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The Science Behind Drinking a Hot Milky Drink Before Bed: Exploring Ayurveda

Updated: Feb 29

A Spicy Saffron Milk Winter Recipe by Nandini Natasha Austin

In a world that is moving too fast, the quest for a good night's sleep is indeed a common pursuit. From counting sheep to white noise, people are always on the lookout for ways to improve their sleep quality. One age-old remedy that has gained popularity across cultures is drinking a hot milky drink before bed. My mother and her mother ( my late Nani ) were big fans of this. While enjoying a hot night cap may seem like a simple habit, its roots delve deep into both scientific and ancient medicinal practices like Ayurveda.

The Science of Sleep and Milk:

The tradition of drinking warm milk is not just an old wives tale, it's actually backed by science. Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes the production of serotonin and melatonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation, while melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Consuming warm milk is known to potentially enhance the body's natural sleep-inducing mechanisms.

Moreover, the warmth of the milk has a soothing effect on the body. Just like a warm bath or cozy blanket, a warm drink can help relax muscles and signal to the body that it's time to wind down for the night.

Ayurveda and Sleep Rituals: ( you can see my Six Sleep Hacks Blog here)

Ayurveda, places great importance on holistic well-being, including getting enough sleep. According to Ayurvedic principles, the body's natural rhythms, or doshas, must be balanced to maintain optimal health. Sleep is considered crucial for balancing these doshas.

Rituals and Routine:

Beyond the physiological effects, the act of preparing and consuming a warm milky drink can also serve as a calming bedtime ritual. In today's hectic world, establishing a bedtime routine can help signal to the body that it's time to transition from wakefulness to rest. Whether it's brewing a cup of herbal tea or sipping on warm milk, incorporating rituals into bedtime can help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.

So if you are struggling to sleep, then why not try this deliciously soothing night cap, where warm milk is infused with herbs and spices like turmeric, and saffron, which are believed to have calming and digestive properties. These ingredients not only add flavor but also enhance the drink's therapeutic benefits. I stopped drinking cows milk a long time ago as I felt the milk too creamy. So in my recipe below I use Almond milk.

This milky drink combines so many wonderful nourishing spices .Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, while cinnamon may help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Syrup bottle the cocktail architect
The Cocktail Arhcitect Syrup

It's made from fresh spices and whole ingredients, there is no nasty stuff, additives, or preservatives. It contains :

Black Cardamom which when combined with milk helps in relieve stress, anxiety and in inducing sleep. It also helps in boosting libido and improves the metabolic rate during sleep

 Star anise : stimulates the release of certain neurotransmitters that induce relaxation and sleep. It is extremely beneficial for people who have insomnia and irregular sleep patterns. Its also great for us ladies for menopausal discomfort and can be taken as a tea.

I also few pinches of Saffron to the milk, which is known to brings warmth, relaxation and promotes deep restful sleep. A sprinkle of Turmeric offers relaxation and anti-inflammatory properties gives it a golden hue and that give you a golden glow on the inside.

star anis on a table
Start Anis on our table

All these spices combined with warm milk offer a combination of nourishing spices that support both Vata and Kapha and so are ideal in Winter.

And I sweeten it up using this delicious Cardamom and Star Anise Artisan Syrup  pictured above which I pour into many beverages including my teas. This Syrup is so versatile that you can use it in baking or poured on oatmeal. Its made by my husband Yusef Austin from the Cocktail Architect. Indeed our syrup line was born after 10 years of use at high event events all over the world and we still use it in our cocktail classes and catering at prinvate events online today.

Incorporating a hot milky drink into your bedtime routine can be a simple yet effective way to enhance sleep quality. While science sheds light on the physiological mechanisms behind this tradition, ancient practices like Ayurveda offer additional insights into holistic well-being. By understanding the intersection of science and tradition, we can unlock new avenues for promoting better sleep and overall health. So, the next time you find yourself tossing and turning, consider reaching for a warm mug of milk – your body and mind might just thank you for it. try this feel-good winter drink that is made with love. It's sure to warm you up on these cold chilly nights.

Cheers Nandini

Spicy Saffron Milk Recipe


5-6 threads of saffron

0.5 oz of Cardamom and Star Anise Syrups

Pinch of Powered Tumeric

1 cup of almond milk


 Heat milk on stove, over a medium flame,

 Stir in in Tumeric powder

 Simmer for 3 minutes.

Turn off the heat

Add the cardamom + Star Anise Syrup syrup to the mixture. *

Sprinkle with saffron and enjoy

*Where to buy our Syrups. 

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