If you find yourself brewing an extra cup-o-joe in the afternoon to make it through your fourth Zoom meeting in a row, you’re not alone. And that afternoon soda or coffee on top of other stresses in life today are making it harder for us all to fall asleep at night. Well, some good news is that mother nature may have a solution for that!
Did you ever hear that drinking a warm glass of milk before bed could actually help you sleep? In fact, drinking a glass of warm milk before bed is a common practice used to promote relaxation and support quality sleep. Lack of adequate sleep is linked to many negative physical and mental health outcomes. In fact, it’s actually considered a major global public health issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 people in the United States alone don’t get enough sleep. Having a glass of warm milk before bed is a tradition that’s been passed down through generations as a way to cultivate relaxation, relieve anxiety, and facilitate a more restful night’s sleep.
How does it work?
Research has found that tryptophan (in doses of approximately 1 gram or more), an essential amino acid found in milk (approximately 0.1 g/cup) and other protein-containing foods, may have a calming effect. This may be because tryptophan is a precursor to the brain transmitter, serotonin, found to influence sleep, mood and mental fatigue. That said, research has also shown that the small amount of tryptophan in a cup of milk (eight ounces) may not be enough to influence sleep.
Should you drink it warm or cold for sleep?
Drinking a warm beverage — such as milk, decaffeinated tea or something else — in the evening or during times of stress is a common cultural practice for promoting relaxation and alleviating anxiety. Warm liquids can have a calming effect on the nervous system and may be more effective for lulling you into sleep than cold drinks. However, results may depend on the individual so see what works for you.
Why is sleeping well a big thing?
How about this? Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It’s forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information. During sleep, your body is working to support proper brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development. Who knew you did so much work while you’re resting?
So tonight, go ahead and have a glass of milk for a goodnight sleep, and count yourself some Zzz’s – not sheep.