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A Health, Nutrition, and Alternative Medicine Blog

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Does serotonin promote sleep?

Written by Tena Moore

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates sleep as well as mood, appetite, sexuality, metabolism and body temperature. Neurotransmitters send messages to the nerves and help different parts of the brain communicate with one another. When levels of serotonin are low, one might suffer from sleeping disorders, depression, and either a decreased appetite, or an increased appetite with cravings for sweet foods. Serotonin is most closely associated with treating depression, though many people use it as a sleep aid as well.

Although serotonin is a natural chemical produced in the body, it can also be found in some foods and is available as a supplement. If you aren’t sleeping well, you can either uptake your healthy serotonin-rich, high protein foods such as turkey, beef, chicken, fish, and dairy. If you would rather take a nutritional supplement, 5-HTP is recommended. 5-HTP, or 5-Hydroxytryptophan, is an amino acid that aids in producing serotonin in the body. It is sold in vitamin and health food stores and is marketed as a sleep aid, a treatment for depression, and a helpful aid for suppressing the appetite.

If you suffer from low mood, sleeplessness and other depression symptoms, a 5-HTP supplement may help your overall mood and sleeping patterns. If you do not suffer from any type of low mood, stress or depression (and who doesn’t?) then you may want to take the supplement melatonin, which is the most well-known dietary supplement for promoting sleep.

Other Posts

  • What foods have both fiber and protein?
  • What are some good fiber foods?
  • Getting enough fiber is extremely important
  • What herbs or supplements are commonly used for depression?
  • Lutein also protects the skin from UV damage
  • DMAE is found in oily fish, but small amounts of it are also produced in the body

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