An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders, according to the National Institutes of Health. Over a period of time, sleep deficiency may result not only in fatigue, but also increased risk for chronic disease, depression and obesity. Eating certain foods can help boost the production of sleep-inducing substances in your body. Instead of taking medication, reach for a food that both helps you fall asleep and adds to your overall good health.
Foods Containing Melatonin
Melatonin — a hormone made by the pineal gland in your brain — helps regulate your wake-sleep cycle, known as circadian rhythm. Your body’s circadian rhythm, which is a 24-hour “clock,” plays a critical role in determining when you fall asleep and when you wake up. Walnuts and both fresh and dried cherries are good sources of melatonin. Corn, tomatoes and potatoes also contain melatonin but in smaller amounts.
Foods Containing L-tryptophan
L-tryptophan, an amino acid that functions as a protein building block, is a precursor of melatonin and seratonin — a neurotransmitter that aids sleep. From tryptophan, your body produces another melatonin and seratonin precursor known as hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, which is linked to positive sleep patterns. Good food sources of tryptophan include turkey, chicken, fish, nuts, milk, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, tofu and soy.
Original Article from LIVESTRONG