a cup of warm milk producing steam that is curling into Zs that are supporting a sleeping person

'Computer: Milk, Warm' – A Bedtime Drink in My RLS Toolbox

Last updated: January 2022

Honestly, I am kicking myself in the butt for not trying this at least 7 years ago when I first watched Star Trek Next Generation and Dr. Beverly Crusher ordered Captain Picard to have a "warm milk Toddy" to help him sleep. It actually gets brought up 2 other times in the series and it never dawned on me to give it a try even though I was having issues falling asleep.

My husband also kicks himself in the butt for not thinking of this as well because of all the times he has watched Star Trek Next Generation and because it is something he used to make up to drink at night when he was a teenager to help him fall asleep. I'm pretty sure – if I recall correctly – it's even one of those "old wives tales."

The recipe that helps me fall asleep faster

Even though I have only tried this about 7 times now, it was very effective every single time. I use skim milk, real vanilla extract, and brown sugar to make mine, and I heat it up in the microwave. It's very delicious!

I was able to fall asleep before my restless legs syndrome (RLS) started to act up, about 10 to 15 minutes after lying down in bed. I even tried it one time to see if it could help me nap, as my RLS has been making it quite difficult to fall asleep for a nap, and it worked.

An extra tool in my RLS toolbox

As winter approaches Canada, curling up with a warm glass of milk before bed helps add extra coziness and relaxation to winding down before bed. I won't always be able to have warm milk every night because I have to watch how much dairy I consume due to having irritable bowel syndrome.

Sometimes the extreme fatigue my heart issues have brought on makes it so I don't even have the energy to drink milk and forces me straight into bed. But it is nice to have an extra tool, especially a natural one, in my toolbelt to try to help me fall asleep before RLS hits.

Is warm milk more than an old wives tale?

Is it just an "old wives tale"? Is it the placebo effect? In one study, drinking warm milk and honey was linked with improved sleep.1

They think the milk's sleep-promoting properties might be due to the amino acid tryptophan, which plays a role in producing serotonin and melatonin. (Think about turkey during the holidays).1,2

A new study has discovered a mixture of milk peptides, called casein tryptic hydrolysate (CTH), that relieve stress and enhance sleep.3

Have you ever tried warm milk to see if it can help you fall asleep either before or despite your RLS?

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