I feel bad. I've mentioned tryptophan in passing a few times, but I never really got to the bottom of what it is, or why insomniacs need to be aware of it. I'll correct that now.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that works like a natural tranquilizer. It helps produce serotonin, which can then go on to produce melatonin naturally within the body.
Fortunately, tryptophan is found in many common foods. One example is milk (hence the patronizing recommendation that insomniacs need only consume a glass of warm milk to cure what can be a debilitating condition).
I can't promise that foods rich in tryptophan will cure your insomnia, but it may be worth incorporating more foods with high levels of the amino acid into your diet. Some suggestions to get you started include milk, cheese, eggs, meats and tuna.
Before you get too excited about these foods being able to cure your insomnia, you should be aware that research has shown that the amino acids in these foods can also slow down the work of tryptophan.
Talk about a double-edged sword.
Still, it's worth doing some research into foods that are rich in tryptophan if you're looking for a natural insomnia remedy that doesn't rely on supplements or suspect homeopathy treatments.
Source: Galway Advertiser
Last updated: April 4, 2013