Milk can help you sleep

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Milk can help you sleep

Everyone’s got their own little trick to help them get their 8 hours; counting sheep (cows work too!), reading a good book, putting their phone out of sight… But have you ever heard about drinking a glass of milk before you go to bed as a way to help you get a sound night’s sleep? It’s been the subject of some debate over the years, so we’re going to settle the issue once and for all.

How’s your sleep health?

Getting enough good quality sleep is absolutely crucial to your overall health. We all know that horrible feeling of what it’s like going to work after a patchy sleep. Irritability, compromised ability to focus, fatigue – these are just a few of the downsides to poor sleeping patterns. On a more serious note, it’s also thought to be connected to the slowing of your metabolism and even chronic diseases such as strokes, diabetes and various cardiovascular issues.

Tryptophan and melatonin

…Your two best friends for a restful night. Milk (and other dairy products) are a really good source of tryptophan. It’s an amino acid that can help promote sleep, so it can come in particularly handy especially if you’re used to tossing and turning before finally getting off to sleep. Tryptophan is not naturally produced by our bodies so needs to be ingested in order to get the benefits. It’s also a precursor to melatonin, which is sometimes known as the ‘hormone of darkness’. It might sound a bit creepy but its sleep-promoting abilities mean that there’s a good reason for such an odd name. After all, it’s the hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. Here’s the science bit for those interested; tryptophan promotes production of the neurotransmitter serotonin (the ‘feel good hormone’), and in turn, as the day draws to a close, can be converted into melatonin.

So next time you’re struggling to nod off consider making the short walk to the fridge and pouring yourself a glass of the white stuff – it might just be the difference between a sweet dream and a nightmare!

Milk can help you sleepMilk does the body good – but does it help you sleep?

Growing up, mom always poured a glass of milk at dinner, saying sweet dreams will come our way that night. Cereal, milkshakes and other calcium-enriched products contain milk and they do our bodies good in so many ways. But does milk really deliver better sleep (and sweeter dreams)?

Think about all the times you consume milk – is bedtime one of those times? Do you pour a glass of milk before bed thinking you’ll get better sleep? Or do you hate the taste and fight drinking milk out of a glass?

We were prepping for bed when all these calcium-filled questions filled our thoughts. Here’s what we learned.

Why Mom was right about drinking milk before bed

Milk can help you sleepTurns out Mom was right about drinking milk before bed, especially if you struggle falling asleep. Milk and other dairy products contain an amino acid (which help induce sleep) known as tryptophan. Milk also contains melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. If you’re stressed and can’t seem to get your zzz’s, a full glass of milk might be the trick to keeping that 8 hour sleep routine.

We know why milk is good for our body before snoozing but is there a type of milk we should be drinking?

If you’ve tried warm milk before bed and can’t see an affect, the cow that produced the milk may have been milked at the wrong time of day. Night milk is milk taken from cows at – you guessed it – night. Before you call your local milk company and ask if they milk cows at dusk, let’s discuss a recent Korean study. It seems feeding mice night milk reduced anxiety and increased sleep time. Granted, night milk has not been tested on humans with sleep disorders. Good luck finding night milk if you don’t own a cow.

Alternatives to a glass of bedtime milk

Not everyone likes drinking milk before bed or maybe you follow a vegan diet. Don’t fret, there are several tasty alternatives for you. Coconut milk, almond milk and nut milk are all natural and delicious. These milks have similar effects of cow’s milk and are known to help with getting your sleep on.

So what do you think? Ready to take up drinking milk again before bed?

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I just love it when some old piece of advice proves totally absurd, false, or, in the case of drinking a glass of warm milk before bed as a sleep inducer, TRUE!

Last month New York Times writer Anahad O’Connor settled the claim about milk as a sleeping aid in an article that put to bed some old assertions about milk … with a twist.

YES, warm milk can help you get to sleep. But it’s not because it contains tryptophan, which urban legend has it will lull you to sleep (and which is often the talk at Thanksgiving when people drop like flies after a large meal heavy in tryptophan-rich turkey).

In fact, the jury is still out on exactly whether or not milk can encourage sleep. Studies of tryptophan’s impact on sleep have found only one phase of sleep – the first one when you’re falling asleep – is enhanced by tryptophan. Other aspects of sleep, such as the amount of deep sleep reached during the night, can be harmed by tryptophan, especially if it’s taken in supplemental form. I remind people that sleep-friendly foods, such as turkey, would require you to eat about 40 pounds of turkey to get enough of that enzyme to make you sleepy!

As the article further points out, tryptophan has to cross the blood-brain barrier in order to have any effect on sleep. And that can be difficult in the presence of other amino acids, which explains why researchers find that eating protein-rich foods, including milk, can decrease the ability of tryptophan to enter the brain. The trick is to eat foods high in carbohydrates because the insulin released will make it easier for tryptophan to nudge itself into the brain. And for this very reason I recommend combining an ample dose of carbohydrate together with a small amount of protein (which contains the amino acid tryptophan) as the ideal bedtime snack. This can also encourage your brain to produce serotonin, which is known as the “calming hormone.”

