Many people find that drinking a glass of warm almond milk before bed helps them fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. Almond milk contains nutrients like tryptophan, magnesium, and calcium that promote relaxation and reduce sleep disruptions. Determining the best time to drink almond milk depends on your personal sleep patterns and preferences. Here is a quick overview of how almond milk can aid sleep and when you should drink it for maximum benefit.
How Almond Milk Promotes Sleep
Almond milk contains a few key ingredients that make it a useful sleep aid:
Tryptophan is an amino acid that the body uses to produce melatonin and serotonin, two hormones that regulate sleep. Melatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles while serotonin has a calming effect. The tryptophan in almond milk may boost the levels of these hormones to make it easier to fall and stay asleep.
Almond milk is a good source of magnesium. Magnesium promotes GABA function in the brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that has a tranquilizing effect and reduces brain activity to make it easier to relax and fall asleep. Magnesium also helps muscles relax.
The calcium in almond milk may also contribute to better sleep. Calcium helps your brain use the tryptophan to manufacture melatonin. This essential sleep hormone regulates your circadian rhythm so you feel sleepy at night.
What Time Should You Drink Almond Milk for Sleep?
Since almond milk makes you feel relaxed and sleepy, the timing matters for using it as a sleep aid. Here are some tips on when to drink almond milk to improve sleep:
30-60 Minutes Before Bed
Drinking a glass of warm almond milk 30-60 minutes before going to sleep gives the ingredients time to start taking effect as you unwind for bed. The tryptophan can increase melatonin and serotonin levels while the magnesium promotes muscle relaxation. Aim to finish drinking the milk at least half an hour before lying down so it has time to digest slightly before sleep.
Having a cup of almond milk after dinner can induce sleepiness a few hours later when it’s time for bed. The nutrients will metabolize over the course of the evening. Time the after-dinner almond milk so the effects kick in as your target bedtime approaches.
Some people meditate before bed to relax and wind down for sleep. Drinking almond milk before your meditation session can amplify the relaxing effects and make it easier to fall asleep afterward. The tryptophan, melatonin, and magnesium will create a tranquil environment in your body and mind for effective meditation.
During Middle of the Night Wakings
If you wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back asleep, warm almond milk can help induce drowsiness. The nutrients will make you feel sleepy again so you can more easily drift off to sleep. For middle of the night wakings, keep a shelf-stable carton on your nightstand to drink when you are awake.
How Much Almond Milk to Drink for Sleep
To get enough of the sleep-promoting nutrients, aim for 8-12 ounces or about 1-1 1/2 cups of almond milk. This amount contains roughly 80-100mg of calcium, 24-32mg of magnesium, and 250-500mg of tryptophan. The tryptophan especially is important since you need adequate levels for the conversion into serotonin and melatonin.
You can adjust the amount up or down based on your body size, sleep needs, and how strong the drowsiness effect feels. Pay attention to how you feel after drinking the almond milk and increase or decrease the quantity if needed.
Warm vs Cold Almond Milk
Drinking almond milk warm instead of cold can provide extra relaxation and sleepiness. Studies suggest warm milk is more effective at inducing sleep than cold milk.
Here are a few reasons warm almond milk makes a better sleep aid:
– The warmth is comforting and soothing which relaxes your body for sleep.
– It does not lower your core body temperature like drinking a cold beverage. Your body temperature dropping can actually disrupt sleep.
– Warm milk contains higher levels of tryptophan. Heat causes some of the proteins in milk to denature, releasing extra tryptophan.
– The cozy feeling of holding a warm cup is calming and signals your brain that it’s time to sleep.
If you want maximum sleep benefits from your almond milk, heat it to at least 110-120°F. You can heat it on the stovetop, microwave, or use an electric milk warmer. Just be careful not to boil or overheat almond milk since high temperatures can destroy nutrients.
Should You Add Cinnamon or Honey?
To make almond milk even more sleep-promoting, consider adding cinnamon, honey or both. These ingredients provide extra relaxation and drowsiness benefits.
Cinnamon contains essential oils that have a sedating effect on the body. Having a bit of cinnamon in your almond milk can amplify the sleep-inducing effects. Try adding 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and letting it steep for 10 minutes before drinking.
Honey raises insulin slightly which enables tryptophan to enter the brain more easily. The extra tryptophan then boosts serotonin and melatonin levels. Stir in 1-2 teaspoons of honey to get these added benefits.
Is Almond Milk with Turmeric Good for Sleep?
Many people enjoy golden milk at night which is made with turmeric, ginger and coconut or almond milk. The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric can provide several sleep benefits:
– Reduces pain and aches that interfere with sleep
– Relaxes muscles and joints so you feel less tension
– Lessens anxiety and depression that disrupt sleep
– Contains compounds that induce drowsiness
– Promotes overall health so you sleep more soundly
Adding around 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to warmed almond milk makes an excellent sleep-enhancing drink. The almond milk provides tryptophan while the turmeric offers anti-inflammatory and relaxing effects. Ginger also pairs well with turmeric and can relieve digestive issues that keep you awake.
