People who struggle to get some shut-eye at night often drink one glass of warm milk to help them fall asleep. A new study in South Korea revealed that there may possibly be a better way to induce sleepiness – drinking milk collected from cows during nighttime. Experts from Sahmyook University in Seoul discovered that when lab mice were given a dose of “night milk,” these animals became more lethargic, sluggish and less active, and fell asleep faster than usual.
In a report featured in the Journal of Medicinal Food, the research team explained that night milk contains high amounts of melatonin and tryptophan, supplements known to reduce anxiety and aid sleep. The effects of night milk were similar to that of a dose of diazepam, a drug used for anxiety treatments. Because cows have higher levels of melatonin and tryptophan at night, milk collected from these animals contains 10 percent more melatonin and 24 percent more tryptophan than ordinary day-collected milk.
To test the effectiveness of night milk, the researchers gave day milk, water, night milk or diazepam to several mice and put the animals on a rotating cylinder for less than half an hour. The mice that were drowsier found it difficult to stay on the cylinder, while the more alert mice fared better. After an hour, the mice that were given night milk were less active than those who were given day milk.
“This will be a very exciting finding for many people who are often sleep-deprived who have a wakening pattern in the night,” said Dr. Sampath Parthasarathy, the editor of the journal. However, Parthasarathy said that night milk has yet to be tested on humans. Still, Carl Bazil of Columbia University said the results of the South Korean study could be promising.