A warm glass of milk has long been touted as a way to support restful sleep. But why milk?
Well, it turns out there’s some good science behind grandma’s old nighttime trick.
Milk contains a powerful amino acid called tryptophan, which your body can convert into several essential molecules including melatonin, serotonin, niacin (aka. vitamin B3), and nicotinamide (aka. vitamin B6). These molecules can help you sleep and even regulate bodily functions such as mood and behavior.
And it isn’t just cow’s milk that’s helpful. Human milk also contains tryptophan, which supports circadian rhythms.
The benefits of tryptophan
As we grow into adulthood, tryptophan is a vital nutrient for overall health, especially when you consider that a staggering 68% of people report having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at least once a week.
“Several studies have shown that increasing tryptophan in the diet can improve sleep by increasing melatonin,” reports Healthline.
They add, “Symptoms of anxiety and depression were also reduced, and it is likely that the tryptophan helped increase both serotonin and melatonin.”
But there’s a catch: The body doesn’t naturally produce tryptophan. It must be obtained from diet.
As WebMD describes, “Tryptophan has the lowest concentration in the body of any amino acid, yet, it is vital for a wide variety of metabolic functions that affect your mood, cognition, and behavior.”
How can you increase tryptophan in your diet?
There are a few ways to ensure you are benefiting from tryptophan.
Eat foods high in tryptophan
Tryptophan can be found in foods like:
- Nuts and seeds
- Turkey and chicken
- Canned tuna
Incorporating healthy proteins into your diet can help ensure you’re getting the proper amount of tryptophan.
Get enough iron, vitamin B6, and vitamin B2
Your body has a variety of uses for tryptophan, including converting it into niacin. Niacin is also called vitamin B3 and helps support your nervous system, digestive system, and skin health. It can also help your body relax, which promotes restful sleep.
In order for tryptophan to convert into niacin, you also need to have enough iron, vitamin B6, and vitamin B2, according to Healthline.
Take a supplement like Trulacta
Trulacta’s active ingredient is derived from 100% human milk for whole-body support. It has a wide variety of components that work together to support overall wellbeing, and is a natural source of tryptophan. In fact, one of the first effects people often notice when taking Trulacta is improved sleep quality. If you would like to optimize sleep support, we recommend taking two Trulacta daily, one hour before bedtime.
**Daily value not established
Every body is unique. If you are having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, talk to your doctor to discover the best options for your individual needs.