Does Turkey’s Tryptophan Really Make You Sleepy? – LifeSavvy
You’ve heard the rumor. Eating turkey at Thanksgiving makes you sleepy because of an amino acid inside of it called tryptophan. But while the myth is widespread, is it true?
As it turns out, turkey’s tryptophan is likely not what makes you sleepy after your big Thanksgiving meal.
This rumor got started because it is partially based on truth. Tryptophan is used to create serotonin in the body, and serotonin is the hormone that helps with calmness. As tryptophan is being used to create serotonin, melatonin is actually created. We all know that melatonin helps you sleep. So it kind of makes sense that food with tryptophan could make you sleepy.
The reason why this isn’t true, though, is that you’re just not getting enough tryptophan in the turkey to make a real difference to your sleep. For example, when using tryptophan supplements, some take up to five grams according to this piece in the Journal of Nutrition. Your serving of turkey has around 410 milligrams, so you’d need to eat a whole heck of a lot of turkey to feel the effects.