If you are not quite the “cook” in the kitchen, or simply do not have the time, I would encourage you to check out a great new product on the market called Dreamerz Foods. It’s an all-natural sleep beverage that has just the right amount of Melatonin (0.3 mg) and a substance called Lactium (this is the protein in milk that causes relaxation in infants but in a more concentrated dosage), and I have to admit it’s a great alternative to many of those “PM” medications.

But what, then, do we make of all the anecdotal evidence that says a glass of warm milk (with nothing else) can help you fall asleep? Well, my friends, here’s the real kicker: it may just be that the routine of drinking a glass of warm milk is like an old teddy bear that reminds you of home when your mom tucked you into bed at night. The psychological association with milk is stronger than what the milk’s content actually does (or doesn’t do!)

Milk can help you sleep

Updated September 8, 2022

Our editorial process includes extensive measures to verify accuracy, provide clarity on complex topics, and present factual information. Read more.

We regularly update our articles to include the latest research, expand coverage, and add new information as it becomes available.

Many people believe drinking warm milk before bed can help them relax and fall asleep faster. Like melatonin supplements, amino acids, or herbs, warm milk is a widely available home remedy that may be routinely used to try to overcome insomnia and other sleep problems.

Although there is little scientific evidence for many home insomnia remedies, some studies suggest that having warm cow’s milk at bedtime might help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and get better quality rest overall.

Researchers have been interested in the sleep-inducing properties of milk since the 1970s. More recent studies have explored a variety of dairy products and how they affect sleep. Evidence shows that, while certain types of milk may help you sleep, other varieties may have little to no effect.

Why Is Warm Milk Good for Sleep?

Sleep experts cannot explain exactly why warm milk helps some people get a better night’s sleep, though several theories have been suggested. Some propose that the nutrients in milk can induce feelings of drowsiness. Others say that drinking warm milk may just be an important part of a bedtime routine, a habit that signals the body that it’s time for sleep.

Milk contains a large amount of tryptophan. Your body cannot make tryptophan by itself and must get it from food. Tryptophan is necessary for the body to produce melatonin and serotonin, two chemicals that play an important role in sleep.

Serotonin affects sleep and mood, while melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle. The sleep-wake cycle is part of circadian rhythm, the biological pattern that relies on external cues like light and temperature to tell the body when to feel sleepy and wakeful. For example, the brain reacts to darkness by producing more melatonin, which makes us feel tired.

According to some experts, tryptophan should be ingested at the same time as a carbohydrate, like sugar, in order for it to have a meaningful effect on a person’s sleep. In some of the earliest studies that demonstrated a relationship between milk and sleep, participants drank malted milk, a powdered milk product that includes barley malt, sugar, and other ingredients.

Some researchers have explored the impact of melatonin-enriched milk on sleep. This milk is naturally high in melatonin and tryptophan because it comes from cows milked at night instead of in the daytime. Night milk has been shown to improve symptoms of insomnia in some people.

Dairy products, especially fermented milk, are also high in a neurotransmitter called GABA. Stress and sleep disruptions prevent the body from producing GABA, which can make it even harder to fall asleep. In one study, people who consumed fermented milk products before bed got better sleep, potentially due to larger amounts of GABA.

Cold Milk Vs. Warm Milk

It is natural to incorporate a warm beverage into a bedtime routine. Having a hot or warm drink such as milk or decaffeinated tea might promote relaxation and help people feel comfortable and cozy. However, few studies have examined whether warm milk makes people sleepier than cold milk.

One early study explored the connection between warm malted milk and sleep, but did not test the effects of cold milk. This experiment found that participants who drank warm malted milk before bed slept better than those who did not. This was especially true for older individuals.

Will Drinking Milk Before Bed Affect Your Weight?

Contrary to popular belief, drinking milk before bed might help some people maintain a healthy weight.

In the past, eating or drinking too close to bedtime was thought to cause weight gain. However, recent studies show that having a small, nutritious snack or drink before bed may positively affect metabolism and weight. With 8 grams of protein in a one-cup serving, milk is an ideal choice.

Consuming protein before bed has been shown to help athletes build muscle while they sleep. One study found that athletes who followed up an evening exercise session with a protein drink built 22% more muscle than those who did not. There is also some evidence that a high-protein bedtime snack may improve metabolism in active people.

Other people may also benefit from drinking milk at bedtime. A study of women with obesity found that consuming protein before bed reduced participants’ appetites and helped them feel full in the morning. Another showed that older people who engaged in regular exercise and drank milk before bed enjoyed high quality sleep.

Some milk products, however, could have a negative impact on your sleep or your overall health. For example, avoid milk beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol before bed, as they can disrupt sleep.

Should You Try Drinking Milk Before Bed?

For many people, milk is a convenient nighttime snack, but some people should not drink milk before bed. For example, consuming dairy products can be life-threatening for those with milk allergies.

People who have lactose intolerance are not able to digest the sugars in milk. They can experience nausea, bloating, diarrhea, and gas when they drink milk. These symptoms are not only unpleasant, but they can prevent restful sleep.

Many people simply do not like the taste of milk or avoid dairy for other reasons. Fortunately, there are a variety of foods that may promote better rest.

