Updated: Oct 28
Have you been suffering from a lack of sleep lately?
With the amount of stuff we need to get done in our ever changing constantly busy society perhaps your sleep has taken a hit. Or maybe a lack of sleep has been long term for you and you’re at your wits end.
Sleep is so essential. It helps boost our immune systems, prevents chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, and even prevents obesity.
Plus we just feel amazing after a satisfying good night's sleep. So how do you fall asleep and stay asleep better?
While practicing good sleep hygiene is essential to getting your best sleep, it never hurts to add in some of nature's best foods to help lull you into restful bliss.
Melatonin is the hormone produced by your pineal gland deep within the brain. Its purpose is to modulate your sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm.
Luckily, there are some foods that naturally contain this hormone.
Walnuts are one of the best nuts when it comes to overall health. They not only have the healthy omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid , they also have phytosterols which help to reduce LDL-cholesterol . They even help to diversify your gut bacteria .
But did you know that walnuts also contain melatonin?
While melatonin has been used in disorders from alcohol induced liver disease  to a complementary therapy in cancer , most people use it just to get a good night's rest.
And that's where walnuts come in.
Walnuts have about 3.4-4.5ng/g of walnuts so a 1 ounce serving (about 7 walnuts) will give you about 128 ng of melatonin. Furthermore studies show that serum melatonin levels, the amount of melatonin in your blood stream, raise after eating walnuts .
If all the health benefits of walnuts still don't convince you to eat them, then try eating rice.
Rice is a staple food for the majority of the world with approximately 40,000 varieties, but did you know that rice has amazing nutritional properties?
And I'm not referring to your grocery store white rice.
High in nutrients like anythocyanins, powerful antioxidants, magnesium, and molybdenum, red rice gives you a healthy refreshing change from the relatively nutrient poor white rice.
But red rice also contains melatonin.
In fact, red rice contains about 212 ng/g of melatonin .
While other foods like tart cherries, cranberries, and wheat contain melatonin, the sleep hormone isn't the only molecule needed for a good's night rest.