Drink This & Sleep Like a Baby .

Via on Jul 25, 2012

Babies and small children glow with ojas

That hot cup of milk your grandmother gave you before bed may have been a powerful sleep medicine after all.

While a staggering 30 percent of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia (1), few realize that chronic insomnia can increase the risk of most degenerative diseases (2).

Experts link rising stress levels and elevated cortisol (a hormone released in response to stress) to the rapidly increasing number of cases of insomnia. The problem is compounded when the lack of sleep causes more stress, which again raises cortisol levels, which further disturbs sleep patterns.

Researchers have found that when bioactive peptides in milk are taken before bed, the improvements in sleep are remarkable (3-5):

•    Promotes deeper sleep (3)
•    Supports more restorative sleep (3)
•    Induces relaxation at the level needed for sleep (4)
•    Supports anxiety that disturbs sleep (4)
•    Improves numerous stress markers (5)

Keep reading to learn how to get these benefits without the detriments of conventional milk—and learn a delicious Ayurvedic super sleep recipe!

Ancient Remedy (Validated by Science)

Grandma’s hot milk before bed was scientifically validated for the first time back in the 1930s when milk and cornflakes were shown to deliver a better night’s sleep. In 1997, research done on newborns demonstrated that infants given milk had improved sleep beyond the benefits of nursing and being held.

The benefits of hot milk before bed was not only an Ayurvedic sleep remedy. In Europe, the benefits were widely known and well researched. Certain peptides, or proteins, in milk have been shown to activate the brain’s GABA receptors (4).

Drugs that activate GABA receptors are known as benzodiazepines and are widely used as sedatives for stress, anxiety and sleep (6).

In one study, 32 healthy men were given just 150 mg of these milk proteins, and in just two weeks their sleep quality improved by 50 percent (7).

In another study, over 60 women who were complaining of a host of stress-related problems, such as digestion, cardiovascular, emotional, cognitive and social disorders, were given 150 mg of the milk proteins before bed. The benefits ranged from 50 to 60 percent improvement in all of the disorders listed (8).

The Deadly Effects of Chronic Insomnia

When the body is chronically denied sleep, stress hormones, like cortisol, steadily rise. We evolved to boost stress when being chased by a lion, tiger or bear, which hopefully ended quickly when one found safety.

Today’s stress levels are 24/7, with little end in sight for many folks. Such chronic stress has a direct impact on sleep. According to a 2001 scientific poll, 38 percent of Americans received a solid eight hours of sleep. In 2009, that number was reduced to just 28 percent.

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 (9).

What’s worse is that people suffering from chronic insomnia were also shown to be at risk for numerous health disorders such as:

•    Anxiety and depression (10)
•    Cancer (10)
•    Impaired cognitive function (10)
•    Metabolic Syndrome (10)
•    Cardiovascular disease (10)
•    Diabetes (10)
•    Impaired insulin action (10)
•    Impaired glucose control (10)
•    Increased body mass index (10)
•    Elevated C-reactive protein (10)
•    Elevated cortisol levels (10)
•    Elevated blood pressure (10)

Ayurveda’s Super Sleep Recipe

Drinking hot milk before bed has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine for benefits that reached 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 well-being of the individual.

Ojas takes 30 days to be manufactured in the body, and is the result of numerous enzymatic actions that start with the digesting of food into the body’s 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, of all these tissues—ojas—is produced.

When ojas is depleted, either from stress, lack of sleep, bad food, poor digestion, 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, accelerated aging and are predisposed to disease.

In Ayurveda, there are certain foods and herbs that are specific to building ojas, and it all starts with milk. Now, I realize milk is a controversial issue, but nonetheless, it has well-documented properties to mitigate numerous stress markers, support sleep, and build what Ayurveda calls ojas.

The major problem with today’s milk is that it is very difficult to digest. Here’s why:

1.    Added hormones, chemicals and antibiotics
2.    Unnecessary homogenization
3.    The wrong type of pasteurization

Most healthy grocery stores sell non-homogenized, vat pasteurized milk that is free of chemicals, antibiotics and hormones. While raw milk may be the best, vat pasteurization is a slow and safe heating process of the milk at lower temperatures (135 degrees for 20 minutes) that doesn’t damage the milk proteins.

Many folks who consider themselves lactose intolerant can enjoy milk once again if the milk is not commercially processed and the digestion is strong.

Read more about healthy milk in my article called, Stop Eating Dairy Until You Read This Report.

Enhance the Benefits of Milk with Ojas-Building Foods and Herbs

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:

1. Add small amounts of these to one cup of milk as you slowly bring it to a boil:

Chopped dates (1 tbsp)
Chopped almonds (2 tsp)
Coconut meat or flakes (1 tbsp)
Saffron (1/2 tsp)
Ghee (1-2 tsp)
Cardamom (1/8 tsp)

2. Add Ojas building herbs to the milk (1/8 tsp or 1 500 mg capsule of each):

Shatavari (Strength of 100 Husbands, sometimes spelled Shatawari)
 Ashwagandha (Strength of Ten Horses, sometimes spelled Ashwaganda)

3. Once the milk, herbs, and ojas-building foods and spices are cooked and off the flame, add 1 tsp of ojas-building raw honey.

Drink one cup of the ojas-building hot milk each night for 3 months to rebuild ojas levels and support sleep patterns.

Don’t drink milk?