Foods that Help Sleep

Eating foods that are high in tryptophan and other nutrients like calcium and melatonin might help you sleep. Nondairy, tryptophan-rich foods include:

  • Turkey
  • Sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds
  • Chicken
  • Egg whites
  • Soybeans
  • Fish
  • Peanuts

In addition to milk, scientists have explored how other foods impact sleep. Although more research is needed, there is some evidence that certain foods might help people fall asleep faster or sleep better.

  • Kiwifruit: In one study, individuals who ate two kiwifruits before bed for four weeks fell asleep faster and slept better.
  • Tart cherries: Consuming tart cherry juice in the morning and at night has been shown to improve symptoms of insomnia. Tart cherries appear to boost melatonin levels in the body.
  • Fish: People who eat more fish and vegetables tend to enjoy higher quality sleep. Fatty fish is rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients that play an important role in regulating serotonin.

An estimated 60 million Americans have a sleeping disorder, and we’ll go to great lengths and try some odd tricks to get a night of quality sleep. From ASMR to eyemasks, to blackout curtains, to sleeping pills, we have an abundance of options catered to optimize our periods of rest.

Despite the various choices to help us get some shuteye, you may have a great option already hiding inside your refrigerator. We’ve heard stories of warm milk being a lifesaver for many people, so we decided to do some research and find out exactly why warm milk helps you sleep.

Does Warm Milk Help You Sleep?

For years, we’ve been told that if we’re having trouble falling asleep, we should drink a glass of warm milk. Upon researching whether or not this was legitimate or an urban legend, we discovered that it’s a bit of both. Milk is loaded with an amino acid called tryptophan, which most people associate with turkey, and sleeping.

However, when comparing by volume, whole milk has much more tryptophan than any other food.

What’s the Scientific Basis?

While part of what makes milk helpful for sleep is rooted in science, part of the theory about this warm beverage being sleep-inducing may also be psychological, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. The brain is a powerful tool, so even if something exists in our minds, that doesn’t necessarily make it less real.

For some people who grew up with parents who gave them warm milk before bed, this routine is a recognizable signal that it’s time for bed. By following this habit, you become sleepy on auto-pilot.

Beyond the signaling effects of the routine making you drowsy, the act of stopping and engaging in a relaxing activity with a determined purpose to help you doze can help your brain wind down and prepare for bed. It makes sense that it’s easier to fall asleep after drinking a warm and soothing beverage lounging on the sofa than it is to nod off after watching a violent television show and going straight to bed.

However, despite the psychological effects of warm milk, there is evidence rooted in scientific facts about tryptophan’s impact on our sleepiness, so we’ll address those ideas and put them into perspective below.

Milk can help you sleep

What is Tryptophan?

Upon hearing the term tryptophan, some may think of eating a metric ton of turkey on Thanksgiving and then going straight to sleep. However, tryptophan is an essential amino acid that we need to have in our diets for various purposes.

Tryptophan is an essential factor in the production of serotonin in humans. Further, the amino acid plays a critical role in healthy brain function and quality sleep.

As humans, we don’t produce it in our bodies, so we have to eat it to access the ingredient. Fortunately for us, it’s common in a lot of everyday foods. Tryptophan is linked to sleep because this ingredient is the precursor for serotonin, a hormone that significantly affects our mood and ability to sleep. Serotonin gets converted to melatonin, and that’s what helps us sleep.

There is a trick to prompt tryptophan to enter the brain. Combining carbohydrates with dairy or tryptophan should increase your insulin levels, making it easier for tryptophan to get to your brain.

How Tryptophan is Linked to Serotonin

Thanksgiving is often associated with “food coma,” or otherwise feeling sleepy after a large meal, and there’s a reason for this phenomenon. With turkey being a large portion of this tradition, people often consume about 300 to 400 grams of protein on this day, and it’s typically paired with a significant amount of carbohydrates. [1]

When people gobble down this combination, their blood sugar typically increases, stimulating the production of insulin, which paves the way for tryptophan to make it’s way from our veins to the brain.

The amino acid is necessary for the production of serotonin, a chemical that plays a significant role in our mental well-being. Tryptophan is also directly related to the production of melatonin, letting us sleep with ease.

Extensive research has shown how serotonin is linked to poor mood, mental health disorders, and plays a critical role in depression. Further, low levels of serotonin may cause memory issues. Individuals who have struggled with depression in the past are also more likely to be affected by low levels of the hormone when compared to those who have no history of the illness. [2]

Authors

Associate Professor in Biology and Biomedical Science, Aston University

Lead for Evidence-Based Medicine and Nutrition, Aston Medical School, Aston University

Disclosure statement

James Brown has previously received funding from the EU Horizon 2020 scheme to study personalised approaches to food choices.

Duane Mellor has previously published research investigating the effects of l-theanine and coffee. They are a member of the British Dietetic Association.

Partners

Aston University provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.

Almost one in five British people report they don’t get enough sleep each night. The problem is so bad that in total the UK public are losing around a night’s worth of shut-eye each week.

There are a lot of popular beliefs about foods and drinks helping people get a good night’s rest, but many of them are not based on scientific evidence. Here’s what we know.

Chemistry of food and sleep

Our diet has an influence upon sleep patterns by affecting the sleep hormone melatonin. For example, foods rich in the essential amino acid tryptophan are commonly cited as helping sleep, as tryptophan helps produce melatonin. Additionally, some vitamins and minerals may help sleep, such as vitamin D, magnesium and zinc.

Oily fish: Evidence suggests the more oily fish, such as salmon or herring, you eat the better you sleep. Oily fish contain healthy fats such as omega-3 oils which have been shown to improve sleep in children and are involved in serotonin release. Serotonin, a brain chemical linked to mood, also regulates the sleep-wake cycle which may also explain how eating oily fish can help.

Tart cherries: A number of studies have looked at consumption of tart cherries, usually in the form of a drink, and sleep. Evidence suggests that tart cherries improves sleep in older adults, probably due to their ability to increase melatonin levels. And tart cherries are also rich in nutrients, including magnesium, which also may improve your sleep.

Kiwi fruit: The evidence for kiwi fruit helping you sleep is mixed. One study suggested four weeks of kiwi fruit consumption improved multiple sleep measures, while another, admittedly in sufferers of insomnia, found no effect. Based on these findings it is not clear yet that eating kiwi fruit will benefit sleep for most people.

Oysters: In 1888 W F Nelsom wrote “He who sups on oysters is wont on that night to sleep placidly…”. There is some evidence to back up this statement, with zinc-rich foods, including oysters, being reported to benefit sleep. However, on balance eating oysters before bedtime is unlikely to be beneficial to your night’s sleep.

Alcohol and other drinks

Alcohol causes brain activity to slow down and has sedative effects that can induce feelings of relaxation and sleepiness> But consuming alcohol is actually linked to poor sleep quality and duration. Although drinking alcohol may cause more rapid sleep onset, this can affect the different stages of sleep, decreasing overall sleep quality. If you want a good night’s sleep, avoiding alcohol is sound advice. But are there any non-alcoholic drinks that might help?

Warm milk: Research conducted in the 1970s suggested that a glass of warm milk before bed could improve sleep quality. This research was performed in a very small group however, and little research has been done since. Drinking milk does increase melatonin levels which could help. But there isn’t enough evidence to support the claim that a glass of warm milk definitely makes you nod off.

Milk can help you sleep

Bone broth: Bone broth commonly crops up in online articles as a food that can aid sleep. This may be due its high content of the amino acid glycine. Glycine has been shown to improve sleep in rodents and humans, possibly by lowering body temperature. There are however no studies specifically looking at bone broth consumption and sleep.

Herbal teas: The range of herbal teas aimed at the sleep market has grown and grown. Evidence for valerian, a common ingredient, to aid sleep is inconclusive. Decaffeinated green tea has been reported to improve sleep quality, which might be linked to the relaxing qualities of L-theanine, an amino acid it contains, but in general, avoiding caffeinated teas is a wise choice. If you like herbal teas, then they can be part of a relaxing pre-bedtime routine – but they are unlikely to improve your sleep quality.

A bedtime routine

Having a bedroom environment and daily routines that promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep are important. These include keeping to the same time to head off to bed, making your bedroom free of disruptions and having a relaxing pre-sleep routine. But many of the foods that have claimed benefits for sleep have little or no evidence behind them, to the point there are no legally recognised health claims for food assisting sleep approved in the UK or Europe.

If any one of these things helps you to sleep well, there’s no reason to stop. But just remember the other basics of a good nights sleep too, including relaxing before bed and avoiding too much blue light from electronic devices.

Find out if that warm glass of milk is really putting you to sleep, or is it just a placebo effect.

Written by Tania Tarafdar | Updated : September 8, 2015 7:13 PM IST

Lack of sleep is a constant cause of stress for many. Sleeplessness not only dampens your mood but also leaves you feeling exhausted. You may believe that drinking a warm glass of milk before going to bed can help you sleep. But does it really help?

Milk contains the protein tryptophan which when released in the brain, produces sleep-inducing chemicals serotonin and melatonin that promote better sleep. However, you need to ingest enough tryptophan to impact the levels of serotonin [1]. A glass of milk does not contain enough tryptophan to induce drowsiness. To get the impact, you will have to drink at least one and half litres of milk. Also, like tryptophan there are other amino acids present in the milk that may compete with the tryptophan to get into your brain. This may interfere with your sleep patterns.

So, the warm glass of milk may help you relax, but it does not help you sleep. If you have always believed so, there are chances that it is the belief and not the milk itself. It could mostly be the placebo effect that is sending you off to your dreamland.

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[1] Valtonen M, Niskanen L, Kangas AP, Koskinen T. Effect of melatonin-rich night-time milk on sleep and activity in elderly institutionalized subjects. Nord J Psychiatry. 2005;59(3):217-21. PubMed PMID: 16195124.

Milk can help you sleep

A tall glass of milk with dinner was a must growing up. Mom said it would help us become strong and healthy. In fact, I remember being served up a warm glass of milk if I had gotten up out of bed (maybe for the second time that night), complaining to my parents that I just couldn’t fall asleep.

