8 Tryptophan Facts to Promote Sleep

8 Tryptophan Facts to Promote Sleep

8 Tryptophan Facts to Promote Sleep
8 Tryptophan Facts to Promote Sleep

by: Arlene Gentallan

1. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid (protein) which the body can not make on it's own. You get it from the foods you eat.

2. You need tryptophan to make niacin (vitamin B3) which is important in the conversion of glucose from carbohydrates to give your body energy and in the maintenance of healthy skin, hair, eyes, and nervous system.

3. You need tryptopan to make serotonin which in turn is converted into melatonin. Serotonin is associated with "good mood" so you won't feel anxious and stressed. Melatonin is essential for your normal sleep cycle. Your pineal gland release more melatonin when you sleep.

4. Foods high in tryptophan includes animal sources:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Cheese:
  • Cottage cheese
  • Parmesan
  • Swiss cheese
  • Mozzarella 
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Octopus
  • Lobster
  • Clams
  • Shrimp
  • Oysters

5. There are also plant sources high in tryptophan:

  • Banana
  • Spinatch
  • Garlic bulb
  • Green peas
  • Soy beans
  • Tofu
  • Oatmeal
  • Beans
  • Seeds:
  • Chia Seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Squash seeds
  • Watermelon seeds
  • Flaxseeds 
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Nuts:
  • Peanut
  • Cashew
  • Pistachio
  • Almonds
  • Walnut

6. Combine tryptophan rich foods with carbohydrates like bread and cracker to make serotonin more available for use by your brain.

  • Oatmeal and milk and banana slice
  • Loaf bread with peanut butter spread
  • Cracker with cheese

7. If you consume tryptophan rich snack without carbohydrate, it won't have much effect on your serotonin and melatonin levels. You need carbohydrate for tryptophan from your diet to cross your blood-brain barrier.

8. Taking tryptophan rich food with carbohydrate in an empty stomach helps produce more serotonin since there will be less competition.