feeling, the central reward system and the mood, but as a precursor to the sleep hormone melatonin it is also involved in the regulation of sleep behavior and body temperature. Serotonin is also urgently needed in the intestinal system to control digestive activity and appetite.

Serotonin & Mood

Our body produces various happiness hormones, for example serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine or the well-known endorphins. While dopamine or norepinephrine have a more stimulating and stimulating effect on the mind and thus ensure motivation and a good mood, serotonin has a more calming and relaxing effect. It has a mood-enhancing, motivation-promoting and pain-inhibiting effect and is also able to dampen the body's stress reaction in the central nervous system. In this way, normal serotonin levels contribute to a relaxed and positive mood and help keep the psyche in a positive balance.

Junger Mann erwacht ausgeschlafen, erholt und glücklich im Bett

Serotonin & Sleep

Serotonin is created from the amino acid L-tryptophan and is at the same time the precursor to melatonin, which is known as the sleep hormone. Under the influence of daylight, serotonin is converted into melatonin as darkness increases and thus contributes significantly to healthy sleep-wake behavior. However, serotonin itself also has a direct influence on sleep and sleep quality.

Night after night we go through several sleep cycles, which are divided into different sleep phases. The transition from one phase to the next and from one cycle to another is controlled, among other things, by serotonin. It makes it easy to fall asleep and consolidates the sleep cycles so that we can slide into the next sleep cycle at night without waking up and sleep through the night undisturbed. Serotonin helps us to fall asleep easily and wake up feeling really rested in the morning. Maintaining the natural sleep structure is an important prerequisite for a restful sleep and a fit, positive feeling the next day.

What happens when there is a serotonin deficiency?

A lack of serotonin usually means a low serotonin level in the brain, which sometimes has serious negative consequences for the psyche. A lack of serotonin is associated, among other things, with the development of depression and depressive moods; There is increased tiredness and feelings of exhaustion, irritability, aggressiveness, nervousness or tension. Impaired sleep can further exacerbate these symptoms because the necessary regeneration does not occur.

On a physical level, a lower serotonin level causes, among other things, changes in appetite and eating behavior as well as sexual desire or the general feeling of pain. The happiness hormone is therefore not only essential for mental health, but also for physical health.

4. Serotonin as a nutritional supplement?

Only approx. 5% of the serotonin in our body is located in the brain and despite its importance, serotonin is unable to cross the so-called blood-brain barrier. This means that our brain does not absorb serotonin, but rather has to produce the messenger “on site” itself and additional intake, for example via a dietary supplement, has no effect.

In order to increase the serotonin level, it can help to provide the body with all the building blocks it needs for production in sufficient quantities. The serotonin precursor L-tryptophan is found in numerous foods and can stimulate important hormone production, especially in combination with other nutrients such as Vitamin B, magnesium or zinc. Vitamin D and the already healthy omega-3 fatty acids are also said to be able to have a positive effect on serotonin levels. In addition to a balanced diet rich in vitamins, a high-quality dietary supplement with L-tryptophan can also help to maintain a healthy serotonin level and thus create the best conditions for an all-round healthy organism, a good mood during the day and a restful sleep at night.

You can find out more about L-tryptophan and other amino acids in this article.

5. Serotonin – good mood and restful sleep

Junge fröhliche Frau sitzt am Morgen gut gelaunt im Bett

There is more to the “happiness hormone” serotonin than just a mood booster and it is one of many important factors for staying happy and balanced in the long term, but also healthy and productive - and for sleeping well. Especially if the sleep-promoting function of the messenger substance is not present, restful nights quickly become a challenge and also affect our mood.

So try not to ignore your serotonin level so that you get a restful sleep and start the day healthy and happy!

6. Conclusion

  • Serotonin is an important messenger substance and plays an important role for the psyche, sleep, the cardiovascular or intestinal systems.
  • As a happiness hormone, serotonin has a relaxing, mood-enhancing and balancing effect and can dampen the feeling of stress.
  • Serotonin regulates a healthy sleep structure and has a positive effect on falling asleep and staying asleep at night.
  • In order to actively increase the serotonin level, dietary supplements with L-tryptophan, sufficient daylight, sporting activity and an overall diet rich in vitamins are suitable.

Greetings and see you soon!

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