A sufficiently high level of melatonin in the evening ensures a regular sleep-wake cycle and is an important basis for healthy sleeping habits. You can find out here which foods serve as natural melatonin suppliers and can have a positive effect on your sleep by eating them in the evening.
Table of contents:
- Melatonin & Sleep
- Sleep & Nutrition
- The top 8 foods with melatonin
- The famous hot milk with honey
melatonin & sleep
Melatonin is one of our endogenous hormones that plays a key role in controlling our sleep-wake cycle. In interaction with cortisol, known as the “stress hormone”, it regulates our circadian rhythm and makes us tired and sleepy in the evening. As it gets darker, our bodies usually make enough melatonin on their own so we can fall asleep easily and wake up the next morning.
If the hormone balance is out of balance and our body produces too little melatonin, there are no clear signals in the evening to prepare for sleep. This leads to problems falling asleep and staying asleep, which stand in the way of a restful night. A wide variety of reasons, such as stress or lack of daylight, can lead to low melatonin levels in the evening and thus make it difficult to fall asleep. In order to prevent sleep problems, it can therefore be worth supporting the body's own production of the sleep hormone and, if necessary, using a food supplement or natural melatonin suppliers to ensure a sufficiently high level of melatonin.
Nutrition & Sleep
Our diet has a major impact on our organism, health, well-being and, of course, our sleep. Whether we fall asleep easily and restfully through the night also depends on what foods we eat, especially in the evening. Because the nutrients, minerals and vitamins it contains are processed by our body before and during sleep and can then have a positive or negative effect on a good night's sleep.
Food that is difficult to digest, high in sugar or caffeine is known to wake you up (and keep you awake!) and to stimulate the body and nervous system. On the other hand, there are also foods that, thanks to the ingredients they contain, not only have a positive effect on falling asleep, but holistically promote sleep. These include, for example, natural sources of the amino acid tryptophan and the sleep hormone melatonin. They can help you to support the body's own melatonin production and to increase the melatonin level in the evening in a natural and harmless way, so that you can maintain a healthy sleep rhythm and find sleep better.
The top 8 foods with melatonin
Melatonin is primarily found in plant foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts or grain products. You will now find out which are the best and most effective natural suppliers of melatonin.
#1 sour cherry
Sour cherries are real nutrient bombs and, in addition to numerous vitamins (A, B1, B2, C and E) and the minerals potassium, iron and zinc, they also provide the sleep hormone melatonin. The cherry variety "Montmorency" is known for being particularly rich in melatonin and, according to scientific studies, contains up to 13.5 ng of melatonin per gram of pulp.Various studies have already shown that eating cherries before going to bed can have a positive effect on sleep and lead to a longer sleep duration, but also to better sleep quality
In contrast to other, "ordinary" sour cherries, the Montmorency cherry also contains even more antioxidants that have an anti-inflammatory effect. The red fruit is a popular remedy for insomnia and also has a positive effect on the immune system.
Red wine in moderation is proven to be health-promoting for our circulation and heart. The popular glass of red wine in the evening can not only provide relaxation, but also have a positive effect on our sleep - because some dark grape varieties also contain melatonin. The grape varieties Chianti, Nebbiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon are considered to be particularly rich in melatonin, and studies have shown that eating around 300 grams of the grapes in the evening can be enough to have a positive effect on sleep.
Cranberries are usually consumed in the form of juices and dried fruit and, in addition to plenty of vitamins and minerals, also contain special plant substances (so-called proanthocyanidins), which have an antioxidant effect in the body and fight bacteria and inflammation. What is less known, however, is that the red berries also contain a high amount of melatonin, namely up to 9,600 µg per 100 g dry weight! Cranberries are not only a popular remedy for bladder infections and urinary tract infections, but also a natural support for a good night's sleep.
#4 Sun-Dried Tomato
Dried tomatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals and not only provide the body with important antioxidants and phytochemicals, but also with a moderate amount of melatonin. They contain about 25.0 µg of the sleep hormone and can therefore have both health and sleep-promoting effects.
Certain types of edible mushrooms are also considered rich sources of melatonin. These include, for example, the popular mushrooms, chanterelles and porcini mushrooms.
Pistachios are among the best sources of melatonin and, according to current knowledge, are the food with the highest natural content of melatonin. More than 23,000 µg of the sleep hormone are in 100 g and make the green nuts an effective support against problems falling asleep. In addition, pistachios also provide a large amount of vitamin B6 and potassium, which also have a positive effect on our sleep. A small portion of pistachios in the last few hours before bed can therefore help to slightly increase natural melatonin levels and prepare your body for a peaceful sleep.
Walnuts are particularly well known for their high content of healthy fats. In addition to the high amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, the power nuts provide many other valuable nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, and contain a certain amount of melatonin itself as well as its precursor, the amino acid L-tryptophan. Walnuts are therefore very suitable as an evening snack to promote the body's own production of the sleep hormone and also to provide us with the "ready" hormone.
Muesli, Over-Night-Oats (OAOs) and porridge are justifiably popular breakfast dishes, because oatmeal has numerous positive effects on health and is considered a healthy source of fiber and energy. Oatmeal is not only rich in vitamins and antioxidants, but also contains a certain amount of the sleep hormone melatonin.A small portion of the grain particles in the evening can therefore support healthy sleep and, thanks to their good digestibility, also have a positive effect on nocturnal gastrointestinal activity
The famous hot milk with honey
And then what about the classic to fall asleep, the hot milk with honey? Just like a soothing herbal tea, the sweet hot drink, which we mostly know from childhood as an insider tip from our grandparents, is supposed to help us fall asleep. You can find out what this myth is all about and whether the famous hot milk with honey can also effectively support sleep in our article on the subject of nutrition and falling asleep in our sleep magazine!
The foods and nutrients we eat in the evening have a major impact on sleep
In order to prevent sleep problems, the body's own melatonin level can be increased by consuming certain foods or natural melatonin suppliers
Some vegetables and fruits are rich in melatonin, especially sour cherries, grapes, cranberries, dried tomatoes and mushrooms
Nuts, especially pistachios or walnuts, and (whole grain) cereals such as oatmeal also provide high levels of melatonin
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