It’s funny how we fall into patterns, doing the same thing our parents did when we were kids. When I am feeling tired but my body can’t seem to calm down, I rely on my mom’s old trick to solve the problem. I still pour myself a glass of milk to help me fall asleep.

It’s a well-known fact that milk is rich in calcium and supports our bodies well being in so many ways. Many people swear by warm milk as a tried and true food for better sleep. As far as I knew a glass of milk could only ever do you good, so I was surprised to learn that there may, in fact, be drawbacks to my nightcap ritual.

Before you pour yourself a glass of milk before bed tonight, consult these health benefits and drawbacks. Learn what milk does to your body as it sleeps through the night, and decide if the benefits ultimately outweigh the drawbacks.

Benefits of Milk Before Bed

Let’s be honest, when you sip a glass of warm milk before bed it just feels so good. The warmth seems to slowly spread it’s way through your whole body, creating a cozy and drowsy sensation. It turns out there’s a science behind those warm and fuzzy feelings!

Tryptophan

Does tryptophan ring a bell? Best known for causing the after-turkey-feast snooze session on Thanksgiving, this essential amino acid has a sleep-inducing effect. According to the National sleep foundation, tryptophan plays a key role in helping your body produce seratonin, which can reduce anxiety. If your mind is racing when it’s on your pillow instead of dreaming, the tryptophan in milk can help your body release serotonin, allowing your mind to relax and slip into sleep.

Melatonin

So what else is in that warm glass of milk that working its magic on your body to get it to sleep faster? A hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, called melatonin, is also found in milk. Everyone’s melatonin hormone levels are different and they’re regulated by your internal clock.

Normally, melatonin levels rise in the body later in the evening when the sun has set, signaling our brain that it’s time for sleep. If your brain is not as tired as your body at bedtime, a glass of milk before bed could help boost your seratonin hormone levels and get your mind in sync with your body.

Protein

Do you ever go to bed feeling hungry? Maybe you ate dinner but then stayed up so late that you started to get late night cravings? Pangs of hunger can keep anyone up at night! A glass of milk is packed with protein and drinking one before going to sleep will help you feel full all night long, resulting in a better night’s sleep.

Enjoying your milk, but not seeing the desired results? Still can’t sleep? An interesting Korean study suggests trying “night milk”. It may sound superstitious, but the study suggests that the time of day milk is taken from cows matters. Milk taken from cows in the evening (hence the name “night milk”) supposedly should have the most positive affects as a sleep aid.

The major benefits of drinking milk before bed include healthy proteins and amino acids that assist your body in getting a completely uninterrupted satisfying night’s sleep. So what could be the downside?

Drawbacks of Drinking Milk before Going to Bed

If you have ever topped off with a glass of milk before bed and subsequently experienced disrupted sleep because of an upset stomach, then you may have run into one of the major drawbacks of milk at night- lactose.

Lactose

Lactose is simply a sugar in milk. it’s what makes it taste just slightly sweet, and so satisfying, Unfortunately, According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, about 30 million to 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant! If you fall into this category, drinking a glass of milk before bed will only your body discomfort. Digestive issues like gas, bloating, cramps and diarrhea are just a list of things caused by lactose intolerance that could keep you up at night.

Glucose

Maybe you’re sure you aren’t lactose intolerant, but you’re still struggling. So what’s the deal? Because lactose is a sugar, large amounts of it before bed has other implications. If you are glucose intolerant, a warm glass of milk before bed could lead to a blood sugar crash. Basically, your body startling awake in the middle of the night, to an energy-deprived brain, sending the “Eat!” signal. Wait… didn’t we discuss milk helping you helping you feel full through the night?? Yes, but, someone with a glucose intolerance will actually have the opposite experience.

Bottom line, you’ve got to know your body. If you are aware of your intolerance, you should be able to predict if the lactose in milk will be a set-back for you. Never fear! If you don’t want to give up your nightly warm cup of milk, there are tasty (lactose free) alternatives. Almond milk, coconut milk, and nut milk are steadily gaining popularity.

They are delicious and nutritious! Best of all, they provide the same positive sleep-inducing effects of cow milk, without the negative lactose effects.

Weight Gain

On a diet or counting calories? A glass of milk before bed is going to set you back. Milk is actually known in the fitness community circles as an agent for healthy weight gain. An 8 oz glass of milk has about 120 calories. Your metabolism slows down a bit as you sleep, so calories consumed right before bed are slightly tougher to burn. If weight loss is your ultimate goal, you’ll want to rethink any milk before bed routines.

Liver functioning

One last caution about having a warm glass of milk before bed is that it can interfere with the liver. According to nutritionist Anju Sood, at night your liver is hard at work detoxing junk from your body. Turns out milk can actually interfere with that process. Steer clear to allow your liver to execute its nightly task uninterrupted.

In Conclusion

There’s your list of major benefits and drawbacks to drinking a warm cup of milk before bed. There’s no doubt that milk offers so many positive health benefits, whether it’s consumed in the morning, afternoon, or evening.

It really comes down to knowing your body and paying attention to its signals. If you have a racing, restless mind at night, a glass of milk before bed could be a healthy, preferable alternative to downing Z-quill. But if lactose or glucose isn’t your friend, beware of the digestive issues that come with a glass of milk at night.

