Enhancing Melatonin Secretion: The Methodical Consumption of Tryptophan from Whole Cow’s Milk to Regulate Sleep Quality in Individuals Aged 18-30 with Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder


  • Shraddha Patel Virginia Commonwealth University


Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder, Alpha-lactalbumin, Chrono-nutrition


Young adults in the United States are increasingly affected by delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSPD), a prevalent circadian rhythm disorder that delays evening sleep and morning wake times relative to the solar cycle. Although medicinal supplements have shown to produce effective results on immediate sleep induction, they lack the ability to aid in regulation and maintenance of routine sleep schedules. Alternatively, a dietary method may be able to adjust the deficits of supplements. A review of the literature on clinical nutrition and endocrinology suggests that dietary alterations through the timed consumption of tryptophan-abundant whole cow’s milk may be an auxiliary option of improving sleep quality and morning alertness in individuals with DSPD. Studies on chrono-nutrition indicate that dietary components absorbed by the bloodstream can alter the circadian schedule of melatonin secretion from the pineal gland, and the timed consumption of tryptophan-abundant foods, such as whole cow’s milk, can consequently spike melatonin levels before a DSPD patient’s desired sleep time and promote circadian rhythm advancement. Based on the stated studies, this research proposes the Melatonin Intake through Lactalbumin (a-lac) Consumption (MILC) treatment, or the consistent, timed consumption of milk. The MILC treatment may decrease a DSPD patient’s morning sleepiness on the basis that disordered, high-stressed, and sleep-deprived individuals are susceptible to minimal changes in hormones because their bodies naturally attempt to attain homeostatic equilibrium. The correlation between chrono-nutrition and dietary effectiveness is a novel idea, and testing is needed to quantify the optimal timings and ranges of dietary tryptophan that can produce a significant effect on the sleep quality of a DSPD patient. 






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