5 foods that give you a natural dose of melatonin

Melatonin supplements are a great way to get some sleep, but some of the foods in your fridge and pantry may already have the melatonin you need.

Melatonin is defined by the CDC as a neurohormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. And it can be really helpful for stabilizing your sleep pattern. Light, especially the blue light from phone screens, can affect melatonin levels, says Yo-El Ju, a neurologist and sleep medicine specialist at Washington University in St. Louis.

To combat melatonin deficiency in recent years, more people began using melatonin supplements as a sleep aid. According to a research letter published by JAMA in February of this year, prevalence of melatonin use rose to 2.1% in 2017 to 2018 from 0.4% in 1999 to 2000.

But in addition to the melatonin that is already produced in the brain, you can get natural doses of the hormone from your next snack. “Melatonin is actually present in food,” according to Ju.

If you’re interested in melatonin for better sleep and you don’t want to add yet another supplement to your list, here are 5 foods that can you give a natural dose.

5 foods that are naturally high in melatonin

If you’re reaching for a scoop of ice cream after dinner or considering a cup of warm milk to lull you to sleep, you could snack on a handful or two of nuts like walnuts or pistachios before bed instead. But go for the raw kind, as the roasting process has been shown to negatively impact melatonin content.

And foods like salmon, eggs and cow’s milk can be consumed throughout the day to help improve your natural sleep cycle, but you need to stay consistent and expect to see changes to your quality of sleep over time.

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