Recent research at U.C.at Berkeley suggests copper regulates sleep. Copper is needed to release the enzyme dopamine hydro-lase associated with nor-epinephrine in the locus coeruleus of the brain, which regulates sleep.
The locus coeruleus is rich with copper. This part of the brain collects sensory info while awake, regulates cerebral blood flow to the brain and is associated with stress, anxiety, emotional sensitivity, attention deficit disorders and post traumatic stress syndrome.
Christopher Chang, at U.C. Berkeley is researching copper modulation in relation to sleep and fatigue disorders. The next step may be elevate copper in this brain region to determine if it enhances sleep.
Copper is dependent on liver function to eventually become available in the locus coeruleus. Zinc and copper must be balanced on a cellular level for either mineral to be available in multiple enzyme processes.
There are many foods high in copper, including walnuts, sesame tahini, asparagus, and grapes.