Effects of L-tryptophan on sleepiness and on sleep

J Psychiatr Res. 1982-1983;17(2):107-13. doi: 10.1016/0022-3956(82)90012-7.

Abstract

Over the past 20 yr, 40 controlled studies have been described concerning the effects of L-tryptophan on human sleepiness and/or sleep. The weight of evidence indicates that L-tryptophan in doses of 1 g or more produces an increase in rated subjective sleepiness and a decrease in sleep latency (time to sleep). There are less firm data suggesting that L-tryptophan may have additional effects such as decrease in total wakefulness and/or increase in sleep time. Best results (in terms of positive effects on sleep or sleepiness) have been found in subjects with mild insomnia, or in normal subjects reporting a longer-than-average sleep latency. Mixed or negative results occur in entirely normal subjects--who are not appropriate subjects since there is "no room for improvement". Mixed results are also reported in severe insomniacs and in patients with serious medical or psychiatric illness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leucine / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Sleep / drug effects*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy
  • Sleep Stages / drug effects
  • Tryptophan / administration & dosage
  • Tryptophan / pharmacology*

Substances

  • Dietary Proteins
  • Tryptophan
  • Leucine