Melatonin is a hormone that’s largely in charge of our sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm. The pea-size pineal gland deep in the brain releases more melatonin as the day winds down. This tells our body and mind that it’s time to start thinking about sleep.
You already know that melatonin is a popular supplement for sleep — and that melatonin’s benefits go far beyond sleep. Did you also know that our bodies produce it, and that melatonin is found in certain foods? Read on to learn which foods are high in melatonin — and why certain sources might be better than others.
Almonds and other nuts are a source of melatonin. Sip on almond milk at bedtime, or enjoy a handful as a bedtime snack.
Among animal products, eggs are the food highest in melatonin (along with fish). Plus, eggs deliver protein to help keep you satiated all night long without feeling too full.
3. Goji berries
Goji berries are the fruit highest in melatonin. These little berries are also a valued herbal ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Pair them with almonds in the evening!
Did your parents ever give you a warm glass of milk at bedtime? Turns out there’s something to that tradition, since milks provides tryptophan and melatonin. Fun fact: Nighttime milking yields a lot more melatonin than morning milkings do, potentially making some milk the food highest in melatonin if it comes from well-rested cows!
As it turns out, our friends in the fungi kingdom — including plain button mushrooms — are foods high in melatonin!
6. Tart cherries
A favorite ingredient of athletes, tart cherries and tart cherry juice always show up on lists of foods high in melatonin. Grapes and strawberries also provide melatonin.
7. Tomatoes and peppers
Tomatoes and peppers are the vegetables highest in melatonin, but it varies by type!
What about turkey?
Based on anecdotes from Thanksgiving after-dinner naps, everyone assumes turkey is a food high in melatonin. It’s actually a source of tryptophan, which is melatonin’s precursor, and does help support sleep.
Tryptophan is an amino acid (those are the building blocks of protein) that is found in certain foods. Your body converts it into a molecule called 5-HTP, which it then uses to make serotonin (the happy hormone) and melatonin. That’s why we included some foods that provide both tryptophan and melatonin in the list of foods high in melatonin!
How much melatonin is in food?
It can be hard to determine the exact bioavailability of melatonin in foods and gauge whether we’re getting enough when we want it. Unlike with essential vitamins and minerals, there’s no dietary guideline for how much melatonin we need. We do know that 5 mg of melatonin is a safe, effective amount (that’s how much we use in Hello Dreams™ sleep strips).
Integrating these whole foods high in melatonin into your evening meals and snacks is certainly a healthy habit. But if you’re taking melatonin for sleep support, you might want to consider reaching for a high-quality supplement with more than just melatonin!*
By including Jujube Seed, Poria fungus and Licorice Root, Hello Dreams™ sleep strips with Melatonin & Calm Down™ herbal blend help you fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up rejuvenated!* Melatonin eases you to sleep, while the herbs quiet your mind and body for restorative rest.* Take one at bedtime! To use, simply place one on your tongue and wait for it to dissolve, then swallow, 5-10 minutes before bedtime.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.