A cup of hot milk before bed sets the stage for smooth transition into sleep. It soothes the nerves and, if you prepare it just right, it is tasty and full of nutrients.
Maharishi AyurVeda (MAV) identifies milk as balancing to vata and pitta doshas (click the provided links for more information about doshas and MAV). Here’s a recipe to make your own delicious treat:
- Boil the milk. Watch milk carefully until it boils, then let it continue to boil on low for about 5-10 minutes.
- Add spices (if desired). Turmeric reduces inflammation. Cardamom aids in digestion and adds sweetness. Cinnamon and ginger stimulate digestion and add a spicy kick. Vanilla flavor is also a delicious choice.
- Pour the milk into your mug or cup of choice. Let sit until no longer scalding.
- (Optional). After the milk cools completely, a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup can be added for sweetness. You can also add a half teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter) to pacify both vata and pitta doshas.
- Drink your milk and enjoy!
Milk does increase kapha dosha, which can cause weight gain, but this effect is lessened by using 2% or skim milk in place of whole milk. Hot milk pacifies vata dosha in the body and mind, allowing one to settle down for sleep.
In addition to these ayurvedic benefits, milk also supplies:
- Calcium, which keeps bones and teeth healthy and helps your body maintain bone mass
- Protein, a good source of energy that builds and repairs your muscle tissue
- Potassium, which helps maintain good blood pressure
- Phosphorus:, which strengthens your bones and gives you energy
- Vitamin D, which maintains bone density
- Vitamin B12, which maintains healthy red blood cells and nerve tissue
- Vitamin A which maintains the immune system, normal vision and good skin
- Niacin, which improves metabolism
Tonight, try boiling a cup of milk and feel the benefits for yourself. It may take a few tries to find the exact balance of spices you enjoy, but once you discover your favorites you will have a tasty new way to unwind in the evenings.
Still having trouble sleeping? Here’s another tip from MAV: Turn off your computer and phone an hour before you retire to further wind down. MAV agrees with the old adage: early to bed (before 10pm), and early to rise is the recipe for balanced health, wealth and wisdom (not to mention, longevity).