Insomnia seems to be one of the main problems that many people face in their daily lives. Both stress and other unhealthy habits, such as the time people spend in front of screens, work negatively in ensuring a deep and quality sleep.
In an effort to discover what lifestyle choices could reverse the progression of this problem, giving people a good night’s sleep again, a team of scientists identified “a positive relationship between dairy consumption and sleep quality.” The scientific conclusions are published in Advances in Nutrition.
Poor or insufficient sleep is a risk factor for the development of various cardiometabolic diseases, including obesity and cardiovascular disease. A number of newer studies show that specific nutritional interventions could improve the quality of sleep in people who experience difficulties. One such beneficial intervention is adding dairy products to the diet, according to the new review.
Dairy products are particularly rich in tryptophan, a compound that plays a key role in the production of serotonin and melatonin, hormones necessary for the body to sleep, but also to remain in a state of deep sleep for several hours. In addition, these foods contain a number of micronutrients necessary for the synthesis of melatonin, thus promoting sleep.
The research team sought to determine the relationship between dairy products and sleep by examining the results of relevant epidemiological studies and clinical trials and exploring the possible mechanisms that might explain this association.
According to the findings, this relationship is likely explained through two main pathways: Dairy products contain tryptophan, which is converted to melatonin, while also improving the gut microbiome.
An additional conclusion of the review was that the timing of consumption of these foods is also important for them to work beneficially for sleep. For example, one study found that eating a tryptophan-rich breakfast led to higher melatonin levels during the night. “It makes sense that the time of intake determines the effect, since the absence of sunlight is the most important factor in the production and secretion of melatonin,” commented the researchers.
The scientific team points out that “additional studies with larger samples are needed to confirm the relationship between the consumption of dairy products and improved sleep, while clarifying the different effect in different groups of people.”
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