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The Secret to a Good Night’s Sleep May Be ‘Night Milk’

The results of an oddly helpful study out of South Korea.

Image via Flickr user Bill Smith

Researchers from South Korea’s Sahmyook University have found a strange fix for insomnia and anxiety: “night milk.” Yes, we’ve known for some time that drinking warm, normal milk—that is, milk drawn from cows during the day—before bed can help one sleep. Dairy products are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps produce sleep-inducing chemicals like serotonin and melatonin.


But this “night milk” thing? It’s new. The researchers’ analysis of dried powder made from milk collected at night found that the substance contained 24 percent more tryptophan and almost 10 times as much melatonin as day milk.

The researchers then fed lab mice solutions of both kinds of milk powder, as well as controls of water and the anti-anxiety drug diazepam. The Wall Street Journal’s Ann Lukits explains the results:

The mice underwent a series of tests about an hour after treatments. Mice that got night milk were significantly less active than either the mice fed day milk or water-fed controls. diazepam-treated mice were the least active. Balance and coordination were measured by the number of falls from a rotating bar during a 20-minute period: Mice fed night milk on average fell four to five times, about twice as often as mice given day milk. Diazepam-treated controls fell about nine times, while the water-fed controls fell twice.

This night milk technique has yet to be tested on humans, so don’t start harassing your local cows past their bedtime yet. It is also not yet clear how cows will feel about being milked at night.

(Via The Wall Street Journal)

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