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5HTP for sleep 5HTP vs melatonin serotonin and sleep serotonin and melatonin serotonin sleep serotonin vs melatonin nutrition and sleep natural supplements for sleep diet and sleep

Diet and sleep: New study explores nutrition's role in quality sleep

Published Jun 18, 2024 | Updated Jun 18, 2024
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In a world of constant motion, getting a good night's sleep is vital for balancing your body and replenishing your energy. Certain nutrients play a crucial role in delivering those benefits, creating a link between nutrition and sleep. Let’s take a look at how a new study links protein-rich foods, your feel-good chemical serotonin (5-ht), its building block 5-htp and your sleep hormone melatonin. Here’s what the science says about natural supplements for sleep.


How does serotonin affect your sleep?

Your feel-good chemical serotonin is the building block to your sleep hormone melatonin which supports your sleep-wake body cycle. Is serotonin the same as melatonin? Serotonin and melatonin are different brain messengers, however, there is a link between them. During the day, serotonin levels are high. When it gets darker outside, serotonin gets converted into melatonin, meaning its levels rise sharply[1 Trusted Source 2014 - Brain Disorders & Therapy Peer review Melatonin, the Hormone of Darkness: From Sleep Promotion to Ebola Treatment . In response to darkness, melatonin gets released, supporting sleepiness and regulating your body clock known also as the circadian rhythm[2 Trusted Source 2018 - British Journal of Pharmacology Peer review New perspectives on the role of melatonin in human sleep, circadian rhythms and their regulatio . Does melatonin affect your serotonin levels? One of the differences between serotonin vs melatonin is that while serotonin regulates mood and also affects melatonin levels, melatonin only aids sleep. 

Is 5-htp good for sleep?

Since 5-htp is the building block of serotonin, it also supports the production of your sleep hormone melatonin. When ingested, 5-htp is converted into your feel-good chemical serotonin which means 5-htp indirectly supports melatonin production. 

Researchers from Singapore tried to gain insight into the role that 5-htp plays in sleep quality[3 Trusted Source 2024 - Clinical Nutrition Human study The impact of 5-hydroxytryptophan supplementation on sleep quality and gut microbiota composition in older adults: A randomized controlled trial . Here’s what they found. A receiver of the Emerging Leaders in Nutrition recognition award, Clarinda Sutanto along with her colleagues from the National University of Singapore has been researching sleep. They conducted two studies, one in 2021 and the other in 2024[3 Trusted Source 2024 - Clinical Nutrition Human study The impact of 5-hydroxytryptophan supplementation on sleep quality and gut microbiota composition in older adults: A randomized controlled trial ,[4 Trusted Source 2021 - Current Developments in Nutrition Human study The Impact of 5-Hydroxytryptophan Supplementation on Sleep Quality of Older Adults in Singapore: A Randomized Controlled Trial . Both were 12 weeks long and looked into the impact of 100 mg of 5-htp on sleep quality in older adults. Sleep quality data was collected every 4 weeks via a self-assessment questionnaire and a watch that tracked the sleep patterns of participants. In both studies, 5-htp showed an overall favourable impact on sleep quality components such as the length of time it takes you to fall asleep known as sleep latency.

Despite researchers examining the impact of 5-htp supplementation, there’s a link between serotonin and melatonin which is most likely responsible for the found effects. Because 5-htp elevates serotonin levels, it also indirectly supports melatonin production and release. Melatonin release is what has benefited the sleep quality of these older adults.  


How much 5-htp should you take for sleep?

Although participants took 100 mg of 5-htp for sleep in the new promising study, 5-htp at any mg amount is yet to be recommended as a sleep remedy by the European Health and Safety Authority. To boost your serotonin levels and support melatonin production, you should aim to ingest at least 100 mg of 5-htp as doses between 100 and 300 mg daily showed benefits in multiple studies. To get your body used to 5-htp, start with a lower dose and slowly build it up - that’s why taking 5-htp supplements in divided doses is great.

Does nutrition affect your sleep?

The right nutrition can support the production of your sleep chemical melatonin. For example, ensure you get enough protein-rich foods like cheese, tofu and meat which are full of tryptophan that converts into 5-htp, serotonin and then to melatonin[5 Trusted Source My Food Data 3rd-party resource Foods Highest in Tryptophan . You can also get 5-htp directly from 5-htp natural sources like mushrooms, honey and the seeds of the Griffonia plant[6 Trusted Source 2022 - Foods Peer review Edible Mushrooms as a Potential Component of Dietary Interventions for Major Depressive Disorder ,[7 Trusted Source 2021 - International Journal of Molecular Sciences Peer review 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): Natural Occurrence, Analysis, Biosynthesis, Biotechnology, Physiology and Toxicology ,[8 Trusted Source 2013 - Mycoscience 3rd-party resource Levels of physiologically active indole derivatives in the fruiting bodies of some edible mushrooms (Basidiomycota) before and after thermal processing ,[9 Trusted Source 2022 - Melatonin Research Peer review Serotonin, melatonin and their precursors and metabolites and vitamin D3 derivatives in honey ,[10 Trusted Source 2022 - Examine 3rd-party resource Griffonia Simplicifolia ,[11 Trusted Source 2017 - Rutgers University 3rd-party resource A phytochemical exploration of Griffonia simplicifolia seeds and leaves . brain feed’s 5-htp is naturally extracted from the Griffonia seeds and contains 100mg per capsule. Get yours for 15% off by using the code ‘NEW15’ at checkout. 


