Night milk could be a possible treatment for anxiety and insomnia.
Drinking cow’s milk produced at night may be a treatment for anxiety and insomnia, suggests an animal study in the Journal of Medicinal Food.
A glass of milk at bedtime has long been touted as a sleep aid. But the study found that milk collected at night, or night milk, has enhanced sedative effects in mice compared with milk produced during the day. Night milk significantly decreased the rodents’ physical activity, balance and coordination and increased sleep time compared to day milk, the research showed.
Mice fed night milk were more inclined to explore open spaces, an indication of reduced anxiety that was comparable to the effects from consuming diazepam, a drug commonly used to treat anxiety in people, the researchers said.
Night milk is rich in tryptophan, a sleep-inducing compound, and melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, the study said.
Researchers in South Korea gave lab mice varying doses of dried milk powder made from cow’s milk collected during the day or night and mixed with distilled water. Analysis of the powders showed the night milk contained 24% more tryptophan and nearly 10 times as much melatonin as the day milk. Two groups of control mice received either injections of diazepam or plain drinking water.
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.
The effects of night milk haven’t been tested on people with sleep problems and anxiety disorders.
Wall Street Journal December 15, 2015