- Sleeping well is important for your overall health and even weight loss
- Tryptophan is the amino acid which can naturally induce sleep
- Tryptophan can be found in almost all dairy products
Tips to improve sleep: Amino acids can be termed as the building blocks of protein. They are small structural units which combine to form various proteins in the body. There are 20 amino acids which come together and make specific proteins which go into creating hair, nerves, matrix of the bone, cartilage, enzymes, etc. Celeb nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar says that these amino acids can be compared to alphabets. And just like different alphabets combine to form words, different amino acids combine to form hair, cartilage, etc.
Of the 20 kinds of amino acids, nine are characterised as essential amino acids. This means that your body cannot produce these and they must be obtained through diet. Apart from boosting muscle growth and development, certain amino acids can also help regulate sleep, says nutritionist Nmami Agarwal.
Lockdown health tips: The link between amino acids and good sleep
Sleeping well is important for your overall health and even weight loss. Let's take a look at the link between amino acids and sleep.
"Loss of sleep or disturbed sleep is a common problem. Correcting your diet and improving amino acid content of your meals can be a great way of ensuring good sleep," Diwekar writes in her book Don't Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight.
She goes on to add that tryptophan is the amino acid which can naturally induce sleep by increasing serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin and melatonin are neurotransmitters which help in calming down the brain and induce sleep.
Tryptophan can be found in almost all dairy products, informs Diwekar. To improve your sleep, you can do the following:
1. Drink a glass or a cup of milk (without sugar) as a late-night snack
2. Eat a dairy product like paneer for your dinner
Doing this can provide you with tryptophan and improve sleep. "When consumed with a whole grain like wheat, jowar, bajra or nachni, it will lead to a restful sleep," Diwekar writes.
Apart from tryptophan, glycine, glutamine and theanine are other amino acids that can help you sleep well.
Your body can produce glycine on its own but it can also be obtained from foods like - fish, egg, legumes, and dairy products. "Glycine helps you fall asleep quickly and also promotes sleep quality. It works by increasing serotonin levels, which is a neurotransmitter that is required to produce a sleep hormone called melatonin. It can also improve memory and cognitive function," nutritionist Nmami Agarwal tells DoctorNDTV.
Glutamine is an amino acid that can be produced by your body but it is also conditionally essential, which means your body's demand for it can go up under certain situations. It can be obtained from - eggs, beets, cabbage, spinach, wheat products, and papaya. "Glutamine helps in governing sleep through its stimulating action on GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid), which is a neurotransmitter that signals your body to go into "rest" mode. GABA is also associated with the feeling of calmness, relaxation, peace of mind, and greater quality of sleep," informs Agarwal.
L-theanine is a type of non- essential amino acid which means your body can produce it on its own but it can also be obtained through certain foods. White tea, green tea, black tea, and oolong tea are considered to be the richest food sources of theanine. "It exerts positive benefits to the brain and induces relaxation by affection feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin. It helps promote restful sleep with a relaxed state of mind, at the same time it also helps to maintain daytime alertness," Agarwal adds.
(Rujuta Diwekar is nutritionist based in Mumbai)
(Nmami Agarwal is a nutritionist at Nmami Life)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.