Sleep Like A Baby By Consuming These Melatonin-Rich Foods

Crank it up for some ZZZ's

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In simple terms, Melatonin is the sleep hormone and extremely important for the body to function normally. During daylight hours there is so little melatonin in the bloodstream it is hardly detectable. But when the sun sets, the eyes sense the absence of light, and part of the hippocampus signals the pineal gland, a pea-sized lump of tissue near the center of the brain, to increased production of the sleep-promoting hormone. Melatonin levels rise sharply from 9pm onwards, inducing sleep, and remain high until the morning after.

While it mostly depends on how you manage your time and what your lifestyle is like, there are foods that can help naturally increase melatonin in your body for better and restful sleep. Important vitamins and minerals for melatonin production can be found in food that aid in promoting sleep: tryptophan, magnesium, calcium, and B6.

Tryptophan

An amino acid when consumed turns into the neurotransmitter ‘serotonin’ and then converts into melatonin. Here are some of the best foods loaded with tryptophan:

  • Dairy products (milk, low-fat yogurt, cheese)
  • Poultry (tur`key, chicken)
  • Seafood (shrimp, salmon, halibut, tuna, sardines, cod)
  • Nuts and seeds (flax, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, cashews, peanuts, almonds, walnuts)
  • Legumes (kidney beans, lima beans, black beans split peas, chickpeas)
  • Fruits (apples, bananas, peaches, avocado)
  • Vegetables (spinach, broccoli, turnip greens, asparagus, onions, seaweed)
  • Grains (wheat, rice, barley, corn, oats)

Magnesium

A mineral that plays an instrumental role in sleep and is a natural relaxant that helps deactivate adrenaline. Lack of magnesium leads to difficulty falling and staying asleep. It is often referred to as the sleep mineral. The best sources of magnesium are:

  • Dark leafy greens (baby spinach, kale, collard greens)
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, cashews, pine nuts, flaxseed, pecans)
  • Wheat germ
  • Fish (salmon, halibut, tuna, mackerel)
  • Soybeans
  • Banana
  • Avocados
  • Low-fat yogurt

RELATED: Train Your Brain For A Good Night’s Sleep

Calcium

Extremely important mineral that helps the brain make melatonin. Lack of calcium can cause disruptive sleep and sometimes major insomnia. Diets with adequate calcium have shown to help patients with insomnia. Dairy products containing both tryptophan and calcium are among the best sleep inducers. Major sources of calcium include:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Low-fat milk
  • Cheeses
  • Yogurt
  • Sardines
  • Fortified cereals
  • Soybeans
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Enriched breads and grains
  • Green snap peas
  • Okra
  • Broccoli

RELATED: How Your Sleeping Habits Are Affecting Your Health

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 aids in the conversion of tryptophan into melatonin. Deficiency of B6 has been linked with lowered serotonin levels and poor sleep. Inadequacy of B6 results in symptoms of depression and mood disorders which can lead to insomnia. Best sources of B6 are:

  • b6 and sleepSunflower seeds
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Fish (tuna, salmon, halibut)
  • Meat (chicken, tuna, lean pork, lean beef,)
  • Dried Prunes
  • Bananas
  • Avocado
  • Spinach

Make sure to add these foods to your diet so you can sleep like a baby.

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