Will A Tryptophan Sleep Aid Really Work?

Using a tryptophan sleep aid has become a common solution for the millions of individuals who regularly suffer from insomnia and other sleep disturbances. The basis for this is quite sound, as the amino acid tryptophan is known to help regulate the sleep cycle and maintain the chemicals that balance mood level. All of this makes it a logical choice for those who prefer a more natural alternative for sleep issues.

So how exactly does tryptophan work? Tryptophan is an amino acid that is found naturally in foods such as milk, eggs, cheese, chicken, turkey, and certain fish. It works to increase serotonin and melatonin, neurotransmitters in the brain's pineal gland that help to regulate the body's natural sleep cycle and balance the chemicals that control mood. This can result in easing of depression symptoms and restoring the body's ability to fall asleep naturally.

The fact that certain foods contain high levels of tryptophan has been common knowledge for many years, which is likely the reason many people regularly rely on a glass of warm milk before bed to help them fall asleep. It's the tryptophan in that milk that does the trick, making it a natural tryptophan sleep aid. This is what likely led natural supplement manufacturers to begin producing their own products containing this powerful amino acid.

Another common belief linked to tryptophan is that the predominance of the substance in turkey is what causes people to slip into "turkey comas" on Thanksgiving Day. In fact, while turkey does contain tryptophan it is not at a high enough level to induce sleep. That sluggishness you feel after your big meal is more likely from simply overeating than loading up on tryptophan laced turkey, but that didn't stop the connection from being made.

Young man in gray t-shirt sleeping on pillow.

olly / stock.adobe.com

Young man in gray t-shirt sleeping on pillow.

olly / stock.adobe.com

Picking up on the importance of tryptophan in regulating sleep, several drug and supplement manufacturers began producing sleep aids called L-Tryptophan, with tryptophan as their primary ingredient. While a tryptophan sleep aid such as these can be quite effective in relieving temporary insomnia, they are less helpful in cases of chronic insomnia. In any case, you should never begin taking a sleep aid without first consulting your doctor as they may interact badly with prescription drugs or may not be indicated in your particular case.

Know Where Your Tryptophan Sleep Aid Is Manufactured

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There has been some controversy surrounding the use of tryptophan, mostly connected to a particular case where L-Tryptophan supplements from Japan were linked to the development of an illness called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. In fact, it was determined that it was not the tryptophan itself but other contaminated ingredients in the supplement that were to blame. Despite this, most doctors still recommend only using supplements manufactured in the U.S.

Aside from this precaution, it is also important that you stick with a brand name product and are careful to follow the written instructions on the package. You should never take a tryptophan sleep aid in lieu of a prescription sleep aid from your doctor and discontinue using it if you experience any adverse side effects. It's for these reasons that you should only take tryptophan supplements under the advice of your doctor.

Sleeping at night should never be a struggle, and now, with the help of L-Tryptophan, it doesn't have to be. You can fall asleep easily and rest comfortably, with a natural boost of your body's own chemicals. If insomnia is an issue for you, talk to your doctor today about adding a tryptophan sleep aid to your regular routine.

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