When in search of truly restful night’s sleep, it doesn’t hurt to pursue all available options. A calming warm glass of milk before bed is an easy, inexpensive trick to try. Cheers to a good night’s sleep!

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SLEEPING through the night is not something everyone is always able to do, and there is a lot of advice to be found around improving your quality of sleep, and adopting healthy sleep routines.

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Not getting enough sleep can cause an array of issues, and getting enough of it at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health and quality of life. Some people are naturally lighter sleepers or take longer to drop off, but there are also some lifestyle factors that can impact your sleep.

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The Sleep Foundation says that if you struggle to obtain the recommended seven or more hours of sleep each night, you are not alone

Though fortunately, dome food and drinks may help. The organisation says: “Drinking warm milk at night to feel tired is one such strategy that has been shared for years.”

Indeed, it says that scientific evidence suggests that warm milk before bed may help you sleep.

“In a study of people staying in a hospital’s heart unit, those who drank warm milk and honey for three days noticed improvements in sleep. A study of adults over age 60 found that drinking fermented milk over the course of three weeks reduced night-time wakings” it says.

Not getting enough sleep can cause an array of issues. (Image: GETTY)

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The Foundation explains that milk’s sleep-promoting properties might be due to the amino acid tryptophan, which plays an important role in the production of serotonin and melatonin.

If you have insomnia for less than three months, it is called short-term insomnia. Insomnia that lasts three months or longer is called long-term insomnia.

For most, sleep problems tend to sort themselves out within about a month, according to the NHS.

Caffeine and alcohol can stop you falling asleep and prevent good quality sleep. Therefore, it is recommended that people cut down on alcohol and avoid caffeine close to bedtime.

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Everyone needs different amounts of sleep. On average adults need seven to nine hours, while children need nine to 13 hours. Toddlers and babies need 12 to 17 hours of sleep, every day.

Electronic devices, including computers, televisions, smartphones, and tablets, all emit strong blue light.

When you use these devices, that blue light floods your brain, tricking it into thinking it’s daytime.

As a result, your brain suppresses melatonin production and works to stay awake.

Insomnia that lasts three months or longer is called long-term insomnia. (Image: GETTY)

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People with insomnia will regularly find it hard to go to sleep, can wake up several times during the night and lie awake at night.

They might also find it difficult to concentrate during the day because they are tired, or wake up early and find they cannot go back to sleep.

“Some people are naturally lighter sleepers or take longer to drop off, while some life circumstances might make it more likely for your sleep to be interrupted, like stressful events or having a new baby,” the NHS states.

If poor sleep is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, you can talk to your GP.

For most, sleep problems tend to sort themselves out within about a month, according to the NHS. (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPER)

The Sleep Foundation says that overeating can affect sleep, and “eating too much, especially when it involves heavy or spicy foods, can worsen sleep by interfering with digestion and raising the risk of heartburn”.

It states: “For this reason, most experts advise against eating too much and too close to bedtime.”

The organisation also suggests that meals with low fibre and high amounts of sugar and saturated fat have been correlated with interrupted sleep.

It also says that patterns of overeating can lead to weight gain, “which raises the risk of obstructive sleep apnoea” which causes “persistent sleep interruptions”.

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  • Sept. 4, 2007

Few foods have a reputation for curing insomnia quite like warm milk.

According to age-old wisdom, milk is chock full of tryptophan, the sleep-inducing amino acid that is also well known for its presence in another food thought to have sedative effects, turkey.

But whether milk can induce sleep is debatable, and studies suggest that if it does, the effect has little to do with tryptophan.

To have any soporific effect, tryptophan has to cross the blood-brain barrier. And in the presence of other amino acids, it ends up fighting — largely unsuccessfully — to move across.

One study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology demonstrated this in 2003. The study, which was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that eating protein-rich foods — like milk — decreased the ability of tryptophan to enter the brain.

The trick, the study showed, is to eat foods high in carbohydrates, which stimulate the release of insulin. Insulin, in turn, makes it easier for tryptophan to enter the brain.

But surveys have found that many people swear by milk as a sleep aid, and that may have something to do with psychology.

Scientists say the routine of drinking a glass of milk before bed can be as soothing as a favorite old blanket.

THE BOTTOM LINE

A glass of warm milk may make you drowsy, but not because of tryptophan.

Last Updated: February 11, 2022, 10:38 IST

The research was carried out in the Netherlands to understand why consuming milk before bed is the best time.

If you do not suffer from constipation or irregular eating habits, the doctor recommends drinking milk at night.

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Milk is a valuable source of nutrients that are essential for healthy growth and development. The dairy product provides important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. It also contains other nutrients such as vitamin B12 and vitamin D that are beneficial to our body.

Many people consume milk at different times of the day or in different ways. Some argue that milk should only be consumed before going to bed, while others stand against the practice. Lukewarm milk can help you to sleep better, this makes it important to understand the relationship between warm milk and sleep because insomnia is a global problem.

