It’s responsible for regulating our internal clock – which is tied into our sleeping schedules. Sadly, some people (my partner included) do not produce enough melatonin and must look for foods to get their adequate dosage. Otherwise, a good night’s sleep may not happen – which increases the risk for developing chronic illnesses, wrecking your immune system, or increasingly becoming irritated and angry as a hurricane. Here are 5 foods that naturally boost your melatonin levels to help you sleep better, fuller, longer.
NOTE: We’re talking about foods today, not supplements or medicine you can pick up off the store shelves or through a doctor’s prescription.
Various agricultural research studies have proven that the only natural food source of melatonin comes from cherries. Sadly, cherries aren’t in season for long – and must be substituted with tart cherry juice or dried cherries because of the melatonin content of cherries.
You may or may not know that kale is considered a “superfood”. What this means is, kale is grouped among certain fruits and vegetables that have a high amount of vitamins and minerals. Other superfoods include blueberries, sweet potatoes, spinach and lemons. Why does kale help you sleep? Because researchers linked a lack of calcium to difficulty sleeping. Kale is loaded with calcium.
Do you often feel a rushing burst of energy shortly after eating carbs? You know, more often than not, a crash will follow during the next few minutes. This crash is not fun. However, this crash is a godsend when bedtime rolls around. Here’s why: carbohydrate-rich foods spike blood sugar levels. This spike triggers the body to produce more insulin in order to bring those levels back down. With this insulin production, serotonin comes into play. Our bodies need tryptophan (an amino acid), and when it is converted into serotonin, our moods are better regulated. Low levels of serotonin play their part in depression – and most antidepressants are created with the aim of boosting serotonin levels. These two chemicals promote relaxation and a sense of happiness, making sleeping easier.
Oatmeal is high in carbs. As such, it can promote drowsiness if it is consumed an hour or so before your scheduled bed time. Oats are also a huge source of this essential chemical, without taking a beating to your melatonin dosage. which we need to get a full night’s sleep. Oatmeal is a versatile grain that can be combined with a number of fruits and yogurts to stimulate relaxation.
Potassium and magnesium are known as muscle relaxations, in addition to melatonin – and they are natural. Bananas are known to contain a huge source of both these natural muscle relaxants. Therefore, it goes without saying that you need to consume more bananas if you want a better-quality night’s sleep.
Another beauty of the foods we just reviewed is that they contain specific antioxidants, which help you fall asleep faster – because your body is healthier. If all else fails, you could also consume a glass of warm milk. It’s a method that worked on us when we were babies, and it’s a method that still works to this day – regardless of age. Always consume these foods a few hours before your planned bedtime, as eating them minutes before going to sleep can cause acid reflux or other digestive issues.