Estimated reading time: 2 minute(s)
Do you have a hard time falling asleep, do you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, do you wake up tired feeling like you never went into a deep sleep, etc.? If the answer is Yes, you may have a melatonin deficiency. Melatonin is a very important hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles and is responsible for a good quality night’s rest.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland when the sun goes down and it helps regulate circadian rhythms.
Besides helping you sleep and rest properly, it’s also closely related to aging and stress. It truly is a powerful hormone.
Effects of Melatonin:
- Protects the cardiovascular system.
- Powerful antioxidant
- Has a positive effect on blood glucose levels.
- Prevents cancer.
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects.
- Prevents osteoporosis.
- Lowers cortisol levels.
- Helps to burn fat.
- Balances the hormonal system.
Dinners That Help To Increase Your Melatonin Levels
Of course, the easiest thing to do after a few nights without sleep is to turn to pills, but I would advise you to only do this as an absolute last resort as experts have warned that they can lead to addiction.
We can increase our body’s melatonin levels with food.
Ideally, when it is late in the day, you want to opt for foods that are rich in tryptophan– an amino acid precursor of melatonin. In other words, for melatonin to be synthesized properly, we need to have good levels of tryptophan.
As this is an essential amino acid, the only way to get it is through our diet as our bodies do not naturally produce them. Now, let’s take a look at some dinner options to help you sleep well:
Toast with Nut Spreads and Creams:
Almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts, oh my! All nuts contain tryptophan, which helps you fall asleep. Plus they’re also rich in magnesium contributing to lower stress levels. I prefer nut spreads so that I can use it on some gluten-free toast for dinner. My favorite is this Crunchy Almond Cream Spread.
Grilled and Baked Fish:
Choose fish that is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids as they are the ones that help (a lot), to increase tryptophan levels. Here are some of the best ones: salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines… For dinner it’s best to cook the fish in the most easily digestible way like with this recipe for Baked Salmon Fillet with Veggies.
This is undoubtedly one of my favorite dinners because not only is it delicious but eggs are an easy-to-digest protein that is rich in tryptophan and also vitamin B12-many people lack enough B12 and this leads to sleep disorders and feeling fatigue. My latest obsession is this recipe for a Low Carb Stuffed Omelet.
Oatmeal is most popular at breakfast, but it’s benefits are tenfold when eaten later in the day: not only is it filling, but it lowers blood sugar levels, relaxes muscles, lowers blood pressure, reduces muscle and joint inflammation and much more! Add this recipe to your nightly meal plan and see for yourself.
You already know that Avocados are a staple in my kitchen. They are a source of healthy fat, rich in tryptophan, contain magnesium and vitamin B6! It’s an amazing cocktail of nutrients to help you sleep like a baby. This is THE Recipe and when I say THE, I mean it 😉
Meat can sometimes be a good dinner choice as long as we keep it light so it’s easy to digest. Meats such as Chicken and Turkey are the best choices. Besides containing tryptophan, they also provide us with B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
Dairy is another food group with high levels of this amino acid. I’m a Cheese Lover and fresh cheeses like ricotta, cottage, mozzarella… are great for dinner as they aren’t so heavy.
Bananas are perfect for dinner because it’s sugars are easily digestible carbohydrates. Plus as we all know it’s a great source of potassium, a key component for muscle relaxation and also aids in relaxing the nervous system.