Better Sleep Equals Better Weight Loss – The difference between success and failure in your weight loss program might be the sleep you’re getting. Try adding tryptophan to your diet to help fall asleep, and get better quality sleep!
How Can Two People on the Same Diet Diet Get Different Results?
Jennifer and Elizabeth are two friends who started a weight loss journey together. They both use a fitness app to keep track of their meals, take neighborhood walks and they sweat together through Zumba class at 24 hour fitness. Jennifer’s weight has been steadily coming off, while Elizabeth is struggling. On the surface, it appears they are following the same plan, so why is Elizabeth having a harder time? The difference might lie in their sleep habits.
While Jennifer sleeps a solid eight hours a night, Elizabeth struggles to sleep. She goes to bed around 11:00, but often tosses and turns until well after midnight. Once asleep, she wakes often and during the day, she’s groggy and unfocused. Turns out, her sleeps habits are keeping Elizabeth from successfully losing weight.
Good Sleep Habits Help You Lose Weight!
Sleeping less than seven hours a night can wreak havoc on an otherwise successful dieting plan. In fact, going several days without a proper night’s sleep will affect the body’s ability to use insulin correctly. In those who are short on sleep, fats will circle through the blood, delivering more insulin to the body. This excess insulin causes fat to become stored in the body, resulting in weight gain.
Lack of Sleep Makes You More Hungry & Gain Weight
If that’s not enough to convince you to change your sleep habits, it has also been proven that lack of sleep affects hormones in the body, leaving you to feel hungry more often. Talk about adding insult to injury! Similarly, not getting enough shut-eye also affects judgment, pushing you towards food you know are not good for you. Bottom line – make sleep a priority.
Add More L-Tryptophan to Your Diet; Sleep Better, Lose Weight!
Getting more sleep is easier said than done. Elizabeth was still finding it hard to settle down at night, even though she realized her sleep deficiency was keeping her from properly losing weight. For people like Elizabeth, where sleep is an issue, adding foods rich in tryptophan into a meal plan can work wonders.
How Tryptophan Can Help With Sleep
Tryptophan (also called L-tryptophan) is an essential amino acid that is supplied to the body through diet. The body uses tryptophan to make niacin (a B-vitamin that aids digestion) and serotonin .
Serotonin is hugely important, and as a neurotransmitter it influences most of your brain cells. It directly affects not only your sleep, but your mood, appetite, memory, and even social behavior. Eating more tryptophan helps raise your serotonin levels, so start thinking of how to get more tryptophan in your diet asap!
Foods Rich In Tryptophan: Turkey Alternatives
You probably have heard that gorging on Thanksgiving turkey is likely to make you sleepy. That’s because turkey is rich in tryptophan, but it comes with a costly 4500 calorie health bomb known as “Thanksgiving dinner.”
Yikes! Don’t be discouraged, though. You can give thanks that there are plenty of other tryptophan-rich foods that are also healthy for you to consider all year-round. Here are some foods rich in tryptophan that you can start adding to your diet:
- Eggs & cheese
- Beans and Lentils
- Nuts and Seeds
- Soybeans & tofu
There are so many recipes that incorporate these ingredients to help you on your way to a better night’s sleep. If you are short on time, you can always keep nuts and seeds (such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews and walnuts) on-hand for snacking. About ¼ of a cup ought to give you that boost of tryptophan you need for a more restful sleep.
Tryptophan + Healthy Carbohydrates = Better Sleep
To best achieve a serotonin boost from these foods, the key is to eat them along with a serving of healthy carbohydrates, such as rice or oatmeal.
Example: Most classic mac & cheese recipes combines several tryptophan-rich foods (cheese, eggs, and milk) together with a carb (healthy pasta) to deliver a boost of tryptophan.
Tryptophan: The Missing Piece of Your Weight-Loss Plan?
Once Elizabeth began adding tryptophan-rich foods into her diet, she found herself sleeping better at night. Sometimes it isn’t just about how many calories you are eating throughout the day, but what you are getting those calories from.
You don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to get that high dose of tryptophan. Add these foods to your diet starting today to be on your way to a better night’s sleep and to achieve those fitness goals.
Fit Tryptophan Into Your Diet or Weight Loss Program
Determining which tryptophan-rich foods to add to your diet depends on a number of factors. If you aren’t on a regimented weight loss program, getting tryptophan into your diet might be as simple as making an effort to eat more tryptophan rich foods. If you’re following a program like the Medifast diet, the Nutrisystem diet, or Weight Watchers diet, you’re going to need to count some calories and Weight Watchers points to see where these foods can fit in!