Home / Blog February 20, 2024

6 min read

Sip And Slumber: Should You Have Warm Milk Before Bed?

Sipping warm milk before bed is an age-old tradition. So in this blog, we talk about whether or not there is any relationship between milk and sleep. We unravel the science, dispel myths, and share additional practical tips on getting a restful night’s sleep

warm milk before bed


Tryptophan is the reason either cold milk or warm milk before bed helps you feel sleepy.

Other foods with this effect include cherries, almonds, bananas, and whole grains.

It also helps to create a calming bedtime routine, limit screen time, and take a warm bath. 

Did you know?
In Ayurveda, the traditional medicine system of India, it is believed that warm milk helps balance the doshas (biological energies) in the body, promoting a sense of calm and aiding in a peaceful night’s sleep!

Ancient remedies often hold a special place in the search for a good night’s slumber. Among these remedies, sipping warm milk before bed has become popular and lasted across generations. So, you may be wondering to yourself, “Does milk help you sleep?” Drawing insights from sleep experts, nutritionists, and scientific research, we discuss all-things milk and sleep in this blog.

Let’s dive in!

Are There Benefits Of Drinking Warm Milk Before Bed?

The short answer is… yes! While scientific evidence is somewhat limited, there are several reasons why warm milk helps some people sleep better:

1. Tryptophan Content: Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that your body uses to make proteins as well as hormones like serotonin and melatonin. These two are neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) involved in regulating sleep-wake cycles. Warm milk may increase the availability of tryptophan, promoting relaxation and sleepiness

2. Comforting Ritual: Drinking warm milk before bed can serve as a comforting bedtime ritual, signaling to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. This psychological association may help some people relax and fall asleep more easily. Having regular signals like this helps your body to regulate itself.

3. Hydration: Staying hydrated is important for overall health, and drinking warm milk can contribute to your fluid intake before bedtime. Adequate hydration helps prevent discomfort from dehydration during the night, potentially promoting better sleep quality.

4. Warmth: The warmth of the milk itself may have a soothing effect on the body, helping to relax muscles and induce a state of relaxation conducive to sleep.

5. Nutrient Content: Milk is a good source of several nutrients, including calcium, which plays a role in muscle relaxation and the production of sleep-inducing neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in your body). Additionally, milk contains other vitamins and minerals that may support overall health and well-being.

Your response to warm milk before bed can vary, of course. So while some sleepers may find it helpful, others may not experience any notable changes. Also, if you’re lactose intolerant or have any dairy allergies, then having milk may not be a good idea.

Next, let’s look at whether having cold milk instead could be helpful.

women sipping milk before sleeping

Is It Beneficial To Have Cold Milk At Night?

Having cold milk at night can also offer potential benefits, although they may differ slightly from those associated with warm milk:

Cooling Effect: Cold milk can have a refreshing and cooling effect, which some people may find soothing before bedtime, especially during warm weather or in hot climates

Digestive Comfort: For some people, especially those with sensitive stomachs or acid reflux, cold milk may offer relief by providing a soothing coating for the stomach lining, potentially reducing discomfort and promoting better sleep

Like warm milk, cold milk also serves as a good way to hydrate before bed while also providing nutrients like calcium, protein, and some vitamins. Overall, incorporating milk into your bedtime routine, whether warm or cold, can be a healthy habit as long as it aligns with your dietary preferences and any specific health considerations that you have

So in the next section, let’s see if there are any downsides to this practice.

Are There Disadvantages Of Drinking Milk Before Bed?

Here are potential factors to consider when deciding whether or not to regularly drink milk before sleeping:

1. Digestive Issues: Milk contains lactose, a type of sugar that some people have difficulty digesting. Additionally, fatty foods like milk can take longer to digest, potentially causing discomfort when lying down.

2. Allergies or Intolerances: Some people may have allergies to components in milk, such as lactose or milk proteins like casein or whey. Consuming milk before bed can trigger allergic reactions, ranging from mild symptoms like itching or hives to severe reactions like anaphylaxis in those with dairy allergies.

3. Acne: Dairy consumption has been associated with an increased risk of acne in some people, although the exact mechanisms are not fully understood. Hormones and growth factors naturally present in milk may contribute to the development of acne or exacerbate existing skin issues.

4. Potential Disruption of Sleep: While warm milk is often touted as a natural sleep aid due to its content of tryptophan and melatonin precursors, consuming liquids before bed can increase the likelihood of needing to urinate during the night. This may disrupt sleep patterns, especially for those who are sensitive to disruptions or have underlying conditions like overactive bladder.

Considering these factors, you should be mindful of your own tolerance to milk and its effects on your digestion, allergies, skin health, and sleep patterns when deciding whether to consume it before bedtime. Experimenting with alternative bedtime beverages or adjusting the timing and portion size of milk consumption may help mitigate any potential disadvantages.

