Nervousness, insomnia and poor sleep are conditions that we have all experienced at some point. In these cases, are there any favorite foods that can help promote calm and a good sleep? According to science, romaine lettuce can help improve sleep, as evidenced by a scientific research published in the journal Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin by a Korean team (Hyo-Won Kim et al, Biol Pharm Bull, 2019).
Romaine lettuce contains, in fact, particular substances, called lactucin and lactucopicrin, that give a bitter taste to the salad but that are also characterized by sedative, calming and sleep-promoting properties. So, can the oral intake of romaine lettuce help counteract insomnia and sleep disorders? To answer this question, the scientists tested the effects of romaine lettuce extracts on a rodent population as they have an architecture of the various stages of sleep, divided into REM, or rapid eye movement, and NREM, not rapid eye movement, very similar to the human one. What has been found is that romaine lettuce can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and increase the duration of sleep itself. Not only that, romaine lettuce extracts have also been shown to improve sleep quality by prolonging the NREM phase characterized by deep sleep, the moment in which the body regenerates and the immune system is strengthened. Not only that, even in case of insomnia induced by caffeine, which is a stimulating substance, romaine lettuce extracts were able to regulate sleep. Scientists have explained these properties of romaine lettuce with the ability of lactucin and lactucopicrin to bind, and therefore modulate, particular substances, called GABA, or gamma aminobutyric acid, which are neurotransmitters that regulate brain excitability.
These effects were achieved with romaine lettuce extracts. But certainly introducing a salad with romaine lettuce into your diet can only help improve the quality and quantity of sleep.