Sleep Underground
A glass of milk with cookies

Does Warm Milk Help You Sleep?

It is estimated that about 60 million Americas have a sleeping disorder. Lack of good night sleep has forced many people to go to great lengths and try things that could help them sleep better. Drinking milk before going to bed has for a long time been considered the go-to remedy that could lull you off into dreamland with ease.

Although many believe that drinking warm milk can help them get a good night’s sleep, others think it is a myth with no scientific backing. So, can warm milk help you sleep better, or is it just another myth? In this article, we will tell whether drinking warm milk before going to bed could help you sleep better.

Does Drinking Warm Milk Help You Sleep Better?

YES, warm milk may help you sleep better. A handful of studies conducted on humans and animals have shown that drinking warm milk before going to sleep may help you sleep better. Drinking warm milk before sleeping may help you relax, thus making it easy to fall asleep.

However, there is no specific evidence that has proven that warm milk makes people sleepy. The drowsiness that some people experience after drinking warm milk may be more from the full stomach or the warmth of the milk as opposed to the effect of the compounds that the milk contains.

What is The Scientific Basis?

Research conducted at Appleton Institute at Central Queensland University revealed warm milk might help you fall asleep but not for the reason that many people think. The important links between milk and falling asleep are the two nutrients widely known to help induce or improve sleep: the hormone melatonin and tryptophan.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is not produced naturally in the human body but plays a crucial role. Because the body does not produce this crucial nutrient naturally, we need to eat it. Fortunately, there are various foods containing this essential amino acid, including dairy products such as milk and some cheese, beef, turkey, chicken, nuts, potatoes, beans, bananas, and eggs.

If you consume enough tryptophan, your gut and brain will create more melatonin and serotonin a few hours later, which will make you feel good and relaxed. This, in turn, will make you fall asleep.

Melatonin, also referred to as the hormone of darkness, plays a crucial role in regulating sleep. The brain usually starts to produce this hormone an hour or two before you get to bed. Once the hormone builds up in the brain, you will fall asleep with ease. Melatonin usually dissipates throughout the night, and if you have a healthy circadian rhythm, you will have a restful night and wake up in the morning feeling energetic.

Milk contains both melatonin and L-tryptophan, which play a big role in helping someone fall asleep. However, research has shown that the quantity of these nutrients in milk is not sufficient to have a huge effect on your sleep.

So, while it is highly unlikely for a glass of warm milk to help induce sleep, scientists suggest that warm milk can help for an entirely different reason. Warm milk has a psychological significance that may help you relax and eventually fall asleep.

Our brain likes routine and predictability. Therefore, if you have a routine of drinking warm milk every night before going to sleep, your brain and your psychology will recognize the behavior as part of the preparatory process for sleep and will respond appropriately, making it much easier to fall asleep once you get to bed.

Warm Vs. Cold Milk for Sleep, Which One is Better?

People who consume milk to induce sleep usually prefer warm milk as opposed to cold milk. However, there is no scientific evidence that has shown that drinking warm milk will help induce better sleep than cold milk.

Most studies that assess the effect of drinking milk on sleep use warm milk. In fact, up to date, no study has been conducted to compare the effect of drinking milk on different temperatures. However, if we use other examples like tea, then there is a possibility that warm milk will give more desirable results when it comes to inducing sleep than cold milk.

Warm liquids are known to have a calming and relaxing effect on the nervous system and could be more effective in helping you fall asleep quicker than cold drinks. But scientific studies have shown that any consistent bedtime routine, whether it involves drinking hot, cold milk, or no milk at all, could help you sleep better at night.

Does Drinking Milk Before Bed Affect Your Weight?

There is no scientific evidence that suggests drinking milk before going to bed may cause any major change in your weight. Milk is not high in calories, meaning it will not result in weight gain, as is usually the case when you snack at night. In fact, drinking milk before you go to sleep could help you shed more weight.

One of the reasons why people gain weight is because of not getting enough sleep (at least 6 hours). Because drinking warm milk can help you fall asleep faster and improve your sleep quality, it could help you shed or manage your current weight.

Does Drinking Warm Milk Before Going to Bed Help People with Insomnia?

YES, drinking warm milk before going to bed can help people suffering from insomnia. One of the main causes of insomnia includes irregular sleeping patterns, stress, and anxiety. Drinking warm milk every day before going to bed could help you fall asleep faster and also improve the quality of your sleep. Improved sleeping patterns and sleep quality could help reduce insomnia. Additionally, warm milk has a calming and relaxing effect that could help counter stress and anxiety.

If you have been wanting to fall asleep faster or improve the quality of your sleep and wondering whether warm milk could help you, we hope that this article has been informative. There is no scientific evidence that suggests that warm milk induces sleep.

However, scientists agree that the routine created by drinking warm milk every evening before going to sleep could help you fall asleep fast and also improve your sleep quality. The calming and relaxing effect of drinking warm milk could also lull you to sleep.

Matt Pulnett
Matt Pulnett is an experienced sleep expert and mattress enthusiast who has been writing about the importance of sleep and the best sleep products for over 10 years. He is a recognized sleep expert and has been featured on many of the top websites and magazines devoted to sleep and mattresses.
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