You’ve heard of Golden Milk, but have you heard of Moon Milk? This nourishing and rejuvenating herbal tonic will help you feel resourced and restore your inner and outer glow.
Why Milk Helps You Sleep
That hot cup of milk your grandmother gave you before bed may have been a powerful sleep aid after all.
Researchers have found that when bioactive peptides in milk are taken before bed, they can lower cortisol and support healthy sleep cycles.5
Mothers’ milk also has a significant number of bioactive peptides that support a deeper, more restful and rejuvenating sleep and quell sleep-disturbing anxiety and stress in babies. Plus, studies show that newborns given extra milk, beyond being nursed and held, slept better.4
In a study on adults, 48 volunteers were either given a milk product or placebo before bed for four weeks. The milk group reported better sleep quality, improved daytime functioning, and more stable moods compared to the placebo group. In addition, the milk group saw a significant rise in total sleep time, improved sleep efficiency, and decreased sleep latency and wake after sleep onset.4
Certain peptides, or proteins, in raw milk have been shown to activate the brain’s GABA receptors.5 Drugs that activate GABA receptors are known as benzodiazepines and are widely used as sedatives for stress, anxiety, and sleep.
In another study on the sleep benefits of milk, 32 healthy men were given just 150 mg of milk proteins, and in just two weeks their sleep quality improved by 50%.6,7
- In Europe, the benefits of drinking milk before bed are widely known and well-researched. In a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 63 women who were complaining of a host of stress-related problems, such as worry, sleep concerns, or fatigue, were given 150 mg of the milk proteins alpha (s1)-casein hydrolysate before bed for 30 days. The benefits ranged from 50 to 60% improvement in stress-related health concerns.8
Keep reading to learn why you need better and sleep and how to access it with a delicious Ayurvedic Moon Milk Recipe for Better Sleep!
The Health Risks of Poor Sleep
Studies report a staggering 30-48% of people suffer from disturbed or interrupted sleep, and as high as 31% of the population has a form of sleep apnea.1,2,5 While having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep is a more concerning issues, not getting enough sleep is also a growing health concern. In one study, published in the journal Sleep Medicine, researchers found that 20% of 25- to 45-year-olds slept 90 minutes less then they needed to in order to maintain good health.1
According to a 2001 poll, 38% of Americans received a solid eight hours of sleep. In 2009, that number was reduced to just 28%.11 Sleep is so important for good health that one landmark study linked getting seven to eight hours of regular sleep each night to a reduction in mortality from all causes.10
The health risks of not enough, poor, or interrupted sleep are wide-ranging and include fatal accidents, heart-related issues, weakened immunity, blood sugar issues, weight and metabolic concerns, cognitive decline, and emotional highs and lows.2,3,12
When the body is chronically denied sleep, stress hormones such as cortisol steadily rise, which delay sleep. We evolved to boost stress when being chased by a lion, tiger, or bear, but today’s stress levels are 24/7, with little end in sight for many folks. Such chronic stress has a direct impact on sleep. Experts link rising stress levels and elevated cortisol (a hormone released in response to stress) to the rapidly increasing rate of insomnia. The problem is compounded when the lack of sleep causes more stress, which again raises cortisol levels, which further disturbs sleep patterns.2,3
The Story of Moon Milk
Grandma’s suggestion of milk before bed so you could sleep better was scientifically validated for the first time in the 1930s, when milk and cornflakes were shown to deliver a better night’s sleep. But drinking hot milk before bed has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine for benefits that reach well beyond sleep. Albeit much different from today’s chronic stress levels, stress was still a health issue even back then.
According to Ayurveda, chronic or excessive stress would deplete a precious substance in the body called ojas. Ojas is said to be the physiological expression of consciousness, in charge of immunity, reproduction, beauty, and the overall health and wellbeing of an individual.
Ojas takes 30 days to be manufactured in the body, and is the result of numerous enzymatic actions that start with digesting food into lymph, blood, muscle, fat, bone, nerve, and reproductive tissues. Once these tissues are successfully made and deemed healthy by the body, the final product, or essence, called ojas, is produced.
When ojas is depleted, either from stress, lack of sleep, bad food, poor digestion, or excessive activity or inactivity, the body breaks down fast. Folks with depleted ojas are exhausted, can’t sleep, have no sexual desire, have dry wrinkled skin, stiff joints, and accelerated experience aging and disease.
In Ayurveda, there are certain foods and herbs that build ojas, and it all starts with milk. Now, I realize milk is a controversial substance, but nonetheless, it has well-documented properties to mitigate numerous stress markers, support sleep, and build ojas. Fortunately, most alternative milks that are free of additives and preservative, including almond and coconut milk, are also ojas builders.
The major problem with today’s cow milk is that it is very difficult to digest. Here’s why:
- It has added hormones, chemicals, and antibiotics
- It is unnecessary homogenized
- It goes through the wrong type of pasteurization
Most healthy grocery stores do sell non-homogenized, vat-pasteurized, and chemical-, antibiotic-, and hormone-free milk. Raw milk may be even better, but is often illegal to sell and buy, or hard to find. Vat pasteurization is a slow and safe heating process at lower temperatures (135 degrees for 20 minutes) that doesn’t damage milk proteins. Many who consider themselves lactose intolerant can enjoy milk once again if the milk is not commercially processed and they have strong digestion.
Recommended: Stop Eating Dairy Until You Read This Report.
LifeSpa’s Moon Milk Recipe
To boost ojas and gain the predicted benefits of sleep, ojas-producing foods and herbs were cooked into the milk before bed. This is about as yummy of a drink as you will ever have.
During my Ayurvedic training in India, I was taught how to make ojas milk using a selection of ojas-building herbs and spices steeped in hot milk. This recipe was used for folks who were fatigued, had difficulty sleeping, compromised immunity, and were run down or aging in general. It was also used to help women recover from childbirth or from any extremely depleting event.
I originally posted this article in 2011 and shortly after it was published, one of my Ayurvedic herb suppliers called me up and thanked me. He told me that it was the exact same recipe his grandmother used to make for him as a child in India. As a gift, he sent me a container of the ojas milk itself. It was such a hit at my office and home thatI asked him if he would make larger quantities to offer as a sleep supplement and that is how our Ojas Nightly Tonic was born!
Original Moon Milk Recipe
1. Add small amounts of these to one cup of cow, almond, coconut or other alternative milk as you slowly bring it to a boil:
1 tbsp chopped dates
2 tsp chopped almonds
1 tbsp coconut meat or flakes
1/2 tsp saffron
1-2 tsp ghee
1/8 tsp cardamom
2. Add ojas-building herbs to the milk (1/8 tsp or one 500mg capsule of each):
Add turmeric to create a variation of Golden Milk for deeper immune support.
Or use LifeSpa’s pre-mixed Ojas Nightly Tonic, which includes organic dates, organic almonds, organic coconut, organic cardamom, organic ashwagandha, organic shatavari, organic turmeric, and organic saffron.
3. Once the milk, herbs, and ojas-building foods and spices are cooked and off the flame, add ½1 tsp of ojas-building raw honey.
4. Drink one cup of the Moon Milk every morning, night, or both for three months to rebuild ojas levels, reproductive health and support healthy sleep.