The Warm Milk Journal

A nurturing place for people who can't sleep

Food and Drink to make us sleepy

Are there foods and drinks that really will make us sleepy? I have been doing some research on this subject. There are a lot of old folk remedies and recipes out there. There are foods such as milk and turkey that have an amino acid called tryptophan that is supposed to help induce sleep if consumed in sufficient amount of quantities.

“Experts” out there will suggest that it would be difficult to get enough tryptophan, say, in one glass of warm milk to have any real effect. I think that if we believe it will help, it will help. The placebo effect does work. If we consume things that we associate with comfort(again, such as warm milk or chicken soup) it certainly could not hurt. In the case of warm milk, I think we can go way back to when we were infants when mother’s milk was our main source of nourishment.

Some folks will tell us not to eat anything before bed for our bodies will be busy digesting and that will affect our sleep. Then there are those who suggest we have a little snack before bed (such as cheese and crackers)to help us get sleepy.

There are those who say absolutely no alcohol consumption before sleep time and those who swear by a little night cap.

Who to believe? Like anything else in life, I truly believe the real “experts” our ourselves. Only we know what works and does not work for us. So experiment a bit. Personally, I have found a warm cup of almond milk with a spoonful of flax seed oil to be delicious and comforting right before bed. During really rough nights of anxiety and insomnia I have found a banana, a piece of toast or small bowl of cereal to be just the thing to help me go back to sleep.

As I hear about or encounter recipes or food and drink suggestions to try I will mention them in future posts here at the Warm Milk Journal.

Here’s a few to start with:

This suggestion was given to me by a darling man, our local librarian, at the check out desk (as he was helping me check out my rather large stack of books on insomnia, anxiety,  and sleep disorders). He is Jamaican and he says this is what Jamaicans do when they can’t sleep: sip on lime water and sugar. That’s it. Simple. I happen to know that citrus becomes very alkaline in our bodies (I highly recommend drinking lime and lemon water throughout your day for good general health). The sugar is a very simple carbohydrate that perhaps has a relaxing effect? I am not sure on that but it would be worth a try.

A delicious sleepy time smoothie (I found this recipe at:

Blend: ripe mango, banana, 2 tbs sugar, 2 tbs low fat ricotta cheese, 1/2 tsp mint



April 9, 2010 - Posted by | Recipes | , , , , , , , , ,

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