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People usually drink milk before bed to promote a good night's sleep. Milk has great sleep-promoting and sedative properties due to the presence of vital compounds such as tryptophan and melatonin.
According to Nature journal based on scientific reports, the prevalence of sleep problems worldwide is between 1.6 per cent to 56.0 per cent, with sleep disorders continuously rising in some countries/populations. 
In this article, we will discuss how a glass of warm milk can help you sleep better. Take a look.
1. Promotes sleep quality
Milk and dairy products contain a high amount of tryptophan (Try), an amino acid that is used to break proteins in the body. When consumed, our body uses Try to make certain vital enzymes such as serotonin and melatonin, which are great for mood regulation and influence the sleep-wake cycle. This helps promote sleep quality and may even benefit people with sleep problems. 
2. Increases body temperature to help induce sleep
According to a study, hot milk may increase the likelihood of falling asleep at a faster rate. This could be because warm milk increases the blood supply in the entire body, even to distance body parts like the feet, and help increase the core body temperature or say, obtain the ideal temperature (32-degree Celcius) for best sleep quality. 
3. Lowers anxiety
A study mentions that night milk has a promising effect on sleep and anxiety-related sleep problems compared to day milk. It says that night milk has sedative properties that may help reduce the excitability of the central nervous system, thus reducing anxiety and inducing better sleep. Also, Try helps in the production of melatonin and serotonin that lower anxiety in the body. 
4. Relaxes muscles
A study talks about the anxiolytic or muscle-relaxing effects of milk. It says that consuming milk during the nighttime can help relax the muscles and promote sleep. When the muscles are relaxed or get relieved of tension, the stress hormones such as cortisol reduces, which in turn, helps calm the mind and the body and induces sleep. 
5. Improves problems related to falling asleep
A study finding talks about how a combination of exercise and milk can help improve symptoms of DIS or difficulty initiating sleep (DIS) in older adults. With age, the levels of melatonin and serotonin decrease in the body, causing difficulties in falling asleep. This may lead to various types of sleep problems such as insomnia. Milk can help improve the symptoms due to the presence of Try, a precursor of melatonin and serotonin and promote early sleep. 
6. Helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle
Certain foods like milk and its products may help regulate the sleep-wake cycle or circadian cycle of the body and induce better sleep. Milk contains butanoic acid which is linked with a reduced likelihood of sleep problems. Also, the antioxidant minerals in milk such as selenium, calcium and magnesium are great inducer-of sleep and improve sleep quality. 
7. Prevents chronic insomnia
Insomnia, a common sleep disorder is prevalent in around 10%-30% of the population, some even as high as 50%-60%. A study says how some functional foods like milk can help promote sleep due to the presence of GABA, calcium, potassium and melatonin. These compounds are ideal for sleep promotion and preventing the risk of sleep disorders like chronic insomnia or restless leg syndrome. 
Are There Any Side Effects?
Though milk, especially warm milk, is a great sleep-inducer, it could have some side effects such as:
- It may not benefit individuals with lactose intolerance or those allergic to milk proteins. For them, herbal teas such as chamomile can be beneficial.
- Though regular consumption of milk during the nighttime is less likely to cause weight gain, some studies do say that late-night snacking can help cause weight gain in some individuals.
- Diabetics should avoid adding any kind of sugar or milk products like Horlicks as it may cause an increase in glucose levels. It is better to consult a medical expert before including milk in the daily diet.
Sleep-related disorders are major health issues and milk alone is not considered to be effective to prevent or manage these conditions. Therefore, it is good to combine it with nighttime exercise for better results. Also, avoid consuming milk in excess to deal with sleeping problems as it may cause adverse reactions.
Yes, drinking milk before sleep is actually a great bedtime practice to help promote faster sleep, improve sleep quality and deal with sleeping disorders such as insomnia and restless leg syndrome. However, avoid it if you are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk proteins. Also, avoid adding any sugar alternatives to milk.
Yes, milk contains a vital compound tryptophan which gets converted into melatonin and serotonin in the body. These two enzymes may help relax the muscles, reduce anxiety and include better sleep. It may also help regulate the sleep-wake cycle (circadian cycle) and prevent sleep problems like insomnia.
When milk is consumed, a compound tryptophan (an amino acid) in it may help promote sleep due to its sedative, muscle-relaxant and anti-anxiety properties. Milk also contains vital minerals like potassium, selenium, calcium and magnesium that helps with good sleep quality and lower rates of sleep problems.