I’m always looking for new ways to help improve my sleep, but I’ve never actually tried warm milk. (Milk, like tomatoes and sardines, does not work well with my palate.) But I was intrigued when I heard about the sleep-inducing properties of “night milk.” This is not drinking milk at night, but rather drinking milk that was collected at night.
What Is Night Milk?
When cows are milked at night, they produce “night milk,” which, according to a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food, contains more tryptophan and melatonin, making it a good treatment for anxiety and insomnia. At least, it worked in mice.
Mice who drank night milk showed signs of being sleepier than those given day milk. (They were less active and fell down more.) They fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer too—an effect that was also seen in mice given diazepam.
Is Night Milk a Viable Natural Sleep Remedy?
The verdict is still out. You would first have to find a local farmer who could harvest milk at night for you. (You can’t—at least yet—buy it in a store.) And there’s not yet a recommended amount of milk that you would need to drink to get the sleep-inducing effects.
If you can find it, it can’t hurt, but you may also want to go straight to the components that make it an insomnia treatment:
- Melatonin is one of the most widely recommended remedies for insomnia. Using melatonin supplement help many people fall asleep without feeling drugged. The dosage for melatonin is one 3 mg tablet one hour before bedtime. People who wake up during the night may benefit from extended-release versions.
- Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin – the “feel-good” brain chemical that is responsible for perceptions of calmness and well-being. It’s best known as the cause of post-Thanksgiving sleepiness because it is abundant in turkey.
How to Sleep Better Naturally
You’ll find more natural remedies for insomnia in our blog, “3 Top Remedies for Insomnia.” Please be sure to tell us what works for you in the comments section below.
 de la Pena IJI, Eunyoung H, de la Pena JB, et al. Milk Collected at Night Induces Sedative and Anxiolytic-Like Effects and Augments Pentobarbital-Induced Sleeping Behavior in Mice. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2015