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What is the best time to take 5-HTP?

You should take 5-htp with a meal which will give you a 2-in-1 benefit by supporting two important brain messengers - serotonin and melatonin. Will 5-htp make me sleepy? 5-htp only supports sleep indirectly - after taking it, it contributes towards the levels of serotonin. Sleep chemical melatonin is then produced from it. Depending on your intended outcome, 5-htp can be taken during the day for all-day support or in the evening. It takes 2 hours to experience its benefits.  

Is it safe to take 5-htp every night?

While it’s recommended to take 5-htp during the day, you can take it daily at a recommended dose for longer periods of time. brain feed reviewed 10 studies that examined 5-htp supplementation from the year 1974 to 2024 and found that 5-htp can be safely taken for up to 12 months. 


Which is better for sleep, melatonin or 5-htp?

While both support the production of your sleep hormone, melatonin is actually considered a medication in the UK, meaning you can only buy it over the counter in the US and Europe. However, unlike high-quality natural 5-htp supplements, most over-the-counter melatonin supplements are made synthetically. Additionally, one of the emphasised differences between 5-htp vs melatonin is that you can take 5-htp during the day without making you feel drowsy. Although studies have shown a beneficial effect for 5-htp & sleep, this natural supplement is yet to be prescribed to treat sleep problems. Read about other 5-htp benefits to get to know more about this versatile nutrient. 



All in all, 5-htp is a great natural support of your feel-good chemical and sleep hormone, making it a great 2-in-1 option.

 

References

[1] Masters, A., Pandi-Perumal, S. R., Seixas, A., Girardin, J.-L., & McFarlane, S. I. (2014). Melatonin, the Hormone of Darkness: From Sleep Promotion to Ebola Treatment. Brain Disorders & Therapy, 4(1), 1000151. https://doi.org/10.4172/2168-975X.1000151

[2] Zisapel, N. (2018). New perspectives on the role of melatonin in human sleep, circadian rhythms and their regulation. British Journal of Pharmacology, 175(16), 3190–3199. https://doi.org/10.1111/bph.14116

[3] Sutanto, C. N., Xia, X., Heng, C. W., Tan, Y. S., Lee, D. P. S., Fam, J., & Kim, J. E. (2024). The impact of 5-hydroxytryptophan supplementation on sleep quality and gut microbiota composition in older adults: A randomized controlled trial. Clinical Nutrition, 43(3), 593–602. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2024.01.010

[4] Sutanto, C., Heng, C. W., Gan, A. X., Wang, X., Fam, J., & Kim, J. E. (2021). The Impact of 5-Hydroxytryptophan Supplementation on Sleep Quality of Older Adults in Singapore: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Current Developments in Nutrition, 5, 372. https://doi.org/10.1093/cdn/nzab037_082

[5] Foods Highest in Tryptophan (n.d.) My Food Data. https://tools.myfooddata.com/nutrient-ranking-tool/tryptophan/all/highest/grams/common/no

[6] Fijałkowska, A., Jędrejko, K., Sułkowska-Ziaja, K., Ziaja, M., Kała, K., & Muszyńska, B. (2022). Edible Mushrooms as a Potential Component of Dietary Interventions for Major Depressive Disorder. Foods, 11(10), Article 10. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11101489

[7] Maffei, M. E. (2021). 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): Natural Occurrence, Analysis, Biosynthesis, Biotechnology, Physiology and Toxicology. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(1), Article 1. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010181

[8] Muszyńska, B., Sułkowska-Ziaja, K., & Wójcik, A. (2013). Levels of physiologically active indole derivatives in the fruiting bodies of some edible mushrooms (Basidiomycota) before and after thermal processing. Mycoscience, 54(5), 321–326. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.myc.2012.11.002

[9] Kim, T.-K., Fabisiak, A., Brzeminski, P., Reiter, R. J., & Slominski, A. T. (2022). Serotonin, melatonin and their precursors and metabolites and vitamin D3 derivatives in honey. Melatonin Research, 5(3), 374–380. https://doi.org/10.32794/mr112500137

[10] Patel, K. (2022). Griffonia Simplicifolia. Examine. https://examine.com/supplements/griffonia-simplicifolia/

[11] Giurleo, D. (2017). A phytochemical exploration of Griffonia simplicifolia seeds and leaves [Master Thesis]. Graduate School-New Brunswick Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. https://doi.org/doi:10.7282/T3NC63NT

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