7 Foods Naturally High in Melatonin – Eat This, Not That

When you hear the word “melatonin,” you can automatically think of the vitamin supplements people take to help them sleep better at night. But did you know that you can also get melatonin from the foods you eat?

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and is often called “the sleep hormone,” says Paula Doebrich, RDN, MPH, owner of a private nutrition practice, Happea Nutrition. “Melatonin reacts to light – more is produced when it’s dark and less when it’s bright. It can also be made from certain foods we eat.”

If you’re someone who naturally seeks a good night’s sleep, it might be time to take a hard look at what you eat every day. From bananas to nuts, here are seven foods that can help you sleep better at night once you incorporate them into your diet. And then don’t miss out on the best juice to drink every day, according to science.


Doebrich shares that nuts, of all kinds, are an excellent source of melatonin. “Pistachios and almonds have the highest amounts.” Both types of nuts also contain good amounts of magnesium, a mineral that can also help you sleep better at night.

glass milk and pitcher

There’s a reason your mom may have told you to drink a glass of milk before bed when you were younger. “Cow’s milk is another source of melatonin, so a glass of milk before bed might actually be a good idea,” Doebrich shares.

quite interesting, According to researchmilk that has been collected at night, known as night milk, has even more sleep-promoting properties.

Tart cherry juice

If you like cherries, then you’re in luck: tart cherry juice is one of the best sources of melatonin. Doebrich, however, advises that not all cherry juices are made equal when it comes to how much melatonin they can contain. “Keep in mind that these results are only true for tart cherry varieties such as Montmorency. Not all cherries are as high in melatonin as this variety.”

If you decide to try tart cherry juice, be sure to drink it in moderation, as some can be high in sugar.

RELATED: The Best and Worst Juices at the Grocery Store

Waldemar Brandt / Unsplash

Incorporate bananas into your evening snack if you find you have trouble falling or staying asleep. “Bananas are another great source of melatonin and other nutrients that can help with sleep issues, like vitamin B6 or magnesium,” Doebrich says.

oily fish

Adding fresh fish to your diet can not only be healthy, but can also help improve the quality of your sleep.

“Oily fish, including sardines, trout, and salmon, are loaded with melatonin,” Monika Wassermann, MD, explains to olio lusso. “They are also home to a reasonable amount of omega-3 fatty acids which maintain healthy blood pressure.”

person eating two eggs on a white plate
Shutterstock / Anastasia Kulikovska

Eggs are another melatonin-rich food. “They’re also high in protein and iron, which positively impacts your health,” says Dr. Wasserman. In addition to aiding sleep, the melatonin found in eggs may also have other positive effects on the body.

“Research shows that high levels of melatonin can reduce the risk of macular degeneration, an age-related eye problem,” adds Dr. Wasserman. It may also help prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. “With these two neurodegenerative diseases excluded, you are more likely to enjoy good brain health.”

RELATED: 6 Supplements For Better Sleep That Aren’t Melatonin

Goji berries

Take a handful of goji berries if you notice that you have trouble falling asleep. According to research, goji berries have the highest concentration of melatonin of any common dried fruit. Best of all, goji berries are delicious in sweet or savory recipes – the possibilities are endless!

Jordan Summers-Marcouillier

Jordan Summers-Marcouillier was born and raised in San Jose, CA and now works as a writer in New York, NY. Read more

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