How To: Old Wives' Tale or Science? 20 Snacks That Just Might Make You Sleepy

Old Wives' Tale or Science? 20 Snacks That Just Might Make You Sleepy

I'm sure you've heard that binging on turkey will make you sleepy, and there's a reason for that. Turkey contains tryptophan, which some believe is the go-to amino acid for increasing serotonin (a calming neurotransmitter) and/or melatonin (a sleep inducing hormone) in your brain. Some say old wives tale, some say science, but clinical research has shown mixed results in regard to its effectiveness as a sleep aid.

Though turkey is the best known tryptophan-laden food, there are actually many more options containing a higher dosage including pumpkin seeds, caribou, pork chops, and soy beans. Check out the full list below for 20 snacks "spiked" with tryptophan—eat enough, and maybe they'll usher in that nice, drowsy feeling as you lie your overworked head on your soft, comfortable pillow.

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I've read varying opinions. that in the case of thanksgiving, it's all the carbs that make you tired... anybody know for certain?


Mythbusters actually proved that it IS indeed the amount you take in on Thanksgiving day, and NOT the Turkey in general that makes you sleepy.

I am no scientist, but I've actually read/heard that it is the combination of the two. I believe most poultry has about the same level of tryptophan, and that it is when coupled with carbs that the seratonin levels in our body are increased. I'd be curious to see an accurate study on this.

I never would have guessed pumpkin and sunflower seeds! Those are my biggest companions when it comes to hiking. So, I wonder... what's making me tired: exercise or tryptophan?

ha. safe to say exercise. but it would certainly be fun if the answer was actually the latter.

That is true about pumpkin seeds. I took some to work a few times for a snack and I swear not even an hour later it was like someone had slipped me some kind of sleeping pill lol...I was so tired! It was awful.

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