Tag Archives: Holidays

Could Holiday Meals be Alleviating your Sleep Problems?

Author: Nick Ryan

With the holiday season upon us, chances are you have already begun to make plans to spend extra time with family, exchange gifts, or take some time off from work. Though different, all of these activities tend to have one thing in common: food. You might be tempted to write these meals off as an unnecessary splurge and something that you’ll regret in the coming weeks, but could these holiday feasts actually be helping your sleep?

An article published in the scientific journal ‘Nutritional Neuroscience’ seems to point towards the answer being yes. Researchers Craig Hudson, et al. published their findings over the amino acid tryptophan, which can be found in many of the common foods that we consume (this is the infamous compound responsible for making you tired after eating turkey). After completing a study over tryptophan’s effects on insomnia, the researchers concluded that “protein rich in tryptophan can relieve insomnia provided it is combined with a high glycemic index carbohydrate.” (Hudson).

In laymen’s terms, this means that if you are an individual who suffers from insomnia, eating foods high in tryptophan (such as poultry or other common foods) in conjunction with a carbohydrate, may actually help to relieve you of your sleep problems. The researchers even went as far as stating that “Protein source tryptophan is comparable to pharmaceutical grade tryptophan for the treatment of insomnia” (Hudson).

This is a very interesting study, and I would highly recommend reading the full publication, found here:


-Nick Ryan


Craig Hudson, Susan Patricia Hudson, Tracy Hecht & Joan MacKenzie (2005) Protein source tryptophan versus pharmaceutical grade tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for chronic insomnia, Nutritional Neuroscience, 8:2, 121-127, DOI: 10.1080/10284150500069561

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