There’s nothing worse than lying awake the night before a big day. Image credit Canva Pro, OcusFocus on Getty Images.

Too Stressed to Sleep? I’ve Got You Covered

The sweet-tasting amino acid that tackles your wide-awake hormones.

Tim Rees
4 min readMar 10, 2023

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“Tick-tock,” said the clock in my head. The silent digital alarm next to me stood with its compact and mocking luminescent arms, their glow somehow penetrating my eyelids that had never been thinner. In a few short hours, I’d be presenting to a company about nutrition and mental health. I needed to switch off and sleep but my mind had other ideas.

Have I got all the adapters? Is my battery fully charged? Thank God I’m not flying EasyJet. Let’s run through my intro for the talk one more time…

Groan. My eyes crack open. One hour before that compact cube starts singing and I’ve got a presentation to make that requires heapings of energy and focus. Agh! Why can’t I sleep?

It’s not Sod’s Law that makes the only sleepless night you’ve had in years the very night before some big presentation or interview, or something. It’s your stress hormones. Adrenaline if you’re really amped up and cortisol if, like me that night, you’re a little nervous or excitable. But the good news is there exists a simple and tasty amino acid that tackles those poorly timed stress hormones and which can have you pushing zeds before you can say wakey-wakey.

Sources

Glycine is a sweet-tasting amino acid found in many protein-rich foods and also easily supplemented. Your densest food sources are the wobbly bits barely hanging on the bones from almost any animal you care to mention but most likely pork, beef, lamb, et al. The kind of bits you have to slurp, that leave fat around your lips, and that would be a terrible first-date meal choice.

For the veges among you, nuts, seeds and legumes may offer you a decent amount if you can detach it from within the plant’s structures. Soaking, sprouting and fermenting will improve the digestibility of the proteins including glycine as well as the time-honoured approach of mastication.

Chewing well is overlooked by many of us as a way to improve digestion because we gulp down our meals in front of a screen to hurry back to another screen to relax.

For the purposes of improving sleep, it’s easiest to supplement in powder form…

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Tim Rees

Registered clinical nutritionist. At war with autoimmunity. Diets & tips on website. The Nutrition Chronicles (Substack). Meat eater. Tim-Rees.com