Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for our overall health. Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function well during the day. But it can be difficult to get to sleep after a long day of work.
It is an ancient tradition to drink something warm to help you get to sleep quickly at night.
Hot milk or a “hot toddy” is thought to help you fall asleep. But is there any truth to this hot drink theory?
Part of the soothing quality of any hot drink before bed is the psychological expectation of being warm and cozy. We associate the warmth of a hot drink before bed with settling down and getting drowsy for the night.
But science has found that there is some validity to drinking certain types of herbs and drinks before bed to get to sleep faster.
If you want to make sure you sleep well every night make sure your mattress and pillow are optimal and tailored to your needs.
Is There Something in Hot Milk That Makes it a Good Drink to Help You Get to Sleep?
Cow’s Milk has small amounts of tryptophan, a precursor to melatonin and the substance in turkey that is supposed to make you sleepy.
But you would have to drink several gallons of milk to get enough tryptophan to make you drowsy.
It’s more likely that the carbohydrate content in the milk is what makes you sleepy along with some of the hormones in the milk meant to make baby cows docile after nursing.
Babies get sleepy after nursing because of the alpha-casozepine in the milk. These opioid-like substances have a tranquilizing effect. Concentrations of these calming hormones in milk have been used to treat anxiety.
Almond milk is a great alternative to regular cows milk for making a sleep potion. Almonds contain high amounts of manganese, and magnesium.
Magnesium is important for getting to sleep and staying asleep. Magnesium also reduces early morning waking and can help reduce the incidence of insomnia.
Almonds and other nuts are also a natural food source for melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that fights insomnia, regulates our physiological rhythms, scavenges free radicals, and enhances our immune system.
It used to be thought that melatonin was produced only in the pineal gland. But it has recently been discovered that many foods, including plants and bacteria and fungus, like mushrooms contain melatonin.
Eating foods rich in melatonin can boost our levels of melatonin and have health benefits.
Golden Milk is made by adding turmeric, honey, and ginger to your milk drink. The curcumin found in turmeric can help reduce anxiety, and depression and help you sleep better.
Herbal Teas for Helping You Get to Sleep
Ashwagandha tea is made from the roots, leaves, and berries of the plant. The active component in Ashwagandha is triethylene glycol which helps to increase non-REM sleep. Deep dreamless sleep is responsible for physical rejuvenation.
Ashwagandha helps promote optimal sleep by interacting with our GABA receptors. Gaba has a Sedative, calming effect.
Ashwagandha tea helps suppress the stress hormone cortisol and helps reduce anxiety.
Ashwagandha is used in Ayruvedic medicine in Moon Milk. Moon milk can be made with cow’s milk or any other kind of plant milk, ground ashwagandha root, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, coconut oil, and honey or another sweetener of your choice.
Chamomile tea can be used as a mild tranquilizer. Chamomile has been used for thousands of years to help with healing of cold symptoms, inflammation, and getting to sleep.
Chamomile can significantly improve sleep quality. Chamomile has also been tested in the treatment of depression and fatigue in postnatal women. You can safely use chamomile regularly in the evening to help relieve insomnia and improve sleep quality.
Decaf green tea contains theanine, an amino acid that helps reduce stress and can help you sleep better.
Lemon balm tea helps reduce anxiety, restlessness, and promotes relaxation. Lemon balm improves your mood and cognitive abilities.
Passionflower tea is a Native American remedy that is used as a sedative. Passionflower also has potential for anxiety reduction. There have been a limited number of studies on sleep and passionflower.
Peppermint tea is a soothing delicious drink that may have antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Peppermint relieves gastrointestinal discomfort and sooths the stomach and can help you relax and sleep better.
Valerian tea: Valarian is part of the honeysuckle family. Valarian root has been used for sleep potions for centuries. Valarian is a mild sedative. Valarian is often combined with Lemon balm, and hops to make you drowsy.
It helps to increase slow wave sleep and studies show that it may be useful in treating insomnia and other sleep disorders. Valarian should not be taken by pregnant women or by young children.
Full leaf tea company has a nice herbal blend. It contains all organic ingredients: Rooibos, peppermint, valerian root, chamomile, and lavender.
Best Hot Mushroom Beverages for Sleep
Mushrooms have amazing properties for healing that we are just beginning to tap into. You can get powdered forms of beneficial mushrooms and add them to your other drinks.
Reishi Mushrooms can reduce your stress levels and help you sleep.
Lions Mane extract is an anti-anxiety and anti-aging treatment. It stimulates nerve growth factor or NGF. The calming effect may help you sleep better while it restores your memory.
Four Sigmatic has a cacao reishi mushroom drink with stevia and cinnamon for bedtime that tastes like dessert.
Other Plant Beverages You May Not Have Thought of to Help You Sleep
CBD oil or cannabidiol can have a soothing effect without the high of marijuana. This might be a good addition to your warm drink before bed.
Cherry juice is naturally high in melatonin which helps you get to sleep faster. Cherries have many health benefits including being high in vitamin C. Cherries help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. A bit of cherry juice in your tea can help with sleep onset.
Coconut water is rich in potassium and magnesium so it can help you sleep better.
Banana smoothies are also great for boosting the magnesium and potassium you need to sleep well and wake up rested.