Why This Nutritional Psychiatrist Wants You To Have Breakfast For Dinner
"Breakfast for dinner" tends to garner two general reactions: a celebratory squeal or, oftentimes, a raised brow. If you identify with the latter, we hear you—it does seem a little odd to take on, especially if you're partial to sweeter morning meals.
However, according to Uma Naidoo, M.D., board-certified psychiatrist, professional chef, and author of This Is Your Brain On Food, breakfast for dinner is a concept worth trying—for better sleep, no less. But she doesn't suggest firing up the griddle for pancakes or smashing avocado on toast. Rather, "Have an omelet at night," she shares on the mindbodygreen podcast.
Why an omelet for dinner is a good idea.
Naidoo touts eggs as an excellent addition to the dinnertime menu. Why? They're naturally chock-full of melatonin, a hormone produced naturally by the body that's essential for sleep. "People find when they have melatonin-rich foods, it actually helps with sleep," Naidoo says. According to research, the hormone can help you fall asleep faster and longer, and it might even enhance REM sleep. Eggs also contain L-ornithine, an amino acid that has been shown to help improve sleep quality. Needless to say, eggs shouldn't be confined to a breakfast staple—in fact, they make a pretty good bedtime snack, if you can tolerate them.
Here's where the omelet itself comes into play: Veggies like asparagus and broccoli are also rich in melatonin, as well as walnuts and flaxseeds. When you add them to your plate, "You're starting to prime your body toward getting back melatonin," Naidoo explains. Walnuts, in particular, are also high in magnesium, which plays a role in supporting restorative, deep sleep by maintaining healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation and a good night's rest.*
Fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling rejuvenated.*
So while you can technically fry up some eggs and serve those star veggies on the side (sprinkled with flax and toasted walnuts), Naidoo suggests whipping up one giant scramble and calling it a day—or, uh, night. It's a win-win: a meal that can naturally promote better sleep, and it's incredibly easy to make.*
If you're open to hopping on the breakfast-for-dinner bandwagon, perhaps top your menu with a veggie-filled omelet. According to Naidoo, it's one of the best no-fuss dinners to enhance your sleep.* Dig in, and catch Z's.