I’ve had a horrendous time sleeping over the last couple of months while traveling around the world, so of course I’ve been spending hours researching and even more time trialing different sleep remedies to help me go to sleep.
Apart from the obvious daily tiredness and irritability that comes along with chronic lack of sleep, I’ve also noticed that is has made me more emotional than usual, hungrier for bad foods (sugar and carbs), I’ve lost that nice healthy glow to my skin, and my skin is tending to get clogged up and break out a little more. Yes, sleep is very, very important.
Insomnia seems to fall under two categories – trouble getting to sleep from lack of being tired, and trouble getting to sleep from emotional disturbances such as anxiety and depression. It’s important to recognize the difference in the two because treating the wrong type won’t help alleviate your problem.
I kind of had both. I started off with trouble getting to sleep from jet lag after a flight to Glasgow. In less than a week my jet lag was gone but I was left with anxiety – I was scared that I would always have difficulty sleeping. This panic feeling at night made it a lot more difficult for me to fall asleep (sometimes our brain just thinks dumb things).
A mug of warm milk before bed can really help
I was told by a couple of people to try drinking a glass of warm milk before I went to bed to help me sleep. I always thought this was an old wives tale until I tried it and it kind of worked, and then I jumped on Google and was suprised to find a scientific reason as to why it worked.
Milk is a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid that your body converts to melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin being the hormone in your body that tells you to sleep, and serotonin being the hormone that keeps you relaxed and happy.
But while tryprophan can help you get to sleep, having too much tryprophan in your body can in fact give you a disturbed sleep so you don’t want to take a supplement. Drinking milk or eating tryprophan rich foods is a much better alternative.
Personally I also find a mug of warm milk to be so sweet and warming and comforting so perfect to get me into the mood to go to sleep. Simply the routine of having this comforting food before bedtime helps remedy a broken sleeping pattern in itself.
And for all you raw foodists and vegans out there, you don’t need to drink milk to get your tryprophan. You can eat oats, bananas and peanuts instead.
And I realize that a lot of you have cut dairy out of your diet for your skin. I personally feel that having eight hours of sleep every night will do better for your skin than avoiding dairy, but if you want to stick to your plan you can also eat the other tryptophan rich foods instead of drinking milk.
So did it work for me? Yes and no. The first couple of times I tried warm milk it worked beautifully, but my insomnia wasn’t too bad at the time. If you’re having trouble getting tired then warm milk is certainly something I recommend you try.
If however your insomnia is caused by anxiety or depression, I personally don’t think warm milk will help much at all. When I was jet lagged with a head cold and a little anxious about my sleep, milk didn’t seem to make a difference.