Moon Milk Benefits For Sleep (Plus 3 Recipes)

Have you heard of Moon Milk?

This latest health trend is supposed to help you fall asleep fast and stay asleep all night long, but does it really work?

Read below to find out what Moon Milk is, how it works, and why it may become your new favorite nighttime beverage.

Plus, find 3 easy recipes at the end of this article to get you started!

What is Moon Milk?

I bet you’ve had Moon Milk before, but possibly not since grade school.

Moon Milk, as exotic as it sounds, is basically warmed milk with a few extras added in. While you may not have had warm milk while snuggled in bed since you were a kid, this drink might be your new favorite way to end the day.

There’s no one recipe for this celestial drink – simply choose your favorite milk and add herbs, spices and sweeteners. If you’re feeling fancy, you can sprinkle the top with edible flowers or gold leaf.

Moon Milk exploded into popularity in 2017, but this cozy beverage is nothing new. Its roots are in Ayurvedic Medicine, which can be traced back over 2000 years.

Does Moon Milk Help You Sleep?

Modern science proves that warm milk before bed can have some benefits.

Moon Milk is typically made with cow’s milk which contains the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is well known to cause sleepiness, as anyone who has eaten too much turkey will know all too well.

Tryptophan can be converted into serotonin in the body, a neurotransmitter that is known to promote happiness and wellbeing. Serotonin can then be converted to melatonin, another neurotransmitter that many people take to combat insomnia.

Melatonin can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Cow’s milk also contains some magnesium, an important mineral to the sleep cycle. Many people have low levels of this mineral. Adding Moon Milk to your nightly routine will increase your magnesium levels which can help you fall asleep more easily.

Cow’s milk is also a good source of carbohydrates. Consuming carbohydrates at night can help you fall asleep because they make tryptophan work better. And remember, tryptophan turns into melatonin – the neurotransmitter that helps you sleep.

If you’re lactose-intolerant, fear not! Moon Milk can easily be made with dairy-free milks like soy, almond, and coconut.

While you won’t get the benefits of tryptophan or magnesium from dairy-free milk, you can still get the benefits of the herbs and spices commonly added to this night-time drink. These herbs and spices are often called adaptogens which have benefits against nightmares and anxiety.

What Are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are natural herbs and spices that are supposed to counteract the harmful effects of stress, including insomnia and trouble falling asleep.

They work on the adrenals, which are the two glands that sit on top of each of your kidneys. These glands are known for producing stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.

Some popular adaptogens that can be added to Moon Milk are:

  • Chamomile -This flower has been studied for its sedative effects. It can be a great choice if you have trouble falling asleep initially. Chamomile can also counteract the effects of stress like worrying and anxious thoughts.
  • Ashwagandha -This herb is a well-known, well-studied adaptogen that promotes calmness, reduces anxiety, and supports the immune system. It works best when used daily and is a great addition to your Moon Milk concoction.
  • Turmeric – Although not well-studied for its effects on sleep, turmeric can act to reduce anxiety. Curcumin, the compound present in Turmeric, is responsible for these anti-anxiety effects.
  • Lavender – This fragrant flower has been shown to have anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects and can be incredibly calming. While you can certainly drink lavender, most of the benefits come from inhaling its vapors – so make sure to take a deep whiff before each sip!
  • Tart Cherry – Tart cherry juice can greatly improve insomnia and reduce the amount of times you wake up in the middle of the night. This juice can be bought in concentrated form and should be purchased unsweetened.
  • Reishi -This mushroom powder is often added to Moon Milk for its claims to boost immunity and prevent cancer, among other things. Unfortunately, this mushroom has not been well-studied in humans, so it’s uncertain whether it really does the amazing things it’s supposed to.
  • Cinnamon – It has not been studied for how it affects sleep, it can still make a lovely addition to your Moon Milk. This cozy spice pairs well with clove and can be a warm, comforting touch to round out your warm drink.

How Do You Make it?

While there’s no one recipe for Moon Milk, it can be daunting to try to put together your own blend until you get the hang of it.

Here are three delicious recipes to get you started! Simply warm your milk on the stove (be careful not to scald it), pour it into your favorite mug, and mix in the herbs, spices, and sweeteners below.

Then cuddle up with your favorite book and sip yourself into a deep, restful sleep!

Cherry Moon Milk

  • 8 oz milk of your choice
  • 2 oz tart cherry juice concentrate
  • ½ tsp honey
  • ½ tsp ashwagandha powder

Golden Moon Milk

  • 8 oz milk of your choice
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp ashwagandha powder
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp ghee

Chamomile Lavender Moon Milk

  • 8 oz milk of your choice
  • 1 tsp dried lavender
  • 1 tsp dried chamomile
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

Takeaway Notes

  • Moon Milk is a warmed milk beverage with herbs, spices, and sweeteners added.
  • Moon Milk works because of the adaptogens used. Adaptogens are herbs and spices that combat the effects of stress.
  • There is no one recipe for Moon Milk, but common ingredients include Ashwagandha, lavender, and tart cherry juice.
Kelli Yates
Kelli Yates
Kelli Yates is a health and nutrition writer, dietetics student, and co-host and creator of The Nutrition Nerds Podcast. In her spare time she teaches the free class Well-Fed Survival: Eating Healthy After A Disaster, which helps people build nutritious emergency food supplies and prepare for natural disasters.
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