One ritual that many swear by once it’s dark outside is sipping on a glass of milk before bedtime. Drinking milk at night has sort of become a timeless tradition that is synonymous with warmth and goodness. But this is not a practice that just helps you feel calm. It also has health benefits. This is one place where science and tradition intertwine as several studies have found that there are positive effects of drinking milk before bed. So, settle in your cosy spot and grab your favourite mug full of milk to know why it’s beneficial for you.
Drinking in a warm cup of milk before bedtime has been a timeless ritual for many, and science sheds light on its potential benefits, says Dietitian Deepali Sharma, Clinical nutritionist at the CK Birla Hospital, New Delhi. Sharing more insights with us, the expert highlights all the benefits of drinking milk at night.
What are the benefits of drinking milk at night?
Milk, along with other dairy products, emerges as a commendable source of tryptophan, an amino acid renowned for its sleep-promoting attributes. Tryptophan serves as a precursor for the synthesis of both melatonin and serotonin within the body. Melatonin, often referred to as the ‘sleep hormone,’ ensures that the sleep-wake cycle is in check, ensuring a harmonious transition into a restful sleep. Serotonin, on the other hand, functions as a multi-faceted neurotransmitter, contributing not only to mood regulation but also playing a pivotal role in appetite control, sleep modulation, and pain perception. This symphony of molecules collaborates to induce a sense of tranquillity, gently guiding you toward a peaceful night’s rest, explains Sharma.
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The effects of tryptophan are not limited to sleep regulation. Your liver also utilises the amino acid to craft niacin, which is an indispensable component of the vitamin B3 complex. Niacin, in turn, helps in energy metabolism and DNA synthesis, nurturing essential bodily functions.
A study published in the journal BMC Geriatrics found that consumption of milk or milk products helps initiate sleep in older adults. A few other studies have also found a positive effect of milk on sleep and how it can help have a more restful night’s sleep. While sipping warm milk may help you sleep better, it may not be suitable for everyone out there. Factors such as personal tolerance, dietary preferences, and overall health should all be taken into account when considering the timing and quantity of milk consumption before sleep, adds the expert.
Does drinking milk at night affect your weight?
Drinking milk at night is a good idea if you want to have a restful sleep. but it might not be so good for people trying to lose weight. As per the dietitian, drinking milk at night may slow down the digestion process and affect liver functioning. This process impacts the metabolic rate of your body and may lead to fat deposition and weight gain. Regular consumption can also contribute to a significant increase in your daily calorie intake, which can add to your weight.
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Drinking milk at night might even trigger insulin release due to the carbohydrates present in milk, potentially disrupting your body’s circadian rhythm. The key is to create a balance and drink the milk in moderation to avoid any sort of problem.
Is drinking milk at night harmful for women experiencing hormonal changes?
More often than not, women are advised not to drink milk at night if they are experiencing any sort of hormonal changes. The expert says that dairy products are not strictly prohibited for women experiencing hormonal changes. Excessive dairy consumption can cause your blood sugar levels to rise by triggering insulin growth factors, particularly in those with PCOS or PCOD.
Several studies have found that milk contains small amounts of various hormones, including progesterone and estrogen that could add to the problem. The expert recommends consuming milk and its products to enjoy their nutritive value but they should drink them in moderation. Along with this, you need to ensure that you are consuming enough of other nutrients like protein and calcium so that you don’t experience any deficiencies even if you cut down on your milk intake. Ragi, dark green leafy vegetables, or sesame seeds are some of the best sources you can include in your diet.
Drinking milk at night is not such a bad idea after all! As it turns out, it helps you sleep better by inducing the production of the right hormones. Harnessing the power of tryptophan, and its subsequent melatonin and serotonin, drinking milk at night helps promote restful sleep. However, it might not be such a good idea for people trying to lose weight to drink milk at night as it can add to the extra pounds. It could also be a hassle for women with hormonal imbalances if they do not drink it in moderation. So, the key is to practice moderation if you can’t sleep without sipping on a glass of warm milk.
Whether you’re seeking solace in a cup of warm milk for its soothing effects or you have included it in your diet for the sake of adding some nutritional value, this age-old practice offers a plethora of health benefits. So, it might be the soothing drink you need. Having said that, do not forget to check with your doctor if drinking milk at night is good for you or not.