Can Almond Milk Really Help You Sleep Better?

almonds and almond milk on the table/ almond milk promotes sleep

These days many foods and beverages are associated with better sleep! While some of them can really promote sleep, others are only myths. 

In this article, we will discuss one of them; almond milk, which is claimed to improve sleep. 

Is it really true that almond milk can promote sleep, thus helping individuals to overcome insomnia?

Well, the short answer to this question is ” Yes, drinking almond milk before bed may help you sleep better “, according to studies and sleep specialists.

If you want to know in detail how almond milk can improve your sleep, please keep on reading.

Sleep and Almond Milk

At every opportunity, medical experts emphasise the importance of getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night to maintain good mental and physical health (1),(2),(3),(4).

However, in this modern world getting uninterrupted sleep is a real challenge due to external and internal distractions, such as; stress, temperature, noise/light pollution, etc (5),(6),(7).

Not only staying asleep though but also falling asleep is a common problem around the world. These sleep problems are collectively known as insomnia.

If you suffer from insomnia, as many people do around the world, you should know a variety of foods and drinks can help you cope with this common sleep disorder.

As mentioned above, one of these drinks that can be good for sleep is almond milk.

  • Why is almond milk a good choice before going to bed?
  • In what way can this healthy beverage promote sleep?

Let’s provide evidence-based answers to these questions.

 

How Does Almond Milk Induce Sleep?

Since almond milk promotes sleep it can be a perfect bedtime beverage.

But, it begs the question! How does drinking almond milk help you sleep better? After all, it is not its colour or smell that makes almond milk associated with better sleep.

The main reason that almond milk promotes sleep is the sleep-inducing nutrients that exist in almond milk. It contains not only one but multiple nutrients proven to induce sleep.

Though the most effective of them ( in terms of inducing sleep ) is tryptophan, which is an amino acid that is converted to serotonin in the human brain (8),(9),(10).

However, as said above, tryptophan is not the only one. There are other nutrients, available in almond milk, that are scientifically proven to induce sleep directly or indirectly.

Almond milk contains many essential nutrients; yet, below we indicated the nutrients that are related to sleep.

  • Vitamin E: depending on the commercial brand; 1 cup of almond milk can meet 20 to 50% of your body’s daily vitamin E requirement (11).
  • Calcium: depending on the commercial brand; 1 cup (240 ml) of almond milk can meet 20 to 45% of your body’s daily calcium requirement (12), (13).
  • Magnesium: 1 cup of almond milk can provide almost 20 mg of magnesium (14).
  • Tryptophan: 

These nutrients make almond milk an ideal drink to get a good night’s sleep.

 

Almond Milk Before Bed

If you are aware of the sleep-inducing properties of almonds, then hearing that almond milk is good for sleep shouldn’t make you surprised; after all, almond milk is obtained from whole almonds and contain many of the sleep-inducing nutrients or compounds that exist in almonds.

If almonds can help you sleep better ( as experts and studies say so 15 16) then why do we focus on almond milk instead?

Well, some factors make the milk form of almonds a better choice before sleep. For instance;

    • Almonds are hard to chew; therefore, may not be ideal for those who have a tooth problem.
    • If you warm almond milk, it can provide an extra calming effect with its warm temperature thus helping you fall asleep faster. Bear in mind, if the milk is warm the sleep-promoting properties become stronger, according to experts (17),(18),(19)

So, it should be more preferable to drink almond milk before bed instead of eating crispy almonds.

Moreover, if you are one of those who enjoy drinking a glass of warm cow’s milk before bed, but are unable to do it due to your lactose intolerance issue; almond milk (naturally lactose-free) can be an excellent alternative for you.

Please note that; like cow’s milk, almond milk as well contains tryptophan, a nutrient that promotes sleep quality and mood (20),(21).

It appears that almond milk can be an excellent bedtime beverage to improve sleep.

 

Almond Milk and Its Sleep-promoting Nutrients

Thus far, we have revealed that particular nutrients in almond milk make this beverage an ideal bedtime drink for those who want to get a good night’s sleep as well as those who have difficulty falling asleep.

In this section, we will go further and explain in detail how these particular nutrients such as tryptophan and calcium can contribute to your sleep.

 

1) Magnesium In Almond Milk Aids Sleep

Almond milk is a decent source of magnesium! While magnesium has various important roles in the human body, it may also be important for sleep.

The question is how? What is the role of magnesium in sleep? How do researchers explain the relationship between sleep and magnesium?

According to science, magnesium can contribute to sleep in various ways. Yet, the primary and most important way that this mineral promotes sleep stems from its relaxation effect. Yes, magnesium can help both your body and brain to relax, according to studies (22),(23),(24).

Needless to say; your body and brain must be relaxed if you want to fall and stay asleep.

A rodent study showed that both high and low magnesium levels in the body can bring about sleep problems. Upon the findings of the study, researchers concluded that optimal magnesium level is necessary for normal sleep regulation (25).

Another study found that magnesium supplementation may have a sleep-promoting effect, particularly in elderly people (26).

Summary: Growing evidence tell us that magnesium has a role in sleep. As such, it should be safe to say that drinking a glass of magnesium-rich almond milk before going to bed may help you sleep better.

 

2) Tryptophan in Almond Milk Aids Sleep

As mentioned above, tryptophan has been shown to improve sleep by several studies (27).

