I have some pretty insane insomnia and while the waking up at night and the unrefreshed sleep are issues they are issues that are somewhat handled by a sleeping pill I think… as in I think my sleep quality is better. They delayed onset insomnia isn’t handled by the sleeping pill because it just takes me a long time to fall asleep and it isn’t strong enough to knock me out… when you add in pain, well, then it isn’t strong enough period because then I have some real sleep issues. You add in vertigo and I’m lucky if I sleep at all. So it is erratic. And it is a real issue when I work because it causes some real sleep deprivation which triggers some long stretches of migraines and well then that is a problem compounding a problem. There are medications that they can prescribe to ‘enhance’ the sleeping pill… and they enhance it all right… enhance it All Day Long. So while that actually is an option when I’m trying to break a brutal migraine streak like a status migraine it isn’t a way to regulate my sleep at all. And while I have been off work… well I just go to sleep when I am tired which is like 3am or 4am which isn’t good or normal and when I’m in acute pain it ends up being 6am or later or never.
So this alternative which is completely a completely natural way to boost serotonin levels which regulate things like mood and sleep is one way to actually help out with this. It was recommended to me. This is basically the precurser to serotonin and melatonin. You can get it in things like turkey, for example.
Better Brain Chemistry with Tryptophan
“Tryptophan Improves Sleep Quality
Studies dating back to the late 1970s have demonstrated that taking between 1 and 15 grams of tryptophan at bedtime can help you fall sleep.23 Even doses as little as 250 milligrams were found to increase the quality of sleep by lengthening the amount of time spent in the deepest stage of sleep.23
During the 1980s, many additional studies demonstrated the benefits of taking 1,000 mg or more of tryptophan at bedtime. Significant improvements were shown in subjective reports of sleepiness such as a decrease in the time to fall asleep, decreased total wakefulness, and an increase in total sleep time.24-26 These studies showed their most impressive results in people with mild insomnia, or in those with above-average time it takes to fall asleep.27
Those who take tryptophan at bedtime are more likely to wake up with increased alertness, to have clearer thinking, and to perform better on attention-requiring tasks.25,28 Unlike sleeping pill drugs, tryptophan induces sleepiness but does not impair performance or produce dependence, nor does it make it harder to be roused from sleep when necessary.27,29
One study in older adults demonstrated significant improvements in total sleep time, a decrease in the time to fall asleep and sleep fragmentation or periods of broken sleep following a twice-daily serving of tryptophan-enriched cereal providing 60 milligrams of tryptophan per ounce.9 (A ten-ounce serving of this cereal would thus provide 600 mgof tryptophan.)
Tryptophan may also play a positive role in one of the most dangerous sleep-related complications, obstructive sleep apnea. This condition causes repeated episodes of near-awakening that viciously disrupt sleep cycles and places sufferers at greatly increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease in later life.30-32
In one study, patients with obstructive sleep apnea who took 2.5 grams of tryptophan at bedtime showed significant improvement from their baseline sleep patterns, with improvements in the amounts of time spent in “rapid eye movement” (REM) sleep, and shortened time to entering rapid eye movement sleep.33 Decreased rapid eye movement sleep is associated with poor next-day alertness and feelings of fatigue, sometimes resulting in involuntary falling asleep during daytime (narcolepsy).“