Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland that helps regulate your sleep/wake cycles. If you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, your body may need a melatonin boost. While there are melatonin supplements available, they have proven to be minimally effective in comparison to naturally-produced melatonin.
Foods for Better Sleep
There are many foods that you can easily incorporate into your diet to increase your melatonin and get that much-needed shut-eye.
In addition to helping your body produce melatonin, bananas also contain vitamin B6, magnesium, tryptophan, and amino acids that produce serotonin. All of these ingredients help your mind and body relax and induce a sleepy state. Most impressively, research suggests that bananas are able to increase melatonin levels by 180%. 
Oats have numerous health benefits and are extremely heart-healthy, in addition to containing vitamins and minerals that help relax the body. Similar to bananas, oats also increase melatonin production and are high in potassium, amino acids, magnesium, and complex carbs which may all help encourage sleepiness.
Pineapple is perhaps the single best food product that can increase melatonin production naturally. One study measured the effect of pineapple consumption to increase melatonin by over 250%. To get the most benefits, avoid the dried and sugary pineapple and opt for fresh or frozen pineapple. 
Also high in calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin B, oranges have been shown to help improve melatonin production in the body naturally by over 45%. 
Well-known for their melatonin-inducing powers, cherries also help fight inflammation and aid in digestion. You can either choose dark, sweet cherries or tart cherries to help send you off to sleep. They are easy to snack on, to top off your ice cream with, or add into a smoothie (throw in some bananas as well for extra benefits).
Others Foods that Increase Melatonin Production
There are plenty of other foods that help your body produce melatonin in smaller amounts. Some of these foods include organic corn, tomatoes, wild rice, barley, squash, and potatoes. In addition, many nuts such as raw cashews, walnuts, almonds, and peanuts help induce relaxation and increase serotonin levels.
If you’re still having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, make sure you are avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and evening. If you work out in the evening, make sure you do so at least three hours before you prepare to snooze, and don’t eat your last meal any later than two hours before bedtime.
If you still have trouble dozing off, try using a sleep mask to help your body register that it is time to sleep and produce more melatonin. Because many supplements don’t even contain what is on the label, but do contain toxins and preservatives, these natural melatonin sources are a much more effective and safer option than melatonin supplements.
Try incorporating as many of these foods into your diet as possible to help your body relax and get the sleep it needs.
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23252791 
- Image: Flickr/RelaxingMusic