This particular amino acid is also heavily available in cow’s milk. This, in fact, explains why many people consume cow’s milk before going to bed (28).

The question is obvious; how can tryptophan help you sleep better?

First of all, it is important to know that tryptophan itself doesn’t make you sleepy. Rather, it plays a significant role in the production of hormones that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. These hormones are serotonin and melatonin (29),(8).

Serotonin (often known as the happiness hormone or happy hormone) has many functions in the body. But, in terms of sleep; it is thought that it has a role in maintaining sleep and wakefulness. Though, its role in sleep isn’t fully understood by scientists (30),(31),(32). However, what’s certain is that serotonin is a must for the production of melatonin.

It is impossible to get serotonin from the foods. But, it is possible to get tryptophan – which is converted serotonin in the brain – from foods (8),(9),(33).

Melatonin, on the other hand, has a significant and certain role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. The production of melatonin starts at night (in the darkness), preparing the brain to sleep (34),(35).

It is important to note that the pineal gland (located in the brain) needs tryptophan to produce melatonin (36),(37).

What we should infer from this complex section is that your body needs tryptophan to produce serotonin and melatonin, both of which regulate your sleep cycle! Since this amino acid exists in almond milk, it can be said that this healthy beverage has a genuine potential to promote sleep at night.

 

3) Calcium in Almond Milk Aids Sleep

Calcium is another reason why almond milk is strongly associated with better sleep!

As mentioned above, 1 cup (240 ml) of almond milk can provide 20 to 45% of your body’s daily calcium need, though it varies from brand to brand (12),(13).

So, what is the relationship between calcium and sleep? In other words, how does calcium help you sleep better?

According to William Sears, M.D: “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.(38),(39).

Additionally, a study, republished in 2014, found that calcium may prevent insomnia by reducing the time it takes to fall asleep and also by helping the brain to stay asleep (40).

Bear in mind, almond milk is often fortified with calcium; therefore the calcium content of almond milk is ( most likely) higher than that of dairy milk.

Conclusion; a glass of warm tryptophan and calcium-rich almond milk before bed can help your brain to produce more melatonin, thus helping you get a good night’s sleep.

 

4) Vitamin E in Almond Milk May Aid Sleep

It is important once again to underline the fact that almond oil is naturally high in vitamin E.

While vitamin E (an antioxidant) has many benefits for the human body, it may also help individuals to overcome sleep and sleep-related health problems (41).

The positive impact of vitamin E in terms of aiding sleep may not be as strong as magnesium or tryptophan. That being said, we shouldn’t forget that in its deficiency sleep disorders can occur.

Multiple studies show that people with sleep apnea often have an insufficient amount of vitamin E in their bodies (42),(43),(44).

Another problem that can severely affect sleep quality is restless leg syndrome.

According to scientific studies; vitamin C along with vitamin E are promising nutrients in the treatment of RLS in hemodialysis patients (45),(46).

It appears that vitamin E is an effective way to treat health problems that can significantly damage the quality of sleep. The good news is you can get a plethora of vitamin E to your body by having a cup of almond milk before bed.

 

A Related Study

Important to note that this study is not specifically about “Almond milk and Insomnia “. It is about “Almonds and Insomnia “.

It is, nevertheless, quite relevant because, as mentioned above, almond milk is obtained from whole almonds, therefore, contains almost all sleep-inducing nutrients found in almonds.

The findings of this study supported the positive impact of almonds on sleep. That means these findings can be applied to almond milk as well.

So, what kind of study it was, and what were the findings of it?

In the study, carried out in 2017, researchers aimed to evaluate the potential effectiveness of sweet almonds on the sleep quality of medical students (47).

446 students participated in the study. While 343 had suffered from insomnia 99 had had normal sleep. 10 sweet almonds were given to whole participants for two weeks (14 days) each day.

After 14 days of sweet almond intervention; the number of students who had insomnia decreased from 343 to 306. Researchers suggested that sweet almonds may positively impact the quality of sleep (47).

It bears repeating this study wasn’t about almond milk. However, most likely the same results can be applied to the milk form of the almond as almond milk contains most of the sleep-inducing nutrients in almonds.

 

Summary

The prevalence of insomnia has been increasing gradually around the world. Many sleep and medical experts attribute the rising figures of insomnia to modern city life.

If you suffer from any type of chronic sleep problem, it is best for you to get professional help. Because prolonged sleep disorders can damage your health in certain ways.

That being said if you think your sleep problems are manageable, then home remedies such as doing yoga or doing exercise such as cycling during the day can also help you.

In this article, we have discussed one of these natural remedies; namely almond milk.

It seems that this beverage can increase the quality of your sleep thanks to the nutrients it contains such as tryptophan, magnesium or calcium.

No one can guarantee that “almond milk certainly improve your sleep”. However, it has a big potential to induce sleep and we have discussed why.

Consider drinking a cup of almond milk before bed and assess the impact of this night beverage yourself. Who knows it can be your favourite nighttime beverage for good.

 

Warnings


  • If you have a nut allergy, you should avoid almond milk.
  • Almond milk can help you get a good night’s sleep. However, if you are drinking a sweetened one, the impact can be the total opposite. So, avoid sweetened almond milk.
  • If you have never had almond milk before, you may need some time to get used to its taste.
  • Drinking excess almond milk before sleep can cause you to wake up regularly throughout the night, disrupting your sleep.


 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *