Your Diet and Sleep

Florence Cardinal Health Guide
  • Sleep disorders of all kinds affect millions of people every day. However, facts concerning sleep and the disorders associated with sleep are not widely known to the public. The sad aspect to this subject, is that many doctors are not versed in sleep disorders as well. Much of the research that one may encounter has been compiled due to personal experiences or through a personal search for knowledge. If you feel that you cannot go through a day without having difficulty doing normal tasks due to lack of sleep or other sleep disorders, then you may consider highly the notion of going to an accredited sleep disorder clinic.

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    Diet and Sleep


    We eat food to live everyday... some of us may also be stricken with nightly or daily sleep problems. Most of us do not realize that some, if not most, of the foods we eat contain certain hormones that induce sleep. One of those hormones that occur naturally in foods is tryptophan... an amino acid. Foods that are high in carbohydrates tend to increase the levels of this hormone. The opposite is true for foods that are high in protein. Protein tends to decrease the levels of tryptophan in the body. The reason behind this is because protein contains many other amino acids, therefore producing a natural barrier in one's blood. This causes the tryptophan to not be able to enter the brain via blood flow.


    Carbohydrates on the other hand produce an abundance of insulin. The insulin transports the amino acids (except tryptophan) to the skeletal muscles causing no competition or barrier line for the tryptophan to have to fight. Given this fact, the amino acid has full entrance to the brain via blood flow. Tryptophan, along with seratonin combine together in the brain to help regulate sleep patterns. If sleep is something that one is having regular problems with, tryptophan is sold as a pill form in many health food stores. One should be cautioned however... for large doses can cause terrible nausea. However, if taken properly and in small doses... tryptophan has been known to help people with mild insomnia.


    When your grandmother said that you should drink some warm milk to fall asleep... she was partially right. The age old remedy of drinking warm milk has worked for many people. This is due to the tryptophan content in the milk itself. However, the milk does not need to be warm to have the sleep effect. The temperature of the milk should be determined by personal taste.


    When planning meals and/or snacks during a given day, one should try and have their complex carbohydrates closer to their evening meal or snack. Examples of complex carbohydrates are potatoes, pasta, and breads. Taking in protein during the daytime such as fish, meats, and legumes, will help to keep you alert during the day. Further more, having regular set meals everyday that contains some type of high protein foods will boost learning... making one's mind more alert.


    Studies have shown that children that do not eat a regular breakfast have a considerable decrease in learning performance during the day. So to sum it up, having an intake of less protein and high carbohydrates will help you get your zzz's!


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    (Diet and Sleep - Part Two)

Published On: June 08, 2009