Why Does Warm Milk Help You Sleep?

  • Article
  • 1 min read December 7, 2016

You may have heard growing up that sipping a warm cup of milk before bedtime may help you sleep – or you may have used this technique yourself in an attempt to get some ZZZs.

Though warm milk may be relaxing, there is no data on whether milk helps you sleep. Let’s take a look at what we know so far.

Some research has found that tryptophan (in doses of approximately 1 gram or more), an essential amino acid found in milk (approximately 0.1 g/cup) and other protein-containing foods, may have a calming effect. This may be because tryptophan is a precursor to the brain transmitter, serotonin, found to influence sleep, mood and mental fatigue. However, the small amount of tryptophan in a cup of milk (eight ounces) is probably not enough to influence sleep.

How food may influence mood or sleep is an interesting and continuing topic of research. Although drinking milk at bedtime has not been shown to influence sleep, this habit may remind you it’s time to relax, plus it has other benefits. It’s a great way to work toward getting the recommended servings of nutrient-rich dairy foods you need each day for overall health. So give it a try!

Sleep is important, so if you still have trouble sleeping, don’t forget to follow these tips for good sleep hygiene as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.