The research was carried out in the Netherlands to understand why consuming milk before bed is the best time. This study was conducted on 15 women suffering from insomnia. The research found that drinking milk improved their sleep and decreased anxiety. Milk has adequate levels of magnesium and protein casein hydrolyzate, which helps improve a person’s sleep. Along with this, milk is packed with protein, minerals, vitamins as well as tryptophan – a hormone that plays an important role in the production of serotonin and melatonin, which prompts good sleep.

A BBC Science Focus report says that warm milk has a number of properties that may help reduce stress. For example, alpha-lactalbumin is a protein found in warm milk and is good for tryptophan. This amino acid can help produce serotonin, which controls mood and sleep. Milk also contains adjunct ingredients like magnesium and chamomile to reduce stress levels.

It is often said that the best temperature to consume milk is usually lukewarm or hot, as it provides digestive purposes. However, if you do not suffer from constipation or irregular eating habits, the doctor recommends drinking milk at night.

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The makers of Sleep Well, which blends milk, honey and valerian root, say it will help you ‘get your 8-a-night.’

Milk can help you sleep

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Lots of people have trouble sleeping, and it can be especially challenging to settle into slumber while traveling. Some swear by warm milk as the ticket to a good night’s snooze. Others say a spoon of honey before bed does the trick. And yet others hunt around for herbal sleep aids.

One company has blended all three folk remedies into one product. The makers of Sleep Well milk – which blends high-quality Jersey milk, honey and valerian root – claim their “natural” dairy drink will help you “get your 8-a-night.” It comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors and, based in the U.K., it has just announced plans to expand internationally.

Milk can help you sleep

Sounds intriguing, right? But how effective can consumers expect a drink that combines these three ingredients to be?

American Academy of Sleep Medicine spokesperson Jennifer L. Martin, PhD, FAASM, a clinical psychologist, behavioral sleep medicine specialist and associate professor of medicine at UCLA, says milk contains an amino acid that may help promote sleep, but cautions that the amount you’ll get in a normal serving may not do much for you.

Plus, Martin notes, even though “a small snack, cup of tea or even warm milk can be relaxing” for some people, drinking or eating too much before bedtime may inhibit your ability to fall asleep.

“As a general rule, people should avoid eating or drinking too much near bedtime, and avoid foods that make them uncomfortable at night,” she tells Healthy Eats.

As for the herb valerian, its root is sold as a dietary supplement purported to promote sleep in several products on the market, “but the amount of valerian root contained in each capsule varies widely,” Martin says. And while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers valerian root to be “generally recognized as safe,” it may have mild side effects, including headaches, dizziness and digestive distress and may not mesh well with some medications. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s Clinical Practice Guidelines recommends against the use of valerian root as a treatment for insomnia.

Martin says there is no evidence that drinking a blend of milk, valerian root and honey would be helpful, but it is not likely to be harmful either.

“For most people, the important thing is to have a way to relax and unwind at the end of the day,” she says. Avoid alcohol and caffeine if it interferes with sleep, get plenty of exercise, especially outdoors, and develop good sleep routines.

“If a drink like this is relaxing, it could be part of such a routine,” she says. But if you’re struggling with insomnia, it’s probably a good idea to reach out to your doctor for help.

Milk can help you sleep

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  • Chemicals in the body such as melatonin and tryptophan can impact your sleep.
  • Dairy, carbohydrates, and high glycemic foods can help your sleep.

Many foods contain naturally occurring substances that bring on sleep; here are some of the best choices to help you settle down for a quality rest.

Walnuts

Walnuts are a good source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid that helps make serotonin and melatonin, the “body clock” hormone that sets your sleep-wake cycles. Additionally, University of Texas researchers found that walnuts contain their own source of melatonin, which may help you fall asleep faster — unlike these eight worst eating habits for your sleep .

Almonds

Almonds are rich in magnesium, a mineral needed for quality sleep (and for building bones ). A study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine found that when the body’s magnesium levels are too low, it makes it harder to stay asleep. Don’t miss these other 10 natural tricks for sleeping better without drugs.

Cheese and crackers

Old wives’ tales suggest that warm milk can make you sleepy, but the truth is any dairy product can help. Calcium (found in cheese, yogurt, milk, and these surprising sources ) helps the brain use the tryptophan found in dairy to manufacture sleep-triggering melatonin. Additionally, calcium helps regulate muscle movements. Learn the nine signs you aren’t getting enough calcium .

Lettuce

A salad with dinner could speed up your bedtime since lettuce contains lactucarium, which has sedative properties and affects the brain similarly to opium. You can also try this brew from the book Stealth Health : Simmer three to four large lettuce leaves in a cup of water for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add two sprigs of mint, and sip just before you go to bed. Check out these other 13 best tips from sleep doctors .

Pretzels

Foods like pretzels and corn chips have a high glycemic index. After eating them you’ll have a natural spike in your blood sugar and insulin levels, shortening the time it takes you to fall asleep. Normally, you want steady levels to avoid mood swings and insulin resistance. (In those cases, reach for one of these 10 delicious low-glycemic snacks .) But if you are looking to get rest, the blood sugar and insulin increase helps tryptophan enter your brain to bring on sleep. Learn the other best way to improve your sleep quality .

