Foods for Better Sleep – The Top 8 Sources of Melatonin

A sufficiently high melatonin level in the evening ensures a regulated sleep-wake rhythm and is an important basis for healthy sleep behavior. You can find out here which foods serve as natural melatonin suppliers and can have a positive effect on your sleep when consumed in the evening.

Table of contents:

  1. Melatonin & Sleep
  2. Sleep & Nutrition
  3. The top 8 foods with melatonin
  4. The famous hot milk with honey
  5. Conclusion

1. Melatonin and sleep

Melatonin is one of our body's own hormones that plays a key role in controlling our sleep-wake rhythm. In interaction with the cortisol, known as the “stress hormone”, it regulates our circadian rhythm and ensures that we become tired and sleepy in the evening. As it gets darker, our body normally ensures that it produces enough melatonin so that we can fall asleep easily and only wake up the next morning.

smartsleep Schlafmagazin Lebensmittel mit Melatonin, Produktion und Ausschüttung von Melatonin im Verlauf der Nacht und des Schlafs

But if the hormonal 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 difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, which gets in the way of a restful night. A variety of reasons, such as stress or a lack of daylight, can lead to melatonin levels being too low in the evening, making it difficult to fall asleep. In order to prevent sleep problems, it can be worthwhile to support the body's own production of the sleep hormone and, if necessary, to ensure a sufficiently high melatonin content with the help of a food supplement or natural melatonin suppliers.

2. Nutrition and sleep

Our diet has a major influence on our organism, health, well-being and of course our sleep. Whether we can easily fall asleep and stay asleep depends on what foods we eat, especially in the evening. The nutrients, minerals and vitamins they contain are processed by our body before and during sleep and can then have a positive or negative effect on our night's sleep.

smartsleep Schlafmagazin Lebensmittel mit Melatonin, Junge Frau schläft ruhig dank genug Schlafhormon Melatonin am Abend

Foods that are difficult to digest and contain a lot of sugar or caffeine are known to make you (and keep you!) awake and stimulate the organism and nervous system. But 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 also promote sleep holistically. These include, for example, natural sources of the amino acid tryptophan and the sleep hormone melatonin. They can help you support the body's own melatonin production and increase melatonin levels in the evening in a natural and safe way, so that you can maintain a healthy sleep rhythm and fall asleep better.

3. The top 8 foods with melatonin

Melatonin is primarily found in plant foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts or grain products. You can now find out which are the best and most effective natural melatonin suppliers.

#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 “Montmorency” cherry variety is known to be 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 has a positive effect on sleep and can lead to longer sleep duration, but also better sleep quality.

    smartsleep Schlafmagazin Lebensmittel mit Melatonin, Schüssel mit Sauerkirschen Montmorency Kirsche

    In contrast to other, “ordinary” sour cherry varieties, the Montmorency cherry also contains more antioxidants that have an anti-inflammatory effect. The red fruit is a popular remedy for sleep disorders and also has a positive effect on the immune system.

    #2 Grape

      Red wine in moderation has been proven to be beneficial for our circulatory system 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 grapes also contain melatonin. The grape varieties Chianti, Nebbiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon are considered particularly rich in melatonin and, according to studies, consuming around 300 grams of the grapes in the evening can be enough to have a positive effect on sleep.

      #3 Cranberry

      Cranberries are usually consumed in the form of juices and dried fruits and, in addition to plenty of vitamins and minerals, they also contain special plant substances (so-called proanthocyanidins), which have an antioxidant effect in the body and against 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 good sleep.

      #4 Dried Tomato

        Dried tomatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals and not only provide the body with important antioxidants and phytochemicals, but also a moderate amount of melatonin. They contain around 25.0 µg of the sleep hormone and can therefore have both health and sleep-promoting effects.

        #5 Mushrooms

        Certain types of edible mushrooms are also considered rich sources of melatonin. These include, for example, the popular mushrooms, chanterelles and porcini mushrooms.

        #6 Pistachio

        Pistachios are among the best sources of melatonin and, according to current knowledge, are the food with the highest natural melatonin content. More than 23.000 µg of the sleep hormone are contained in 100 g, making the green nuts an effective support against problems falling asleep. 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.

        smartsleep Schlafmagazin Nahrungsmittel mit Melatonin Gesunde Walnuss Pistazien Mandeln Cashews und Nüsse mit Melatonin

        #7 Walnut

        Walnuts are particularly known for their high content of healthy fats. In addition to the high amount of polysaturated fatty acids, the power nuts provide many other valuable nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, and, in addition to a certain amount of melatonin itself, also contain its precursor, the amino acid L-tryptophan. This makes walnuts ideal as an evening snack to boost the body's production of the sleep hormone and also provide us with the "finished" hormone.

        #8 Oatmeal

        Muesli, overnight oats (OAOs) and porridge are popular breakfast dishes, and rightly so, 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 easy digestibility, also has a positive effect on nocturnal gastrointestinal activity.

        4. The famous hot milk with honey

        And then what about the classic bedtime treat, hot milk with honey? Just like a calming herbal tea, the sweet hot drink, which we usually know from childhood as an insider tip from our grandparents, is also 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 effectively support sleep in our article on nutrition and falling asleep in our sleep magazine!

        We'll show you how you can mix these delicious ingredients into the perfect nightcap here!

        5. Conclusion

        • The foods and nutrients we eat in the evening have a big influence on sleep
        • To prevent sleep problems, the body's own melatonin levels can be increased by eating certain foods or natural melatonin suppliers can be increased
        • Some vegetables and fruits are rich in melatonin, especially sour cherries, grapes, cranberries as well as dried tomatoes and mushrooms
        • Nuts, especially pistachios or walnuts, and (whole grain) cereals such as oat flakes also provide high amounts of melatonin

        Greetings and see you soon!

        1 Comment

        Liebe Alisia,
        besser und treffender hätte ich deine Anmerkungen zum Thema Melatonin nicht schreiben können.
        Auch für Menschen ohne medizinische Vorkenntnisse sehr verständlich.
        Vielen Dank dafür!

        Ingrid 21. February 2023

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