Drink Milk, Sleep Better
A Well-Nourished Body Enjoys Good Quality Sleep
You’ve got to nourish to flourish. As paradoxical as it sounds, you need a well-nourished body to have good quality sleep. As a recovered insomniac, I can remember being advised to avoid any temptation to catch some sleep during the day or evening in order to get a better sleep at night, suggesting that if I was exhausted enough, I would sleep. Well, as utterly exhausted as I was, night time would come and my mind would be alert and agitated.
Good Sleep Requires Optimum Cellular Function
Thankfully now I know, through the help of Dr Ray Peat’s work (www.raypeat.com) and better understanding of cellular energy, that for good sleep, good cellular energy production is required. You see, during the night, even whilst you sleep, your cells still use fuel to produce energy for cellular functions. If efficient energy production fails, compensatory mechanisms, most notably the rise in adrenaline and cortisol, step in to keep up the energy production for the cells. The side-effect to this adaptive mechanism is mental alertness. Adrenaline has a very stimulatory effect on the brain, which is great when you need to think on your feet, but you really don’t want this kind of genius happening at night.
Hormones Keep You Up At Night
I have described insomnia as a physiological, not a psychological problemin more detail in a previous blog post. Of course, worry can keep you awake, but for the majority of insomniacs, this is not the issue in my opinion. Your hormones, most notably adrenaline, are what dictates how well you sleep.
Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Sweet Milk
Sometimes we have to look back to go forwards and not so long ago it was routine to make warm milk or milky cocoa for children before bed. Just because it tasted nice? Well, no, because it helped them sleep!
There are several ways in which milk aids sleep:
- the milk sugar, lactose, like all sugars, lowers adrenaline. Adrenaline causes mental alertness. Lowering adrenaline is good because you don’t want mental alertness at night!
- milk contains anti-stress minerals, calcium and magnesium, that benefit cellular energy production and keep the compensatory stress hormones low. A deficiency in either of these minerals can be a causal factor in insomnia.
- the natural protein and fat content of the milk helps to maintain blood sugar.
- calcium also keeps parathyroid hormone low as parathyroid hormone rises where there is a deficiency in calcium. Parathyroid hormones raises inflammation and stress hormones.