Almond Milk vs. Cow’s Milk for Sleep – Which is Better?
Both cow’s milk and almond milk contain compounds that aid sleep, but is one more effective? Here is a comparison of the pros and cons of each:
- Higher in tryptophan
- Contains melatonin
- More calcium for melatonin production
- Familiar comfort drink for many people
- Allergies and lactose intolerance common
- Higher calories and carbs than almond milk
- Not vegan
- Lower calories and carbs for weight management
- Dairy-free and vegan
- Contains magnesium and calcium
- Most people tolerate it well
- Less tryptophan than cow’s milk
- Does not contain melatonin
- Usually less calcium than cow’s milk
Overall both milks can promote sleep thanks to their tryptophan, calcium, and other nutrients. Almond milk makes a good option for those avoiding dairy while cow’s milk may work better for some people due to the higher tryptophan and melatonin content.
Should You Drink Almond Milk Every Night for Sleep?
Drinking almond milk every night before bed can be an effective way to improve your sleep quality. The compounds like tryptophan, magnesium, and calcium will build up in your system and promote better sleep on a nightly basis.
However, your body can develop a tolerance to the effects of almond milk when consumed daily. You may notice it becomes less effective over time if used as a daily sleep aid.
To prevent this tolerance, consider alternating almond milk with other sleep-supporting drinks. Here are a few options to rotate with your almond milk:
– Chamomile tea
– Tart cherry juice
– Valerian root tea
– Magnesium supplement drinks
– Golden milk with turmeric
Switching up your evening drink will keep your body responding better to almond milk when you do use it. The various compounds and forms of delivery will provide more targeted support for quality sleep.
Tips for Making Almond Milk More Effective for Sleep
Here are some additional tips to get the most sleep benefits from your nightly almond milk:
Add calming spices:
Flavor your almond milk with relaxing spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or vanilla.
Use calcium-fortified milk:
Choose an almond milk fortified with extra calcium to support melatonin production.
Avoid added sugar:
The sugar in flavored or sweetened almond milks can disrupt sleep. Stick to unsweetened.
Make a latte:
For extra tryptophan, add a shot of espresso to your heated almond milk.
Read a book while drinking:
Sip your almond milk while reading a book to relax before bed.
Have it after a bath:
Pair your almond milk with a warm, soothing bath to compound relaxation.
Diffuse lavender oil:
Lavender oil aromatherapy enhances the tranquilizing effects.
Listen to calming music:
Drink your almond milk while listening to soft, peaceful music before bed.
Potential Side Effects of Almond Milk for Sleep
Almond milk is generally very safe when consumed occasionally as a sleep aid. But there are a few potential side effects to be aware of:
– Allergies – Some people are allergic to almonds and need to avoid almond milk.
– Bloating or cramping – Too much almond milk could cause temporary stomach upset.
– Tooth decay – The sugars in sweetened almond milk may harm tooth enamel. Always brush after.
– Food interactions – Almond milk can inhibit iron and thyroid hormone absorption in some scenarios.
– Almond milk “hangover” – Drinking a large amount very close to bedtime can cause grogginess in the morning.
As long as you drink unsweetened almond milk in moderation and give yourself time to digest it before sleep, it is unlikely you will experience any negative side effects. But be careful not to overdo it.
Who Should Avoid Almond Milk as a Sleep Aid?
While almond milk is an excellent sleep promoter for most people, certain individuals should use caution or avoid it:
– Children – Almond milk is not recommended for children under 2 years old due to nutrition concerns. Always ask your pediatrician before giving it to young children to aid sleep.
– Pregnancy – Clear almond milk with your OBGYN before using it as a sleep remedy during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
– Allergies – Anyone allergic to almonds or tree nuts should avoid almond milk entirely due to potential anaphylaxis risks.
– GERD – Almond milk can aggravate acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms in some people as it relaxes the esophageal sphincter.
– Medical conditions – If you have a condition that requires limiting calcium, potassium or phosphorus, check with your doctor before using almond milk.
– Medications – Almond milk could interact with some medications like thyroid hormones, lithium and certain antibiotics. Always check for interactions.
For most adults, almond milk is a safe, gentle way to encourage sleepiness before bed. But consult your doctor if you have any concerns.
Drinking a warm glass of almond milk before bedtime is an excellent way to promote relaxation and fall asleep faster. The nutrients in almond milk like tryptophan, magnesium, and calcium all support production of melatonin and serotonin to regulate your sleep cycle. For best results, drink your almond milk about 30-60 minutes before lying down. Aim for 1-1 1/2 cups heated to 110-120°F with added cinnamon, turmeric or honey to maximize effects. While almond milk is very safe for adults, children, pregnant women and people with certain allergies or conditions should use caution or avoid it. When used properly, almond milk is a tasty, effective sleep aid to help you unwind before bed.