20 Melatonin-Rich Vegetables & Fruits: Eating For Better Sleep!

woman sleeping on her side

Last Updated on February 14, 2023 by theworldofsleepstaff

If you’ve ever tossed and turned around on your bed trying to find sleep, you know firsthand how frustrating that experience can be.

Several processes, hormones, neurotransmitters and others actually play important roles in lulling your body into sleep – and one of those hormones is melatonin.

Melatonin can be naturally found in plants and animals and plays a vital role in the human sleep-wake cycle. This means that melatonin is in charge of several activities and conditions in your body that determines your sleeping and waking cycle.

It regulates blood pressure, circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle), oxidative stress, sleeping patterns and more. And as a dietary supplement, it is popular for its use in treating sleep disorders and regulating one’s circadian rhythm, especially after relocation.

While melatonin is produced naturally in the body, it can also be found in plants and animals; it is, however, more abundant in plants than animals.

If you’ve been experiencing insomnia or difficulties falling asleep or if your circadian rhythm is unbalanced, getting a steady and consistent supply of melatonin may help.

Even though melatonin is available as a supplement and in different dosage forms, the best source of melatonin remains in natural products – as with other things that pertain to your health.

Below, we will go over a range of fruits and vegetables rich in melatonin that can help improve your sleep schedule and experience.

Unlike medication and supplements, you can easily add these fruits and vegetables to your diet. Plus, most of these melatonin-rich fruits and vegetables also come with other benefits – besides boosting sleep – that will keep you in a healthy state!

White bottle and pills, letters Melatonin, alarm clock and sleep mask on light grey background. Sleeping backdrop Concept melatonin, insomnia and good night.

20 Incredible Fruits & Vegetables Rich in Melatonin

1. Cherries

Cherries are one of the most abundant natural sources of melatonin. In all the types it comes in – sweet and sour cherries – it is an effective natural sleep-inducing agent. However, sour cherries actually contain a higher amount of melatonin compared to sweet cherries.

This study on the effect of cherry juice in the treatment of insomnia proved immensely successful and encouraging as the study concluded that “Cherry juice increased sleep time and sleep efficiency.”

So if you want to bid goodbye to tossing and turning on the bed all night, make sure you have an abundance of cherries to munch on. You can make tasty juices and smoothies with it so it’s an easy addition to your diet.

Fresh cherry on black slate table
iStock.com/Marina Fedorova

2. Pineapples

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and a slice of pineapple a day will keep insomnia away!

According to this study, it was discovered that volunteers who ate pineapples had a remarkable increase in the melatonin level in their bodies.

Who knows, a slice of pineapple at night might just be what will make the difference on whether you get a deeper and more restorative night’s rest or not.

Fresh whole and cut pineapple isolated on white background. From top view

3. Bananas

It is no doubt that when it comes to natural sleeping aids, especially with fruit, bananas are one of the top dogs, or in this case, top fruits!

The Banana’s ability to boost and promote rejuvenating sleep stems from its abundance of tryptophan, magnesium, and potassium, all of which stimulate melatonin production in the body.

It also contains melatonin in moderate quantities. So if you’re looking for melatonin-rich fruits and vegetables, banana could be a great option.

This study has nothing but accolades for the effectiveness of bananas in inducing sleep and curtailing insomnia.

Photo via Unsplash+

4. Lettuce

If you want to change your diet to regulate your sleep cycle, you’ve just found the perfect vegetable to sprinkle on your dishes and salads.

Lettuce is not only healthy and replete with various nutrients that will support your health, but it is also rich in melatonin and helpful for inducing sleep.

According to this study from a highly respected journal, lactucarium, the milky white fluid in lettuce is also responsible for its sedative effect.

Growing lettuce in rows in the vegetable garden

5. Pistachios

Nuts have several health benefits, and pistachios are no different. Amongst its other helpful benefits, pistachio is an excellent source of melatonin.

According to this study, the quantity of melatonin in pistachios is more than that in most melatonin supplements.

