Tryptophan rich foods can be helpful as a bedtime snack if you’re having trouble getting to sleep because it triggers the neurotransmitters that help your brain’s sleep cycle.
Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, which in turn is a precursor to melatonin.
Serotonin helps regulate mood and sleep.
It seems to be helpful for people who have mild trouble sleeping (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6764927), although not for people with no trouble sleeping or more severe insomnia.
Melatonin is part of the signal system for your body’s sleep cycle.
One food I found interesting is cocoa powder. It has a fair amount of tryptophan, but it also has theobromine and caffeine which both work as stimulants.
So it’ll depend how your body processes it as to whether it will help you get to sleep or keep you up all night.
Tryptophan rich foods may help some people get to sleep more easily, but you’ll have to experiment and see what works for you.
Regardless of tryptophan, the foods below are rich in lots of important nutrients and are healthy to eat any time of day.
My favorite way to look at numbers is in chart format, so here are some of the top plant sources of tryptophan:
Tryptophan Rich Plant Foods
|Sesame Seeds||2 Tbsp (28g)||6g||92.4||177|
|Tahini||2 Tbsp (28g)||5g||104mg||167|
|Sunflower Seeds||2 Tbsp (28g)||5g||82.6mg||163|
|Flax Seeds||2 Tbsp (28g)||5g||83.1mg||150|
|Pumpkin Seeds||2 Tbsp (28g)||9g||162||146|
|Soy Flour||1 cup (85g)||30g||430mg||375|
|Cocoa Powder||1 cup (86g)||17g||252mg||196|
Part of getting into a good sleep cycle is just having an active and happy lifestyle and following a healthy eating plan. If your body is healthy, you should find sleep easier and more fulfilling.
Personally, I find not having anything to eat before bed is the best for me to get a good night’s sleep, although sometimes an herbal tea is perfect. I’ve been enjoying chai almond milk lattes lately.
Do you find any particular foods help or hinder your sleep cycle? Let me know below.