Everyone’s got their own little trick to help them get their 8 hours, counting sheep, reading a good book, putting their phone out of sigh, but have you ever heard about drinking a glass of milk before you go to bed as a way to help you get a sound night’s sleep?
It’s one of the tips I’ve shared lots over the years in my sleep workshops and child sleep books, and not only does it work for little ones – it can work for us grown-ups too!
Getting enough good quality sleep is absolutely crucial to your overall health. We all know that horrible feeling of what it’s like, especially now after a patchy sleep. Irritability, compromised ability to focus, fatigue – these are just a few of the downsides to poor sleeping patterns. On a more serious note, it’s also thought to be connected to the slowing of your metabolism and even chronic diseases such as strokes, diabetes and various cardiovascular issues.
Tryptophan and melatonin are your two best friends for a restful night. Milk (and other dairy products) are a really good source of tryptophan. It’s an amino acid that can help promote sleep, so it can come in particularly handy especially if you’re used to tossing and turning before finally getting off to sleep. Tryptophan is not naturally produced by our bodies so needs to be ingested in order to get the benefits. It’s also a precursor to melatonin, which is sometimes known as the ‘hormone of darkness’. It might sound a bit creepy but its sleep-promoting abilities mean that there’s a good reason for such an odd name. After all, it’s the hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. Here’s the science bit for those interested; tryptophan promotes production of the neurotransmitter serotonin (the ‘feel good hormone’), and in turn, as the day draws to a close, can be converted into melatonin.
So next time you’re struggling to nod off consider making the short walk to the fridge and pouring yourself a glass of the white stuff – it might just be the difference between a sweet dream or a nightmare!
If you want to try something really special – have a little try of this recipe from Grahams Family Dairy