L-Tryptophan: Nutrient

As the amino acid the brain uses to make serotonin, melatonin, and niacin, L-Tryptophan, plays a key role in regulating the sleep wake cycle. Dietary L-tryptophan increases the amount of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the stage that involves deep rest and dreaming. If taken within an hour of going to bed, tryptophan reduces the time needed to fall asleep by as much as 50% and enhances the quality and length of sleep.

Most of us eat 1 to 1.5 grams of dietary L-tryptophan daily. Two to four grams have been used clinically to reduce the time required to fall asleep when taken an hour before retiring, but even 500 mg (1/2 gram) can induce sleep. Foods rich in L-tryptophan include: turkey, yogurt, milk, sunflower seeds, peanuts, potatoes, pasta, bread, bananas, cereal, and rice.

By Lisa Tsakos| July 01, 2008
Categories:  Eat

About the Author

Lisa Tsakos

Lisa Tsakos

Lisa has been in her own practice for over 15 years and specializes in weight management. She teaches natural nutrition in both corporate and educational environments and is a shining example of someone who practices what she teaches.

Lisa is a nutritionist and educator specializing in weight management. After losing weight several years ago through a more natural diet and by improving her digestion, she committed to sharing her new-found knowledge and returned to school to study nutrition. Over the past decade, her Nu-Vitality Weight Program has helped employees at numerous corporations lose thousands of pounds. In addition, Lisa regularly consults for groups and individuals with unique nutritional needs such as police officers and athletes. Lisa has been featured on the Discovery Channel, numerous radio programs and is a contributor to various publications. Additionally, she teaches nutrition at multiple post-secondary schools, has taught natural food cooking workshops, and authored two books.

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