Warm milk. Just the thought of it kinda makes you want to curl up and climb into bed, huh?
This, is warm milk supreme. My secret sleepy weapon. My ultimate stress-busting, warm-and-fuzzying, snooze-inducing favorite addition to my nighttime routine.
Sweet and caramely, rich and creamy, this milky concoction is sure to become a favorite in your family too once you try it!
Maple Vanilla Sleepy Milk
Makes about 2 1/2 cups; 3-5 servings.
- 2 cups whole, grass-fed milk (can substitute coconut milk)
- Splash of grass-fed cream (can omit if you’d prefer a less-rich/creamy taste)
- 2 T maple syrup
- 1 T organic blackstrap molasses
- 1/8 teaspoon real sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons grass-fed collagen hydrolysate gelatin*
Stir all ingredients together and heat at a low simmer until milk is warm, or as hot and steamy as you’d prefer.
Now, I think it’s probably ideal that you drink just a small amount of sleepy milk—so you don’t overdo it on the fluids and cause yourself to wake up having to go to the bathroom—and that you do it about an hour before bedtime so you can have a chance to pee before you’re actually in bed. I usually stick to only about a half-cup serving, myself. You can save whatever you and your family doesn’t drink up in the fridge to be reheated tomorrow night.
*A note about the gelatin
I recommend the collagen hydrolysate form of gelatin powder in this recipe, because it dissolves so easily in any type of liquid, hot or cold. It doesn’t gel when refrigerated, and doesn’t leave any kind of a film at the top of your cup as the milk cools. This is the kind that comes in the green can, seen here:
I find that with regular gelatin powder (the kind that gels that you use to make jello), it’s difficult to get it to dissolve in milk without overheating and curdling the milk. But, it is possible to make it work, in case this is the kind you already have on hand. This is the one I’m talking about, in the red canister:
To use this type of gelatin, take a half cup of the milk, while still cold, and pour it into a bowl, then sprinkle the spoonful of gelatin over it. Let it sit for a minute or so while the gelatin absorbs the moisture and transforms into something that looks like a little puddle of goo, but feels solid. Then, pour the hot milk mixture over it and stir it in until it dissolves.
Why This Works
It’s not just because of fond childhood memories of warm milk at bedtime that makes this milk so effective at putting you in the mood to snooze. Almost all the ingredients have secret sleepy powers! Check it out.
Nutritious dairy for balanced fats, proteins and carbohydrate
Grass-fed milk is about as perfect a food as it gets. Especially because it’s so perfectly balanced—between all three macronutrients. It’s always good to aim for balance in your meals and snacks, but especially before bedtime.
“A stress-reducing snack will include some carbohydrates, fats and protein. The combination is satisfying and provides the body with the different fuels and rebuilding materials it needs to get through the night without raising stress hormones to make up for what’s missing.”
from The Nourished Metabolism, by Elizabeth Walling
Milk and cream? Definitely fits the bill for this type of stress-reducing bedtime snack.
Calcium to fight insomnia
Grass-fed milk and cream are of course an excellent source of calcium, but did you know that this mineral is excellent for promoting sleep? Calcium is very pro-metabolic, reducing stress and decreasing levels of parathyroid hormone, which has been known to play a role in insomnia.
Coconut oil for a warming metabolic boost
Coconut oil is a metabolism-stoking superfood. It raises body temperature, and also stabilizes blood sugar. All good things for maintaining a good night’s sleep!
Natural sugars for glucose stability
The natural sugars in maple syrup, molasses, and the natural lactose sugar in milk, all help give your body a boost of glucose to help last you through the night without blood sugar crashes. When blood sugar gets too low, adrenaline will spike and seek out glycogen—a form of stored sugar—in the liver. And when that runs out, the stress response kicks into even higher gear, releasing cortisol to break down body tissue into proteins which the liver then has to convert to glucose to raise blood sugar back up to an acceptable level. This is all very stressful and taxing on the body—not to mention it can seriously disrupt your sleep!
To prevent it, and to help maintain blood sugar stability and keep the stress response from being activated in the middle of the night, it’s best to supply yourself with some fuel in the form of glucose before bed. This will help replenish your liver’s glycogen stores and keep things running smoothly.
Molasses for magnesium
Molasses is good for not only a wholesome source of sugar, but also many important vitamins and minerals. And one mineral in particular, is just what you need to get sleepy—magnesium! Molasses is one of best food sources of magnesium out there. Magnesium is a powerful anecdote to stress, and stimulates muscle relaxation. Insomnia is actually a common symptom of magnesium deficiency, so what better time to get an extra boost of the most potent relaxation mineral than at bedtime?
Sea salt for stress-busting
Salt is one of the best nutritional tools for shutting down stress hormones and boosting the metabolism. Your body goes through natural hormonal cycles, called circadian rhythms, in which a little preventative maintenance of stocking up on this important electrolyte can help to avoid sleep-disrupting stress hormone spikes.
“Circadian rhythms are the sequence of hormonal secretions that take place and repeat themselves about every 24 hours, give or take. For example, in a normal guy you should see testosterone and cortisol peaking in the morning, among other hormones. In the evening you would see cortisol bottoming out and melatonin and growth hormone rising. In the middle of the night adrenaline peaks, roughly around that 4am window.”
—Eat for Heat, Matt Stone
If you were wondering why you have a tendency to wake up at around 3 or 4 am, this is probably the reason! A nice, salty snack before bed can keep the flow of your hormonal rhythms on a much more even keel. Salt is thermogenic, pro-metabolic, and boosts feel-good chemicals in the body such as oxytocin, while stopping stress hormones from rising.
Gelatin for calming glycine
Gelatin is nature’s most perfect protein. Among its MANY benefits, are that it’s highly effective for promoting healthy sleep. Glycine, the primary amino acid in gelatin, is very pro-thyroid, pro-metabolic, and highly anti-inflammatory. It also stimulates the production of GABA, a calming amino acid, and acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter which promotes restful sleep. Sign me up!
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MEDICAL DISCLOSURE: Your health is between you and your health care practitioner. Nothing in this blog is intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader.