Did you know that some of your seemingly harmless habits could be disrupting your sleep by suppressing your body’s melatonin production? A study by Brigham Women’s Hospital found that something we are all guilty of doing, using electrical lights right before bedtime, can significantly suppress melatonin production.
A call into the common-sense bureau told us that we should cut that out – or rather switch off the lights sooner than right before we climb into bed. An hour before is suggested. You would be using dimmers and candles for that period right before bed and, quite frankly, I don’t know why everyone isn’t doing it. Because even if you don’t have a sleep problem, candlelit evenings and the tranquility that it brings are so damn sexy and relaxing.
And there is something else you can do to improve your melatonin situation. You can eat more foods that are naturally high in melatonin.
Here are 5 such foods that we like.
1. Goji Berries
Native to Asia, goji berries are one of those superfoods that have been linked to a long list of health benefits going way back.
They are great for your skin, can help you fight off a cold, and are known for their energy boost. Goji berries are also high in melatonin and can improve your sleep due to their calming effect on your central nervous system.
Add them to your favorite trail mix, use them in place of raisins on your cereal, drink goji berry teas and juices and add them to soups, which is how many people in Chinese cultures have been using goji berries for thousands of years.
Most nuts are a good source of melatonin, but pistachios are said to have one of the highest. It helps that they taste great and that you can find them in most supermarkets and health food stores.
Pistachios are a great source of healthy fats and various nutrients that your body thrives on, including vitamin B6 and thiamine.
This is another snack on the list that you can eat anytime, but nutritionists recommend eating one-quarter cup an hour before bed to aid in sleep.
3. Chicken and Eggs
Which came first: the chicken or the eggs? Sorry, old joke, but it doesn’t matter in this case. Both are high in tryptophan, which is a precursor to melatonin. A precursor is that thing that comes before the thing that you want, so in other words, essential to getting what you want.
And when what you want is to fall asleep faster and get a better night’s rest, adding more of these to your diet is going to help.
Not only does tryptophan help your body to produce melatonin, it also helps your body produce the antidepressant serotonin. Chicken and eggs are also high in protein, which your body needs to function properly.
These fun guys (fungi) are not only rich in melatonin, but mushrooms are also a versatile and delicious addition to many dishes. If you’ve ever had a great bowl of spiced mushroom borscht, then you know what I mean.
Mushrooms are great in stir-fries, on pizza, and in salads. Apart from being rich in melatonin, this wonderful food has loads of other nutritional value.
One reason we like to suggest good-for-you snack foods is that they make it easy and convenient to get in the nutrients that you need. You can find bananas everywhere, including at many gas stations, and eat them anywhere.
Bananas contain melatonin, tryptophan, vitamin B6, and magnesium, which are all great for helping you sleep. And on the flip side, they are great for keeping you awake during the day.
Can you ask more from a piece of fruit?