Sleep & Health
DOES WARM MILK HELP YOU SLEEP?
Have you ever heard of "drinking warm milk before bed can help you asleep?" You see it in a lot of movies and shows where the actor grabs warm milk before going to bed, but does it really work? How can a glass of milk help support your slumber? If you are also curious about the magic of warm milk, let's delve into the secret of this warm liquid.
- What properties in milk make you sleepy?
- Does warm milk help you sleep?
- The drawbacks of drinking milk before bed
- Cow milk vs goat milk vs others
WHAT PROPERTIES IN MILK MAKE YOU SLEEPY?
The tale of milk and sleep is truly a timeless tradition. Passed down from generation to generation, it's a testament to the wisdom of mothers and the cherished recipes of grandmothers. There is something magical about this liquid gold that gently soothes us.
- Tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that milk is rich in, which plays a significant role in improving sleep regulation. Tryptophan is the precursor of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that aids in controlling mood and sleep. When consuming milk, our bodies convert tryptophan into serotonin and finally transform to melatonin - the hormone in charge of encouraging milk.
- Magnesium. Magnesium is an important cofactor in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin and then to melatonin. A lack of magnesium can hinder the production of serotonin and autologous melatonin, thus causing sleep deprivation or difficulty in falling asleep.
- CTH(casein tryptic hydrolysate). According to the research, milk contains a component called casein tryptic hydrolysate (CTH), which has a sleep-promoting effect on mice. Besides, CTH consists of hundreds of peptide-amino acid chains, and some human studies suggest that consuming CTH can improve the ability to fall asleep faster and enhance sleep quality.
- α-Lactalbumin. This trace element is a natural protein that can be found in milk and has been scientifically proven to promote the synthesis of serotonin and melatonin, which helps regulate brain function and improve sleep quality. It is even dubbed the "natural sleep factor" by researchers due to its pure and healthy properties.
DOES WARM MILK HELP YOU SLEEP?
OK, there are so many factors in milk that can help us better sleep or fall asleep faster, so basically, milk can help us in sleeping. Hmm, yes and no.
Yes. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and sleep expert in California, says that the calming effect of hot milk can remind someone of precious memories, such as someone who gives you a hand. The fond memories help you reduce stress and unwind before bedtime. Milk can help you sleep to some extent spiritually. It's true that milk contains substances that can promote our sleep, but simply drinking a cup of warm milk before bed isn't enough to truly enhance our sleep.
However, it turns out that tryptophan only makes up 0.042g of every 100 grams of milk, and you require at least 1g of tryptophan to have an impact on your ability to promote sleep. That indicates that in order to possibly experience any results, you would have to drink 2.5L of milk. Let's be honest, not everyone can chug that much milk before bed.
If your sleep benefits from drinking milk, it could be more about the ritual and habit of it all, like your soothing toy or your personal daily routine making you feel relaxed, or just getting you subconsciously thinking about sleep. That could explain why some people swear by it while others don't see any difference at all, it depends on your personal experience and habits growing up, like whether or not you had milk before bed growing up.
Anyway, there is no need to doubt milk's usefulness if drinking it before bed actually improves your ability to sleep, just stick with what works for you and your habits.
THE DRAWBACKS OF DRINKING MILK BEFORE BED
Milk is generally touted as a healthy drink that provides rich calcium and other essential nutrients that are vital for our health. However, when should have a cup of milk would be another problem. For example, drinking before bed isn't always a good idea. In fact, it can have several drawbacks that can negatively impact your health.
- Indigestion. Milk contains lactose, which can be difficult to digest for some people. As a consequence, bloating, gas, and other digestive issues can happen, making it hard to fall asleep. Additionally, drinking milk before bed also increases the production of stomach acid, leading to heartburn or acid reflux.
- Weight gain. Actually, it is not even a shortcoming of drinking milk. If you are in weight loss mode, just control the amount and when it is consumed. Allocate your calorie intake properly throughout the day, and a glass of milk doesn't really have a particularly big impact on weight. However, drinking milk before bed can cause your body to store more fat, as it slows down your metabolism while you sleep. If you are trying to get fit, avoid drinking milk before bed.
COW MILK VS GOAT MILK VS OTHERS
Milk sourced from cows is the most commonly consumed type of milk worldwide. It is easily accessible and a good source of vitamin D and calcium. Cows milk is another excellent source of protein including necessary amino acids for repairing and growing muscles. However, some people could be allergic to cows' milk, and lactose intolerance is a common ailment that many people experience globally.
If I am lactose intolerant, could I switch to goat's milk? Lactose intolerance occurs when the body is unable to properly digest lactose, a sugar found in milk. A cow's milk allergy, on the other hand, is an immunological reaction to one or more proteins present in cows' milk. Mild itching to potentially fatal anaphylaxis are just a few of the symptoms that an immune reaction might produce.
Goats milk has a creamier texture and a sweeter taste than cows milk, goats milk is also a rich source of calcium, protein, and other essential nutrients. However, goat's milk is only about 1% less lactose than cow's milk.
If you don’t have an allergic reaction to goat milk as you do to cow milk, there’s a good chance you’re not lactose intolerant, but there are other allergic components of cow milk. It is best to consult a health provider for allergen screening.
OTHER TYPE OF MILK
- Soy milk. Soy milk is a plant-based, non-dairy beverage that is a healthy and tasty alternative to traditional dairy milk. Made from soybeans, it offers a creamy texture and a diverse culinary profile that can be used in a variety of recipes. Soy milk offers a nutritional profile that is similar to low-fat cow milk, making it an excellent choice for those who are lactose intolerant or looking to reduce their dairy intake.
- Almond milk. Almond milk is a delicious nutritious nut-based drink that has gained popularity over the years. One of the great things about almond milk is its mellow flavor, making it a more palatable option compared to other plant-based milk alternatives. Plus, many commercial versions of almond milk add calcium, riboflavin, vitamin E, and vitamin D to boost its nutritious content.
- Oat milk. Oat milk also has its own unique taste and nutritional benefits. Its creamier and slightly sweeter taste makes it more thicker in consistency.
- Camel milk. Camel milk is packed with essential nutrients, making it a great alternative to cow milk. Not only does it provide similar amounts of calories, protein, and carbs, but it also contains lower levels of saturated fat.
- Coconut milk. Coconut is a versatile ingredient in the kitchen, not only can it add flavor to both sweet and savory dishes, but it can also serve as a great alternative to dairy milk.
- Rice milk. Rice milk is not as creamy and sweet as oat, nut, or seed milk, while some would prefer this drink. Rice milk is made from milled rice and water, and has a slightly sweet taste. You can use it in your morning cereal, smoothies, or even in baking recipes.
Try to unwind before bed. Such as stretching or yoga, and deep breathing exercises also count. As these can calm you down before bed for a better night’s sleep.
It’s always good to make informed choices about what we consume, especially before bedtime. There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to night-time beverages.
So, does warm milk really help your sleep? We think we’ve made a clear answer. It’s worth noting that the calming properties of milk are limited. However, if warm milk does help you to relax and unwind, then, by all means, keep going! If you're still having trouble falling asleep despite drinking warm milk, don't worry! There are plenty of other methods you can try to help you get some shut-eye. Perhaps you can experiment with different relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing exercises. You could also try creating a bedtime routine that includes reading a book or taking a warm bath.