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We all know the importance of a good night sleep, with sleep deprivation and low sleep quality causing impaired physical and mental performance. However, with our busy modern lifestyles, achieving a deep and full night sleep can be difficult for some people. Improving sleep hygiene practices such as limiting screen time and caffeine, implementing a relaxing bedtime routine and spending time in the sun can all help improve sleep, but there are also some nutrition hacks you can implement to help you catch some Zzz’s. This blog will outline three reasons taking casein can help improve your sleep.

What is casein?

With so many different types of protein on the market, it can be difficult to understand the benefits of each. Like whey, casein is a type of protein found in cows milk. It is a high quality, bioavailable protein that contains all of the essential amino acids. Unlike whey protein which is rapidly digested, casein is slowly digested and absorbed. This is due to the clumping that occurs when it reaches the acidic environment of our stomachs. The slow digestion of casein provides a sustained release of amino acids into the blood stream, which in turn provides the building materials for muscle repair and growth.

How does taking casein improve sleep?

Diets high in protein can improve sleep quality

Studies have suggested that diets high in protein result in fewer periods of waking throughout the night when compared to higher carbohydrate diets. Taking casein before bed can increase your dietary protein intake and help improve your sleep.

Casein keeps you feeling full

Choosing casein instead of whey in the evenings will result in a slow release of protein throughout the night. This keeps overnight hunger at bay and decreasing sleep restlessness. This aspect of casein would be of most benefit to those who are losing weight on a calorie deficit and more prone to before bed and night time hunger.

Casein contains tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid that forms the building block of many proteins, including casein. Studies have found that a small  dose of tryptophan (1g) improves sleep quality due to acting as a precursor to the relaxing neurotransmitter 5-HT which in turn is a precursor to melatonin. Although the mechanisms are not fully understood, evidence shows that this small dose of tryptophan can improve the speed at which someone falls asleep and the quality of that sleep.

So there you have the three reasons taking casein can help improve your sleep. If you’ve decided that you could benefit from including casein in your supplement stack, VPA has you covered. You can buy our micellar casein, or if you like a sweet treat try our protein mousse which comes in three delicious flavours.

Reference: Halson, A. (2014) Sleep in elite athletes and nutritional interventions to help sleep. Sports Med 44 (Suppl 1): 13-23.

Looking for more information?

Sleep….is it the reason you’re not seeing results? 

Health benefits of protein. 

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Sally Mitchell (BSc, MHumNut) is a university qualified nutritionist and VPA staff member. Her favourite VPA product is coffee Breakfast Shake. She enjoys powerlifting and running, and does both poorly.

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