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Drinking Milk Before Bed: How It Affects the Sleep

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Update: June 7, 2023
5 min read

Written by

Manya Mishra
Content Writer
Illustration Of Women Drinking Milk

A large percentage of people across the globe suffer from the adverse health effects of not getting enough sleep. Hence, it is not surprising that people today seek effective solutions to overcome this problem. While some people rely on medication, others prefer traditional solutions like drinking milk before bed. This article details the benefits of drinking milk before bed and the best ways to consume milk. 

How Does Milk Help With Improving Sleep Quality

Consuming warm milk before bed has long been considered an effective way to promote a good night’s sleep. Most people experience a sense of warmth spreading through their bodies after consuming warm milk, which makes them feel drowsy. The sleep-promoting quality of milk results from its following key components. 


Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that promotes the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is vital in reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation, slowing down brain activity, and enabling you to sleep. It also acts as the precursor for producing the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Every quart of milk contains 732 milligrams of tryptophan, so drinking warm milk before bed makes it easier for people to fall asleep. 


Milk also contains melatonin, a hormone responsible for controlling the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin regulates the body’s natural circadian rhythm making it easier for people to fall asleep. The melatonin levels in the body increase after the sun sets and reach the highest levels in the early morning. Drinking milk before bed boosts melatonin production and helps improve the quality and hours of sleep.


One of the major benefits of drinking milk before bed is that it makes people feel full through the night. The high amount of protein in milk helps prevent late-night hunger pangs. Which further promotes weight loss by eliminating the need for unhealthy snacking. It also helps improve digestion and metabolism, which in turn have a positive impact on the depth and duration of sleep.

Cold Vs Warm Milk: Which Is Better For Sleep

While most people know the benefits of drinking milk at night, they often feel confused about whether they should drink it cold or warm. There is no scientific evidence suggesting what temperature of the milk impacts the ability to promote sleep. However, most people believe that drinking cold milk makes them feel energetic and wakeful. On the other hand, warm milk has a calming effect on the nervous system, which generally relaxes an individual’s body and mind and thus helps induce a relaxing sleep. Ultimately, it is a matter of individuals’ preference about whether they like to consume a glass of milk cold or warm before bed. 

Pros Of Drinking Milk Before Bed

Milk is packed with various essential nutrients and minerals, which is why it is often considered a complete diet. Below are some benefits of drinking milk before bed.  

Builds Healthy Bones

Milk contains significant amounts of vitamin D, which the body needs to absorb calcium to develop strong bones. Milk can therefore help the body recover itself and replenish any vitamin D levels that have been decreased. Additionally, disorders like osteoporosis, often known as the “brittle bone” condition, heart disease, and diabetes can all be prevented or treated with vitamin D.

Improves Skin

Milk consumption at night can have various positive effects on the skin. Regular milk consumption might help skin look younger. Milk contains vitamin B12, which can prevent the deterioration of collagen and suppleness in the skin, giving it a lovely glow. Milk’s vitamin A content may support the growth of new skin cells and aid in treating many skin conditions, leaving the skin smooth and beautiful.

Lowers Cholesterol Levels

Low-fat or nonfat milk consumption can significantly reduce cholesterol levels. Cow’s milk is an excellent source of calcium, vitamins A and D, and other nutrients that are good for your heart.

Prevents and Helps Cure Cold

Drinking warm milk with a dash of turmeric at night can be an effective natural cure for cold and cough symptoms. In addition, turmeric milk has antibacterial and antioxidant characteristics that help speed up healing and possibly stop an illness from developing.

Cons Of Drinking Milk Before Bed

While drinking milk before bed offers various health benefits, it can also have drawbacks.

Lactose Intolerance

People who are lactose intolerant might face body discomfort after consuming milk. They might experience digestive problems such as bloating, gas, cramps, and even diarrhoea, thus making them lose sleep.

Weight Gain

The problem of drinking milk before bed weight gain is genuine, especially among people habitual of drinking milk with high-fat content. This is because the slower metabolism rate during the night prevents proper digestion leading to an increase in weight. However, it also depends on your overall calorie intake.

Hamper Liver Functioning

Drinking milk before bed can hamper the smooth functioning of the liver. This prevents the efficient detoxification of junk from the body, which may lead to unwanted weight gain, increase the risk of infections, and have other adverse health impacts. 

What Can I Drink If I Am Lactose Intolerant

People suffering from lactose intolerance are deprived of the health benefits of drinking cold milk before bed or even consuming it warmly. The good news is that such people can choose from other equally healthy milk types. The most common of these milk variants include the following. 

Soy Milk

This oldest milk alternative has an almost similar nutrient content and consistency of a cow’s milk. It is a rich source of minerals like thiamine, magnesium, and riboflavin and is generally preferred for its exceptionally high protein content. Consumers can choose from different flavours available in fat-free and low-fat versions.

Almond Milk

Drinking almond milk before bed offers a wide range of health benefits, making it a great alternative to cow’s milk. Its naturally pleasant taste makes it a favourite nighttime beverage for people with a sweet tooth. Even though almond milk does not have a high protein content, it is packed with minerals like magnesium, potassium, manganese, and copper. Almond milk is also a rich source of Vitamin E, selenium, and calcium that help to boost bone health.

Oat Milk

Another great alternative to cow’s milk is oat milk, known for its mild taste and light texture. Packed with the goodness of vitamin E, folic acid, and other trace elements and minerals, especially calcium. Oat milk makes for a nourishing nighttime drink, especially for lactose intolerant individuals. 


If you are wondering why does milk make you sleepy, the answer lies in the fact that it is made up of components that help promote sleep. This makes it an excellent choice for people struggling with sleep issues. In addition, being aware of the benefits and drawbacks of drinking milk before bed can help people improve the quality and quantity of their sleep.


How many hours before bed should I drink milk?

You should always consume milk 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed. This helps digest milk and avoid any digestion issues.

Will I gain weight if I drink milk before sleeping?

Drinking a glass of milk before bed is not likely to cause significant weight changes as long as it does not contribute to significant increases in your daily calorie intake. Hence, you should consider focusing on your overall calorie intake if you want to keep your weight under control.

What are the side effects of drinking milk at night?

It is noted that drinking milk at night can lead to digestive issues, risk of weight gain (depending on your calorie intake), and prevent detoxification of junk from the body.


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Written by

Manya Mishra
Content Writer
Bachelor's Degree in English Literature 7 years of experience as a content writer Has experience writing for various industries, including health and wellness, travel, and technology

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