Poor sleep causes several health problems from abnormal weight to weak immunity.
Your body needs sleep just like food as a lot of healing work of the body is done during sleep. Sleep is crucial for maintaining the health of the body and mind.
Compromise in sleep quality and quantity will leave you tired, cranky, and less productive.
There is no certain number of optimum sleep hours. Optimal sleep is individualized and should not be broadly applied to all as it depends upon various factors.
It is a fair assumption that the optimum amount of sleep for most people is in the range of 7- 9 hours. Again this range may vary by age appropriation.
According to a study, 1 out of 3 American don’t get enough sleep, that’s why many people are shifting to home remedies to improve sleep quality and sleep pattern.
We have heard of the old age remedy of drinking a glass of warm milk before bed to help you fall asleep. How Does warm milk help you sleep? read next to know the science behind drinking warm milk before bed.
1. How does Warm Milk Help You Sleep?
The tradition of drinking milk before bed is carried out through generations, no wonder why our childhood memories are so linked with milk.
The milk or milk products contain sleep-inducing compounds- Tryptophan and Melatonin
Tryptophan is the amino acid found mainly found in protein-rich foods. Tryptophan is not produced in the body but the body must get it from food.
Tryptophan produces serotonin (a sleep hormone ). Serotonin hormone plays key role in the sleep cycle, uplifting mood, improving self-confidence, and maintaining bodily rhythm. It keeps he body positive and calm.
It is still a question if a glass of warm milk has just the right amount of tryptophan to solve your sleep problems. There is no scientific research supporting this, more research is needed.
2. How does Melatonin Improves Sleep?
Melatonin is a sleep inducer present in milk. The sleep hormone melatonin is synthesized by the brain. It is the hormone produced in reaction to darkness. It helps the bodily circadian rhythm.
Melatonin helps relax muscles and nerves, it also helps the body to enter the sleep cycle.
Low melatonin levels lead to problems like Insomnia(trouble falling asleep), mood disorders, restless sleep, depression, confusion, and forgetfulness.
3. Milk Recipes to Promote Sleep
Drinking fermented milk loaded with the goodness of malt and turmeric helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.
3.1. Malted Milk
Malted milk is the perfect blend of minerals like vitamin B, iron, potassium, and phosphorous that relax you. This concoction is super healthy and is best to wind up your day.
A study showed that persons who drink malted milk before bed has less broken sleep.
Cook the Ragi malt (typically sprouted powder)with the milk, add some dry fruits (optional) and enjoy it warm.
3.2. Turmeric Milk
Popularly known as golden milk. Turmeric milk gives you an extra dose of antioxidants. It has excellent healing properties and aids digestion.
Drinking warm Turmeric milk helps for restorative sleep.
How to make turmeric milk
Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric to milk (preferably cow milk), and add honey and cinnamon for flavor.
According to a study, cows milked at night add value to the milk. It was observed that milk collected at night had a higher concentration of melatonin and drinking such milk improved sleep quality.
4. Hot Milk or Cold Milk before Bed
The sleep specialists recommend a glass of warm milk instead of cold before bed. But there is no research backing the belief that the temperature of milk improves sleep.
It is said that warm beverages like tea, warm milk, or something else bring relaxation and alleviate stress. It is common culture to have warm beverages, especially in the evening.
Another reason to favor warm milk, it is easy to digest and puts digestive problems like bloating and gas at bay.
You can have cold milk during summer in the daytime for cooling. But cold milk consumption before bed can lead to digestive problems, cough, and cold.
5. Does Drinking Milk cause Weight Gain?
The notion that milk causes weight gain is wrong.
The calcium present in the milk boost metabolism, which in turn help to burn the calories.
Late-night snacking can be the reason for extra calories and consequently weight gain. Drinking warm milk before bed makes you feel full, thus preventing you from late-night snacking.
But check that the daily calorie intake doesn’t cross the optimum levels after drinking milk.
6. Other Drinks that Help You Sleep
Many dislike milk or simply are lactose intolerant. Fortunately apart from milk, there are other drinks too to improve sleep. Let’s check it out-
6.1. Almond Milk
Almond milk is the classic solution for troubled sleepers. It has sleep-promoting properties because it has a good amount of tryptophan.
It also has magnesium and calcium that relaxes the muscles, and nerves and helps to promote sleep.
6.2. Soy Milk
Soy milk contains a good amount of tryptophan. Research has shown that soy milk has natural sleep- inducing properties.
6.3. Coconut Water
Although coconut water is known for refreshment. Its potassium and magnesium content makes it a tonic for better sleep.
6.4. Herbal Teas-
Herbal teas are known for their relaxing properties and health benefits.
6.4.1. Green tea (decaffeinated)
It contains the amino acid theanine which has proven to be a stress reliever. Go for decaffeinated tea as regular tea can be counterproductive.
6.4.2. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile Tea is the world’s most popular herbal tea to treat Insomnia. It has a mild floral flavour. It is Caffeine-free, promotes relaxation, and gives a soothing effect.