Fish such as tuna, halibut, and salmon are high in vitamin B6, which your body needs to make melatonin and serotonin. (Find out how to tell if you’re low in important vitamins .) Other foods high in B6 include raw garlic and pistachio nuts. Don’t miss these 22 sleeping mistakes that are messing with your rest .

Milk can help you sleep

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Moon milks are the latest Instagram drinks trend, that look pretty as well as help you sleep. Here are some of Stylist’s favourite recipes, suitable for vegans.

Drinking warm milk before bed to help you sleep is a remedy as old as time – even if the science behind it is not quite what you might think. The story goes that tryptophan – an amino acid found in milk, turkey and eggs – is converted (via a fairly lengthy process) into melatonin, which makes us sleepy. But in reality, the levels of tryptophan typically found in a glass of milk are so low it’s unlikely to have any effect.

What does play a part is something simpler: nostalgia. Many of us grew up drinking warm milk before bed, and doing so as an adult can trigger comforting memories of bedtime stories and being tucked in by our parents. This soothing feeling helps send us off.

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The ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda has a similar concept: moon milks. A warm, plant-based milk flavoured with fruits, herbs or spices that help you to relax is often recommended for people struggling to sleep. While you can add all sorts of herbal powders to create Instagrammable night-time soothers (if you can track down pink pitaya pea flower or blue butterfly pea flower, you’re in for a treat), there are plenty of recipes that employ nothing more than the contents of your spice rack.

To make your own moon milk, simply bring your milk of choice to a simmer in a saucepan over a medium heat, then whisk in your ingredients and allow to cool slightly before drinking. Here, Gina Fontana, author of new book Moon Milk , talks us through three blends that will whisk you off to the land of nod in no time. Sweet dreams.

Lavender chamomile

Ingredients:

500ml unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp dried lavender (food-grade), plus extra to garnish

2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup, if vegan)

1 chamomile tea bag

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

“Lavender and chamomile have been used for many years to help people snooze. The sedative effect is caused by apigenin, a nutrient that reduces anxiety, leaving you feeling relaxed and sleepy. Add your chamomile tea bag to the saucepan and let your milk simmer a bit longer for a more potent flavour.”

Ginger turmeric

Ingredients:

500ml unsweetened cashew milk

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground turmeric

¼ tsp ground cardamom

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pinch of pepper and salt

“Both ginger and turmeric have been used for centuries for their known positive effects on the digestive system, and the combination of them in this moon milk is one unbeatable marriage that helps you battle nausea and indigestion. Cardamom also boosts digestive health and helps to lower blood pressure, allowing your body to relax before you hit the hay.”

Cherry thyme

Ingredients:

500ml unsweetened oat milk

¼ cup tart cherry juice

5 large sprigs of fresh thyme

1 tsp pure almond extract

1 tbsp agave syrup

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of pepper

“Tart cherry juice is nature’s gift to us as one of the highest natural sources of melatonin, a known component in achieving quality sleep. Thyme has the ability to help treat acne with its antibacterial properties, and is also effective in lowering blood pressure, which can help you relax and sleep better.”

Recipes from Moon Milk by Gina Fontana (£12.99, Hardie Grant), out now

Photography: Gina Fontana

M&S designs homeware and nightwear that gives a great night’s rest, and is the official partner of the Stylist Restival 2020.

Some people drink haldi doodh before going to bed, and some like chamomile tea! But did you know that cash milk can also help you sleep well?

Try this milk and cashew combination to sleep like a baby! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

We’ve often heard of haldi doodh benefits in evading restlessness at night, but here’s something refreshing! Nutrition expert Rujuta Diwekar suggests that cashews can also help you relax at the end of the day, calm your mind, and get you a good night’s sleep.

Cashews, which are known for their creamy and slightly sweet taste, have a variety of uses. They not just make a fulfilling snack to satiate mid-day cravings, but they are also readily used to add richness and thickness in Indian curries.

Many people have concerns that cashews can contribute to a rise in their cholesterol levels. But truth be told, cashews have zero cholesterol, and are rich in protein, healthy fats and antioxidants.

Since cashews can also help you sleep better, Diwekar has shared a recipe of cashew milk on her social media handle, and steered attention towards its benefits in a video.

“Sometimes in your life you just lose your sleep over nothing… Maybe it’s all the late Diwali night and shaadi nights and everything that you are stressing over. Here’s a thing that I found in my own book. It’s called Rujuta’s cashew milk. It is something which will help settle your gut and ensure that your skin is glowing and that you are sleeping like a baby,” she in the video.

Here’s the cashew milk recipe for better sleep:
  • Take a few cashews, soak them in milk for about 4-5 hours
  • Now grind them in a smooth paste
  • Put the paste in a vessel and add milk to it
  • Mix and add some more milk
  • Boil it, add sugar to it and then have it hot or cold according to your taste
Other benefits of cashews
  • Cashews are rich in monounsaturated fatty acid. It helps to prevent the onset of coronary heart diseases and also lowers the level of bad cholesterol in the blood. They contain the key minerals to bone health
  • Cashews provide good fat
  • They are a good brain food and are also known as natural depressants

Now that you are aware of the calming and relaxing effects of cashews, are you ready to include it as a part of your night-time regime?.

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