You may substitute a non-dairy milk such as rice or almond, warmed and with the ojas-building foods and herbs cooked in. Though you won’t get the benefits of the milk peptides, you’ll have a vehicle for the ojas-building foods and herbs, and some calming benefits from the warmth of the milk.

For best results, both men and women may consider supplementing with shatavari and ashwagandha (500mg of each three time per day for three months).



Life Extension Mag. Natural Sedative Restores Youthful Sleep. Collectors Edit. 2012

1. J. Clin Sleep Med. 2007 Aug
2. Occup Med (Lond). 2010 Jan
3. J Dairy Sci. 2000 Jun
4. Ther Umsh. 2009 June
5. Eur J Nutr. 2005. Mar
6. FASEB J. 2001 Aug
7. The Open Sleep Journal. 2009;2:128-32
8. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Apr
9. Sleep 2010. May
10. Life Extension Mag. Natural Sedative Restores Youthful Sleep. Collectors Edit. 2012


Editor: Brianna Bemel


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About Dr. John Douillard

John Douillard, DC, has published over 400 health videos and articles that are available on his website. He has written six books, produced numerous health DVDs and CDs, and has formulated his own line of organic health care products. He is the former Director of Player Development for the New Jersey Nets NBA team. He currently directs the LifeSpa Ayurvedic Retreat Center in Boulder, CO, where he lives with his wife and six children.


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21 Responses to “Drink This & Sleep Like a Baby .”

  1. Gail says:

    Very informative. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. [...] you are a “Starfish,” or a “Foetus” or a “Freefaller” like me, taking care to get enough rest is a big key to taking care of your health as an [...]

  3. Waylon says:

    Sounds like a plan. Combine this with a nice bed and upholstered bedhead, then it's an nice, easy good night's sleep.

  4. [...] are numerous reasons why we aren’t sleeping, and even more remedies to cure the deprivation. It is advisable to seek help and guidance through natural resources and [...]

  5. bennybeebee says:

    To do: get cup of cow puss, white blood cells, lymph fluid, immunoglobulins,…. some proteins…, fat, some water, designed to turn a baby cow into a full-grown cow in a few months. Yum!!! (Of course it will be organic, so I didn't put Vancomycin, growth hormone, etc.).

    • onlyonelikethis says:

      I'm with you. I wish yoga would progress to 2012 and truly live ahimsa in a vegan way. Forced pregnancies over breeding of animals and stealing baby calves milk, are not my cup of tea.

      I read once, if you are vegetarian, you're not. What happens to all the babies, you can't have milk without babies, the males go to slaughter or veal crates.

  6. Soph says:

    For those of us with tree nut allergies, do we just omit the almonds, or is there something we can substitute?

  7. [...] nine-year old son never had issues sleeping before and suddenly cannot sleep through the night. Although he never has mentioned it to me, I’ve heard him a few times tossing and turning. It [...]

  8. Fivesstar says:

    I honestly thought Elephant Journal promoted a plant based diet.

  9. Tam says:

    My girls and I are definitely going to try this remedy :) Thank you for sharing, much appreciation.

  10. Clover says:

    It reacts with the opiate receptors in the brain. It's meant to bond mom and baby cows. Stop supporting the death of baby cows from dairy and go vegan.

    Also giving dairy to babies makes them sleep deeper than they should. They are supposed to wake often, to prevent SIDS. Dairy causes ear infections and mucus. Don't be fooled.

  11. jessica says:

    I'll make it with non-dairy milk but am very anxious to try this protocol. Is the portion of each ingredient PER NIGHT? That's an important distinction. I'm willing to try anything as I have an excellent anti-inflammatory diet but insomnia is still an issue. At 1/2 tsp saffron per night – that could get pretty pricey. Thanks for any clarification you can provide!

  12. Amanda says:

    Many thanks for this. I've found this mix to be delicious and really helpful.
    I also add some turmeric and black pepper for good measure.
    I'd like some clarification on quantities as well please. I didn't read it properly at first and was adding all the above ingredients for a mug of milk! Obviously wrong!
    So now I've made a batch of the dry ingerients and will add the honey and ghee when I heat it up.
    How much is a' small amount' of each of the ingredients? A teaspoonof the mix per mug? Desert spoon? Table spoon?
    Thanks :-)

  13. Keri says:

    Thank you for the great recipe… one ?, do you strain the milk before drinking or do eat the eat the ingredients as well?

  14. Zach says:

    I'm all for trying Auryveda remedies, but dairy? Come on! At this point, with the research I've done and what's been pointed out to me, the adverse effects of dairy FAR outweigh the benefits (even sleep!). Casein alone is enough to stay away.

  15. Belle says:

    so basically we can't find these peptides anywhere but cow milk ?

  16. nicole says:

    I am always offering the patients at the hospital warm milk when they are not allowed their usual sleeping pills. and they scoff at me! but having studied ayurveda, i know they are missing out!

    put some poppy seeds or nutmeg in there and you are out!

  17. nicole says:

    wow. reading all these comments… there are sustainable sources of dairy! it s not your local 7-11 but not hard to find!

    • AAG says:

      Dairy is not humane or healthy – regardless if it is "sustainable" (whatever that means) or "organic". Humans are not designed to digest another animals milk period. We are the ONLY animal on the planet drinking another animals milk and drinking any type of milk past weening…it just doesn't happen in nature.

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