Many processes are involved in sleep regulation, including the ingestion of nutrients, suggesting a link between diet and sleep. Aside from studies investigating the effects of tryptophan, previous research on sleep and diet has primarily focused on the effects of sleep deprivation or sleep restriction on diet. Furthermore, previous reviews have included subjects with clinically diagnosed sleep-related disorders. The current narrative review aimed to clarify findings on sleep-promoting foods and outline the effects of diet on sleep in otherwise healthy adults. A search was undertaken in August 2019 from the Cochrane, MEDLINE (PubMed), and CINAHL databases using the population, intervention, control, outcome (PICO) method. Eligible studies were classified based on emerging themes and reviewed using narrative synthesis. Four themes emerged: tryptophan consumption and tryptophan depletion, dietary supplements, food items, and macronutrients. High carbohydrate diets, and foods containing tryptophan, melatonin, and phytonutrients (e.g., cherries), were linked to improved sleep outcomes. The authors posit that these effects may be due in part to dietary influences on serotonin and melatonin activity.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited