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7 DIY Drinks That Can Help You Sleep Better

Written by Jillian Lai Mei Siew on Fri, 11 November 2022

Key Highlights

  • What you drink at night affects your sleep as much as food does.
  • You can make sleep-inducing drinks with everyday food items.
  • Warm milk has traditionally been used as a sleep aid in many cultures.
  • Almond milk is a great substitute for dairy milk for vegans.
  • Bananas and blueberries are great fruits to be put in DIY drinks.
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What you get from your body is what you put into it, this we know for certain. Most people, when trying to tweak their dietary habits to get better sleep, tend to think only in terms of solid foods. But there are also drinks that help you sleep. And 'drinks' definitely doesn't mean alcoholic drinks!

The best drink before bed is something that won't put a lot of pressure on your kidneys (and bladder) and will contain nutrients that induce sleep, such as the amino acid tryptophan and melatonin, both of which take the body into peaceful slumber; magnesium, which helps the muscles relax; and potassium, which helps you stay asleep through the night.

When we talk about what to drink before bed to help sleep, the first beverage that comes to mind is warm milk — this has been used for ages as a sleep aid, and research now tells us that this is because of the presence of tryptophan in milk and because of the comfort level associated with a warm drink.

  • If you're vegan or lactose intolerant, it's possible to easily make almond milk at home. Soak the nuts in water for 12-15 hours; put the nuts in a blender with water, and drain the blended liquid to get the almond milk without the solid pulp.
  • Almonds are rich in melatonin, and a cup of almond milk will also have the nutrient. This is an alternative to eating raw almonds by themselves or using chopped almonds in a salad or some other dish.

Quantity of Drink Before Bedtime

How much liquid should we have before bedtime? Even though our kidney function slows down overnight and we don't produce as much urine, if we drink too much liquid too late in the evening, we'll need to get up during the night to urinate, and this will interrupt our sleep.
 

As we age, the tendency to pass urine during the night goes up. So, if you find that drinking a cup of chamomile tea or a glass of turmeric milk before bedtime causes you to get up during the night, it would be a good idea to have the tea or milk a bit earlier.

  • Don't drink a beverage like coffee close to bedtime, because not only is it a stimulant that'll keep you awake, but it's also a diuretic that'll force you to urinate at night. Even a small amount of coffee can have this undesirable effect, as a cup of coffee can take 5 hours or more to leave your system.
  • Avoid alcohol, because while alcohol has an initial sedating effect, it's rapidly metabolized and, after 4-5 hours, there's rebound wakefulness, shallow sleep, and waking up multiple times, with sweating, increased heart rate and overall general activation instead of the normal quietness of sleep.

Alcohol also affects our quality of sleep. It actively suppresses REM (rapid eye movement) sleep in the early part of the night. This means that when we drink alcohol, we decrease the amount of time we can spend in REM sleep, which is very important to our thinking ability and mood.

Therefore, when considering the question of what to drink to sleep fast, also think about when to drink and how much to drink.

DIY Drinks to Prepare at Home

Nutmeg-Honey Milk

  • Milk contains sleep-friendly tryptophan and Vitamin D.
  • Nutmeg has a natural sedative effect and honey helps the release of sleep-inducing melatonin.

nutmeg honey milk
 

Ingredients

  • 500 ml soya or almond milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A few drops of vanilla
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 1/4th tsp cardamom powder
  • Freshly-grated nutmeg

Method

  • Put the soya or almond milk in a saucepan with the cinnamon stick and set over a medium heat. Don't let it boil.
  • Stir in the vanilla and honey and discard the cinnamon stick.
  • Pour into two mugs and add some grated nutmeg over the top.
  • Stir and enjoy!

Banana-Blueberry Smoothie

  • Banana contains plenty of magnesium and potassium to promote muscle relaxation.
  • Blueberries have a high concentration of sleep-supporting plant compounds like lignans.
  • Almonds, along with several other types of nuts, are a great source of melatonin. Melatonin regulates your internal clock and signals your body to prepare for sleep.

banana blueberry smoothie
 

Ingredients

  • A glass of milk
  • A ripe medium-sized banana
  • 1/4th cup of blueberries or 1 tbsp of freeze-dried blueberry powder
  • A few nuts of your choice (almonds, cashews, walnuts or a mix of all)

Method

  • Blend all the ingredients together. Pour in a glass and enjoy!

