Try This Surprising, Protein-Rich Snack For Better Sleep

Food before bed is a subject worth its own blog entirely, but it’s also something I’m constantly learning more about. Recently, I was alerted to the fact that the humble pumpkin seed contains roughly 500 mg of tryptophan per 100-gram serving (depending on the moisture content, that’s equivalent to a few handfuls).

I’ve been working out more lately than at any other time since college, and in order to meet my rising protein requirements, I’ve been turning to several servings of nuts and seeds a day in addition to my normal meals. While the amount of tryptophan in pumpkin seeds isn’t off-the-charts surprising (a typical serving of tryptophan in supplement form can be well over a gram in a quickly absorbing form), it’s an added reason for me to consider reaching for them as a standalone snack, or perhaps mixing them into some homemade trail mixes.

I’m also not sure how well the body is absorbing their natural tryptophan content, as some seeds can be difficult for the digestive system to break down in a reasonable period of time. Whatever the case, this was a surprising — and timely, since Fall is right around the corner! — reminder that diet is an important part of sleep hygiene as well.

Image: from USA (Roasted Spiced Pumpkin Seeds) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Having written hundreds of articles on, Caitlyn knows what she's talking about when it comes to getting the best night's sleep. When not sleeping, reading about sleep, or writing about sleep, you can usually find her at the gym. Want to get in touch? The best way is to leave a comment on one of her articles.