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Nutr Neurosci. 2009 Dec;12(6):272-80. doi: 10.1179/147683009X423490.

Improving the quality of infant sleep through the inclusion at supper of cereals enriched with tryptophan, adenosine-5'-phosphate, and uridine-5'-phosphate.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain.


The present study evaluated whether the administration of cereals enriched with nutrients that are facilitators of sleep could help improve the sleep of infants who had sleep disorders at night time. Thirty infants aged 8-16 months with sleep disorders involving at least three nocturnal waking episodes took part in the study. They were given a night-time 'sleep facilitating cereal' product containing 225 mg tryptophan, 5.3 mg adenosine-5'-P, and 6.3 mg uridine-5'-P per 100 g of product. These cereals were given in a double-blind procedure lasting 5 weeks, with ingestion of the cereal between 18:00 and 06:00. In the control week, the children received a standard cereal (75 mg tryptophan/100 g product without nucleotides) dissolved in a standard formula milk (231.5 mg tryptophan, 2.6 mg adenosine-5'-P, 5 mg uridine-5'-P, per 100 g product). In one experimental week, the children received the night-time sleep facilitating cereal together with the standard formula milk. In another week, they received the sleep facilitating cereal together with a night milk specially formulated to attain the sleep rhythm (480 mg tryptophan, 8.8 mg uridine-5'-P, and 7.6 mg adenosine-5'-P per 100 g product). The three experimental weeks were separated by two wash-out weeks in which the milk and cereal administered was identical in composition to that of the control week. All the infants received a programmed writer actimeter which they wore continually, attached to their ankles, to record their motor activity. The recorded activity was used to calculate information about the time in bed, assumed sleep, actual sleep, sleep efficiency, sleep latency, immobility, and total activity. The infants receiving the enriched cereal during the time of darkness showed improvements in their sleep parameters, regardless of whether the milk they took at night was standard or enriched with tryptophan, adenosine-5'-P, and uridine-5'-P. In summary, the administration of enriched cereals led to an improvement in sleep, regardless of the type of infant milk used. These results support the concept of chrononutrition since they confirm that the sleep/wake rhythm can be influenced by diet.

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