Chamomile Tea

  • Chamomile tea contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which binds to certain receptors in your brain that promote sleepiness. Chamomile, by reducing anxiety and depression, could also help you fall asleep more easily.

chamomile tea
 

Ingredients

  • 4 to 8 gms dried flowers of chamomile
  • 250 ml water
  • Honey or agave syrup

Method

  • Heat the water in a saucepan until it boils.
  • Add the chamomile flowers.
  • Let it brew for 15 minutes.
  • Mix, filter and pour into a cup covered with a saucer.
  • Add honey or agave syrup.
  • Cool to room temperature.

Cherry & Almond Smoothie

  • Cherries are one of the natural food sources of melatonin, the chemical that controls the body's internal clock to regulate sleep.
  • Combined here with bananas and almonds, this recipe provides magnesium, potassium and tryptophan to promote a healthy night's sleep.

cherry and almond smoothie
 

Ingredients

For the smoothie

  • 2 ½ cups frozen tart cherries
  • 2 tbsp 100% maple syrup
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup organic almond milk

For the topping

  • Handful of black cherries
  • Coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds
  • 1 tbsp chopped pistachios

Method

  • For the smoothie, blend together the tart cherries, lemon juice, maple syrup, banana and almond milk. You can add additional milk if required for a smoother consistency.
  • Pour into two bowls and top with your choice of toppings. Serve immediately.

Lavender Latte

  • Vanilla, honey, and lavender make it super soothing.
  • Almonds contain magnesium, which promotes both sleep and muscle relaxation.
  • The rich protein content will help you maintain a stable blood sugar level while sleeping.

lavender latte
 

Ingredients

  • A glass of milk
  • A few almonds or 1 tbsp of ground almond powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried edible lavender buds

Method

  • Blend milk, almonds and vanilla until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy.
  • Transfer into a small saucepan and heat over medium flame until tiny bubbles begin to form and steam rises. Remove from heat.
  • Place dried lavender in a disposable tea filter/infuser bag, immerse in milk and cover the saucepan. Steep for 10 minutes, then remove the tea bag and squeeze to release maximum lavender flavor and fragrance.
  • Pour in a cup or a glass, add honey to taste. Enjoy!

Tart Cherry Juice

  • A 2010 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that drinking tart cherry juice during the day could result in a significant decrease in insomnia.
  • Cherries are full of melatonin, which is known to regulate the sleep cycle.

tart cherry juice
 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup tart cherries, deseeded
  • A cup of coconut or almond milk
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp honey

Method

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender until nice and smooth.
  • Pour in a cup or a glass. Enjoy!

Avocado-Banana Smoothie

  • Both avocado and banana actively support sleep.
  • Avocado is a source of sleep-boosting tryptophan.
  • Banana contains anxiety-reducing serotonin and potassium, which is a natural muscle relaxant.

avocado banana smoothie
 

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 banana
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup/glass of milk

Method

  • Scoop out the flesh of one avocado.
  • Add a banana to it, as also milk and honey.
  • Blend, pour in a glass, enjoy!

Conclusion

By blending everyday food items in the right combination, and having that DIY drink a while before bedtime, you can utilize the power of their nutrients to attain a more relaxed mind and body, and raise your melatonin levels for great sleep quality.

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Jillian Lai Mei Siew

As the Product Consultant Manager of Mega BiO-LiFE, Jillian Lai Mei Siew, has the role of providing a productive team spirit among all Product Consultants to equip them with the right health nutritional information. Jillian is a BSc in Nutrition and Community Health, and a MSc in Nutritional Sciences an from Universiti Putra Malaysia. Affiliated to the Professional Affiliation Languages & Dialects Nutrition Society of Malaysia, NSM, Jillian can speak English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien and Malay.

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  1. Medical News Today: Drinks that help you fall asleep: 10 options
  2. Hopkins Medicine: Natural Sleep Aids: Home Remedies to Help You Sleep
  3. Sleep Foundation: The Best Foods To Help You Sleep
  4. Meng, X., Li, Y., Li, S., Zhou, Y., Gan, R. Y., Xu, D. P., & Li, H. B. (2017). Dietary Sources and Bioactivities of Melatonin. Nutrients, 9(4), 367.