Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood, sleep, appetite, and memory. (1)
People who are low in serotonin often experience depression, anxiety, fatigue, and weight gain.
Luckily, there are things you can do to increase serotonin in the brain.
Here are ten ways:
1. Get a massage
A massage can help increase serotonin levels by promoting relaxation.
It can also help reduce stress and anxiety, both of which can contribute to low serotonin levels.
In fact, a study showed that people who received regular massages had higher levels of serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters. (1)
2. Eat tryptophan-rich foods
Tryptophan is an amino acid that’s needed to produce serotonin.
That means eating foods rich in tryptophan can help increase your serotonin levels.
You can also get tryptophan from supplements, but it’s best to get it from food sources.
If you decide to take a supplement, make sure to talk to your doctor first.
Some people may need to avoid tryptophan supplements due to certain medical conditions. (13)
3. Increase magnesium intake
It’s also necessary for the proper function of neurotransmitters, including serotonin.
You can increase your magnesium intake by eating magnesium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, avocados, and bananas.
4. Exercise regularly
Physical activity can help increase serotonin levels.
According to American Psychological Association, exercise can be as effective as medication for treating depression.
It also helps improve sleep quality, which can further increase serotonin levels. (17)
Many studies showed that people who did moderate to vigorous exercise for 30 minutes had an increase in brain serotonin.
You don’t have to do intense exercise to experience the benefits either.
Even light exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can lead to higher serotonin levels. (18)
Just make sure to do something that you enjoy so that you’re more likely to stick with it.
5. Get plenty of vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the brain from damage.
It’s also necessary for the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin. (19)
You can increase your vitamin C intake by eating citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
You can also take a vitamin C supplement.
6. Get some sunlight every day
Sunlight is one of the most effective ways to boost serotonin levels.
Just a few minutes of sun exposure can help increase serotonin levels and improve mood.
Studies show that exposure to bright light can help improve mood by increasing serotonin levels. (21)
Therefore, make sure to get some sunlight every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
You can also try using a light therapy box to get the benefits of sunlight without having to go outside.
7. Increase your intake of B vitamin
B vitamins are essential for a healthy nervous system.
Vitamin B12, in particular, plays a role in the production of serotonin.
Other B vitamins, such as folate (B9) and vitamin B6, also contribute to serotonin production. (22)
You can also take a B-complex supplement to ensure you’re getting enough of all the B vitamins.
8. Try meditation
Try to meditate for at least 20 minutes each day.
If you’re new to meditation, read this guide on how to get started with meditation.
9. Think positive thoughts
Negative thinking can lead to stress and anxiety, which can reduce serotonin levels.
Thinking positive thoughts, on the other hand, can help increase serotonin levels and improve mood. (26)
If you’re feeling down, try to think positive thoughts or engage in activities that make you happy.
10. Get enough sleep
Sleep is essential for overall health and well-being.
It’s also necessary for the proper function of neurotransmitters like serotonin. (27)
Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to experience depression and anxiety. (28)
Make sure to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
If you have trouble sleeping, read this guide on how to sleep better.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in mood and overall health.
There are many ways to increase serotonin levels, including exercise, getting enough sunlight, and eating healthy foods.
If you’re feeling down, try one of these methods to boost serotonin levels and improve your mood.