Pistachios in a ceramic bowl on a dark wooden background.
iStock.com/Maryna Iaroshenko

6. Almonds

We can’t mention nuts that help boost sleep without including almonds. Almonds are an incredible source of many compounds that promote sleep.

For example, it contains magnesium, an essential compound involved in the body’s wake-sleep cycle because of its ability to reduce stress and synthesize compounds that boost hormones.

Furthermore, this research journal from the National Center for Biotechnology Information confirms that nuts like almonds indeed contain melatonin and can help aid sleep.

Almond on a wooden scoop
Unsplash+/Behnam Norouzi

7. Cashews

Cashews contain melatonin in moderate quantities and have been found to help regulate the sleep cycle.

Additionally, cashews’ high magnesium content makes them a great sleeping aid, especially when combined with the sedative effects of milk.

Ceramic bowl with cashew nuts, Anacardium occidentale, on a rustic wooden table
iStock.com/Leila Melhado

8. Mushrooms

When people mention vegetables, mushrooms are usually the last to be mentioned, if they are even mentioned at all.

However, this food is rich in several nutrients and compounds that have been proven to improve sleep, including tryptophan and melatonin.

Reishi mushrooms seem to be the most potent among the myriad mushroom species available. Species like L.deliciosus and B. edulis also contain appreciable amounts of melatonin.

Reishi mushroom on table

9. Corn

Corn is another versatile vegetable that contains an appreciable amount of melatonin.

Additionally, it contains other compounds like insulin that can help synthesize tryptophan, which is another A-list compound for sleeping when consumed in the right quantities.

One incredible thing about corn is its versatility. You can add it to almost any dish, eat it as a snack or use it as a base ingredient for many dishes.

10. Walnuts

Walnuts are one of the best food sources of melatonin.

They contain moderate amounts of melatonin and other compounds that provide additional health benefits such as heart-boosting properties, cholesterol-lowering abilities, and weight reduction, as confirmed by this study.

Walnuts are also rich in other compounds like manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.

Peeled walnuts and whole walnuts on wooden background

11. Kiwi

Fruits are healthy; however, some contain a high amount of sugar that may increase blood sugar levels.

However, Kiwi takes healthy eating to another level. With high nutrients and low calories, it is the poster child for healthy fruits.

Kiwi contains trace amounts of melatonin and serotonin – both of which have been proven to help boost sleep.

According to this study, 24 test subjects that took kiwi fruit before bed for 4 weeks reported that they fell asleep more quickly by 42% compared to when they didn’t take it.

The carotenoids and vitamin C in Kiwis also play an essential role in their sleep-promoting abilities.

Green smoothie with kiwi, apple, lemon and linen seeds. Healthy fresh diet eating, superfood on wooden rustic background.

12. Oats

You may have never considered oats for dinner; after all, oats are one of the most popular and healthy breakfast choices for most folks.

However, oats can also be a great dinner, especially for people battling insomnia.

Oats are rich in melatonin and tryptophan. When further combined with other melatonin-rich fruits like bananas, oats can be a healthy and wise dinner choice for those looking to get a rejuvenating night’s rest.

Oatmeal porridge bowl with blueberries in female hands

13. Tomatoes

Several plant species contain melatonin, tomatoes included. In fact this study confirmed that tomatoes are a great source of melatonin.

When combined with other dietary ingredients rich in melatonin, like olive oil, or grapes, you can make various meal options for dinner.

14. Grapes

In addition to containing lycopene, which is purported to have superb sleeping properties, grapes also contain melatonin in different quantities.

Some grapes that contain melatonin in appreciable amounts include Nebbiolo, Croatina, Merlot, and Marzemino.

According to this study, melatonin is not only present in grapes, but also in other grape-related foodstuffs like wine.

Man holding a basket full of grapes
Image via Unsplash+

15. Olive

Olives are also great for inducing sleep due to several reasons. Not only do they contain melatonin, but they also contain antioxidants that can help reduce hyperactivity that may interfere with sleep.

This study which compared the relationship between Mediterranean diets – which are strongly based on olive oil – and sleep, proved promising.

The study confirmed that the melatonin content in olive oil might account for the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet, which has olive oil as its primary source of fat.

16. Avocados

Avocados contain magnesium, vitamin B6, potassium, and tryptophan, all of which produce melatonin.

The great thing about avocados is their versatility and the wide range of dishes they go with.

You don’t need to go all out to make a fancy dinner with avocados. Instead, you can make a simple sandwich using avocado as butter or just eat it plainly.

According to this research, melatonin in avocado improved its anti-oxidizing properties, making it more potent for reducing oxidative stress and other symptoms that can cause sleeplessness.

Toast with sliced avocado topping, basil leaf and seasoning.

17. Asparagus

The natural dietary solution to those nights of tossing and turning you’ve been experiencing may just be a side dish you never considered could be helpful.

Asparagus contains several compounds, including melatonin, that can fight against insomnia and help promote more restful sleep.

Apart from melatonin,  asparagus also contains vitamin B, Folate, and chromium, whose absence can lead to insomnia.

18. Cucumber

Most famous for their use as pickles and their hydrating properties, cucumbers are one of the healthiest and most nutritious fruits out there.

However, they can also promote sleep effectively, especially when combined with other fruits like bananas, celery, avocados, etc.

This study on the effects of melatonin in cucumbers yielded positive results.


19. Broccoli

Broccoli may not be everyone’s favorite, but if you’re finding it challenging to get rejuvenating sleep at night, it may become your favorite vegetable because of its melatonin content.

As a cruciferous vegetable, broccoli comes with many health benefits that can be more efficiently harnessed if combined with other fruits and vegetables rich in melatonin.

However, it would be best to go easy on them when you want to add them to your dinner diet as they contain high fiber content that could cause stomach issues. If you’re looking for melatonin-rich fruits and vegetables, broccoli could be a great option. (Related: Why Eating Broccoli Before Bed Could Help You Sleep).

20. Pomegranate

Pomegranate is a magnesium-rich fruit which can help in the synthesis of melatonin. In addition, it is rich in vitamin C and other compounds that help induce sleep.

Ripe pomegranate fruit on a old black wooden vintage background. Horizontal. Selective focus.
iStock.com/Anna Usova

5 Fruits & Vegetables To Avoid Before Bed

1. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a perfectly healthy vegetable; however, it has high fiber content, which can intrude on your sleep.

Too much fiber content can lead to a series of gastrointestinal disturbances like bloating, gassiness, stomach cramps, and so on, which can make sleeping an uncomfortable task.

Big white organic natural and clean cauliflowers

2. Dried Fruits

Dried fruits also contain high fiber content and may irritate your gastrointestinal tract.

3. Oranges & Fruit With High Acid Content

This is another category of fruits you’ll want to skip during dinnertime. Fruits with high acid content can cause gastrointestinal disturbances that may keep you tossing and turning through the night.

Image via Unsplash+

4. Onions

Onions are great flavoring vegetables and can take a meal from 0 to 10. However, they shouldn’t be consumed in high quantities, especially at night.

Should you want to include them in your dinner, ensure, they are cooked. According to one study, onions were found to increase acid reflux and thus worsen heartburn and other gastrointestinal disturbances.

5. Watermelon

Watermelon is one of the fruits that have a very high water content; while it isn’t necessarily a bad quality, it can still lead to some uncomfortability.

If you consume too much watermelon at night, the water content in your body will be high, and you may have to wake up numerous times in the night to ease yourself.

Colorful fruit pattern of fresh watermelon slices on blue background. From top view

Final Thoughts

Fruits and vegetables are essential for the proper functioning of your body. In addition, many of them contain beneficial compounds that are not naturally produced in the body.

Several vegetables and fruits, as we’ve mentioned in this article, also contain compounds that can drastically improve sleep.

However, as with all things, fruits should be consumed in moderate amounts, especially if they are to be eaten before bed.