Drinking a glass of milk before bedtime was a routine that we did when we were young. Most of the time, our parents would convince us that doing so will make us healthy and strong when we grow up. It seems like not everyone has continued doing this habit in adulthood, but what if milk actually has more health benefits other than simply strengthening our bones? Can a glass of warm milk help us in our sleep? Keep reading and find out if doing this old habit from our childhood might be a great idea to get a good night’s sleep.
Nutritional content in milk
It’s common knowledge that milk has calcium, which is an important nutrient that makes our bones stronger, but did you know there are other components in milk that helps us get a better sleep? Aside from the relaxing feeling of sipping on a glass of warm milk, these nutrients have sleep-inducing effects that can be beneficial even for adults.
Milk contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which is a key nutrient in producing serotonin, a chemical known for reducing anxiety. If you drink enough milk, your body releases more serotonin that makes you feel relaxed. This way, we may get to sleep better and more comfortably.
Melatonin can be consumed on its own via over-the-counter dietary supplements targeted for better sleeping, but did you know you can also get this when you drink milk? Although the dosage differs significantly, your body can still receive melatonin from a glass of warm milk.
Effects of drinking warm milk at night
Despite the fact that milk contains tryptophan and melatonin, some experts suggest that the nutritional content of milk may not be the actual factor that helps us sleep better. Instead, they think that the reason behind this might be due to the psychological effect of having a bedtime ritual which includes drinking milk before sleeping.
There are some theories suggesting that consuming a warm glass of milk before bedtime subconsciously reminds us of our childhood years when we still used to do this routine. The mind might have been conditioned to associate drinking milk with sleeping, that’s why it’s easier and quicker to fall asleep once we accomplish this bedtime ritual.
Other alternatives for those with lactose intolerance
By now, you might be planning to make it a habit to drink milk at night but if you are lactose intolerant, then you might get the opposite of what you’re aiming for.
If you have this digestive disorder, your body finds it difficult to digest lactose, which is found in most dairy products. Signs of lactose intolerance include diarrhea, bloating, abdominal cramps, and nausea. Aside from milk, consuming foods such as cheese, yogurt, butter, and ice cream will send you straight to the bathroom.
If you still want to drink something before sleeping as part of your bedtime ritual, you might want to consider the following alternatives.
If cow milk is not for you, the next best thing is soy milk. Out of all the milk alternatives, this is considered as the most comparable with almost the same amount of nutrients and protein content. Not only that, but soy milk also contains tryptophan which, as mentioned earlier, has great sleep-inducing effects.
A study was also conducted to see if the isoflavone content of soy milk also helps us get better sleep, and the results reveal that there is a positive correlation between this compound and the sleep quality and duration a person gets.
Herbal teas are widely considered as a relaxing drink, and it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that these wonder beverages actually help us get better sleep. They have been used worldwide as natural sleep aids for centuries.
Chamomile tea is a popular choice among those with insomnia. This calming beverage is rich in apigenin, an antioxidant that decreases anxiety and relaxes our mind and body. Studies have also shown that consuming chamomile tea significantly improves sleep quality.
Lavender tea is another herbal drink that you can consume before bedtime. Aside from its soothing scent, this tea relaxes your nerves as well. In fact, smelling lavender tea alone immediately calms your senses and lessens the feeling of fatigue and tiredness. This way, you will have longer and better sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.