6.4.3. Magnolia tea
Made up of dried bark, buds, and tea. Magnolia tea is used as a sleep aid in traditional medicines
6.4.4. Lavender tea
Lavender tea is made of lavender flowers. It has vibrant lavender color with a distinct flavor and aroma.
It is often enjoyed as a bedtime tea. It is very soothing and gives a relaxing effect. It is the remedy to fight the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
6.5. Tart Cherry Juice
A study back in 2010 showed that drinking 16 ounces of tart cherry juice throughout the day significantly helped with the symptoms of insomnia.
The reason behind this is Tart Cherry Juice is a rich source of melatonin (sleep inducer).
Choose 100% pure (additive-free) and sugar-free tart cherry juice for better results.
7. Other Tryptophan-Rich Foods
A glass of milk doesn’t provide enough tryptophan, you must eat protein-rich food throughout the day to enjoy quality sleep. As most Tryptophan is present in protein-rich food.
Now the question is what are other foods high in tryptophan? Scroll next to know-
Tryptophan rich Fruits-
Apricots, Plantains, kiwi fruits, mangoes, cherries, figs, apples.
Tryptophan rich Vegetables-
Soybeans, cowpeas, lima beans, garlic, Potatoes, kidney beans, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, and kale.
Tryptophan-rich nuts and seeds–
Pumpkin seed kernels, butternuts, sunflower seed kernels, almonds, hazelnuts, lotus seeds, and safflower seed meal.
Tryptophan from dairy foods–
Cheese, milk, cream, yogurt, source cream, butter.
Tryptophan from an animal source–
Fish, chicken, turkey, red meat, pork, tofu, fish, egg.
Tryptophan from cereals-
Barley, Sorghum, rice, corn.
Do you know?
Turkey has a high content of tryptophan. That’s the reason why you feel sleepy after a large dinner of turkey.
8. Does a Large Meal Make You Feel Sleepy?
This is the myth having a large meal before bed makes you sleep. A large meal can temporarily make you feel drowsy but eating too much food before sleep can harm you.
Heavy or spicy food can worsen sleep problems by raising the risk of heartburn, and digestive issues.
Sleep hygiene is the healthy habits, environmental factors, and behavior adjusted for a restful night’s sleep.
Improving sleep habits require very little cost and no side effects. Healthy sleeping habits prevent potential risks like insufficient sleep and insomnia. Scroll next to know Sleep hygiene habits-
- Have a fixed sleep and wake-up routine to get the body in a rhythm of consistent sleep.
- Avoid long afternoon naps, it can throw off sleep at night.
- Avoid laptops, and mobiles at least 30 minutes before sleep, as a blue screen lowers melatonin levels.
- Create a sleep environment, a dark, quiet, and calm environment to help you feel sleepy.
- A warm bath before going to bed may help you sleep, it affects the body temperature and thus help you fall asleep faster.
- Wind up work 30 minutes before bed to give the body chance to rest. Follow some relaxing exercises like stretching, reading, and yoga.
- Go for sleep only when you are tired. Avoid tossing and turning on the bed instead do some relaxing activities like reading a book, or listening to sound music until you feel tired.
Sleep deprivation is missing the right amount of sleep. If you are sleep deprived for several weeks you should reach out to a sleep specialist for help.
The medications prescribed to induce sleep are often dangerous and addictive. But nowadays people are becoming aware that sleep deprivation is no more treated as a diagnosis.
Considering the side effects of drugs for insomnia treatment, you should adopt behavioural methods like relaxation training, cognitive therapies, and sleep restriction.
Assume you read the blog and realized How does warm milk help you sleep. Let’s summarize in case you missed any point.
The milk contains the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan produces serotonin (sleep hormone) which gives a nice sleep.
Milk contains a high amount of tryptophan. Tryptophan induces sleep, so it is recommended to drink milk before bed.
Amino acids tryptophan and melatonin are responsible for maintaining sleep health.
Try out different recipes of milk like -malt milk, and turmeric milk for best results.
Those who have lactose intolerance avoid consuming dairy products and go for non-dairy drinks like-
- Almond milk
- Soy milk
- Green tea
- Herbal teas like- Chamomile Tea, Magnolia tea, Lavender tea
Increase daily protein intake to elevate tryptophan levels.
Warm beverage promotes relaxation, so have warm milk, herbal teas, or something else before going to bed.
Avoid having heavy meals before bed as it can lead to Indigestion and heartburn, which leads to interrupted sleep.
Limit the caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before sleep.
Include sleep hygiene in your bedtime routine to fall asleep faster.
Sleep hygiene – having fixed sleep-wake time, Relaxation techniques, and avoiding screens.
Seek help from sleep specialists if the insomnia symptoms are worsening.
After reviewing the scientific evidence it is worth including milk in the bedtime routine for better sleep.
Hope this blog post answers, How does warm milk help you sleep?
Snehal has experience in writing blogs across various topics. Although her interest is inclined toward writing for the health and fitness niche, she is equally proficient in writing travel and lifestyle niche. She dabbles at researching lifestyle-related content and helping people deal with their health issues on Icy Tales.