Next, let’s look at what other dietary choices you have for improved sleep, other than milk.

Cotton Weighted Blanket

  2249 Reviews
Cotton Weighted Blanket cta

Dreamy, buttery softness

Calms body & mind for deeper sleep

Hand-knitted huggable comfort

It's Napper Time
Cotton Weighted Blanket cta

Cocoonable, couchworthy perfection

Sleep tips for restful nights

Unveil the secrets to restful sleep and join the Napperhood for a chance to win our perfect weighted blanket, the Cotton Napper. Get expert tips and insights delivered to your inbox.

Cotton Napper cta

Foods And Drinks For Better Sleep:

Several foods and drinks promote better sleep by containing compounds that support relaxation and the production of sleep-inducing hormones. Here are some options:

1. Cherries: Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Consuming tart cherry juice or whole cherries may help improve sleep quality and duration.

2. Bananas: Bananas contain magnesium and potassium, which help relax muscles and nerves. They also contain tryptophan, an amino acid precursor to serotonin and melatonin. So having a banana before bed is a great idea!

3. Almonds: Almonds are rich in magnesium, which can promote muscle relaxation and improve sleep quality. They also contain melatonin and tryptophan. One study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that a group that had sweet almonds before bed experienced a reduction in insomnia.

4. Herbal Teas: Chamomile tea, valerian root tea, and passionflower tea are known for their calming properties and may help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. There are several herbs that you can take for deep sleep, most of which we detailed in this blog.

5. Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a good source of complex carbohydrates that can increase the production of serotonin, promoting relaxation. Additionally, oatmeal contains melatonin (the sleep hormone).

6. Turkey: Turkey is rich in tryptophan, which can help increase serotonin levels and promote sleepiness. However, consuming a large meal close to bedtime may disrupt sleep, so it's best to consume turkey earlier in the evening.

7. Fatty Fish: Fatty fish like salmon, trout, and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to improved sleep quality. They also contain vitamin D, which may play a role in regulating sleep.

8. Kiwi: Kiwis are rich in antioxidants and serotonin, which help regulate sleep patterns and improve sleep quality. Consuming kiwi before bedtime has been associated with better sleep outcomes as well.

9. Whole Grains: Whole grains like barley, bulgur, and quinoa are good sources of magnesium and complex carbohydrates, which can promote relaxation and help regulate sleep.

Now that you have these food options in mind, let’s take a look at what other factors you need to consider for an even more holistic approach to your bedtime routine.

couple sleeping with bearaby queen blanket

Additional Holistic Tips For Better Sleep:

Here are some additional practices you can include in your bedtime routine to enhance relaxation and promote better sleep:

1. Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment: Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep by keeping it cool, dark, and quiet, and invest in comfortable bedding and pillows to create a cozy and inviting sleep environment. Consider using a weighted blanket like our Cotton Napper, known for providing a sense of security and promoting relaxation. The gentle pressure can have a calming effect and improve sleep quality significantly.

2. Incorporate Gentle Stretching Or Yoga: When you add these practices into your routine, they help with releasing tension that your body is holding from the day. Focus on relaxing poses that promote flexibility and ease muscle tightness, contributing to a more comfortable sleep. Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), a technique involving tensing and then gradually releasing different muscle groups. This helps release physical tension and induces a sense of calm.

3. Limit Screen Time: Reduce screen exposure at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Dim your lights, and try incorporating calming sounds or music into your routine - whether it’s soft instrumental music, nature sounds, or white noise, auditory cues can help create a serene atmosphere for sleep.

4. Warm Bath or Shower: Take a warm bath or shower to relax your muscles and prepare your body for sleep. The rise and subsequent fall in body temperature can signal your body that it’s time to wind down. Using calming scents such as lavender or chamomile through aromatherapy can also help soothe your body.

5. Limit Caffeine and Heavy Meals: Avoid consuming caffeine or heavy meals close to bedtime. Opt for a light snack if you’re hungry, and choose foods that promote relaxation, such as nuts, bananas, or whole grains. Food still digests while sleeping and that could prevent you from sleeping deeply.

By combining the calming properties of warm milk alongside other natural bedtime practices, you create a comprehensive routine that signals to your body and mind that it’s time to unwind and embrace restful sleep. Also, experiment with different elements to find the combination that works best for you.


The bedtime ritual of sipping warm milk is a timeless elixir, offering more than just its nutritional components. Whether you prefer the warmth of a bedtime mug or the refreshing coolness of a glass, the essence of this ritual extends beyond the scientific nuances. It’s about creating a comforting routine, signaling to the body that it’s time to take a journey to slumberland.