Alternative night-caps

30 day sleep challenge day 19: night caps sans alcohol

#8anight

It’s been a long, tiring and stressful day, all you need is a nightcap and a good night’s sleep. The two however don’t go hand in hand. A couple of alcoholic drinks before bed may help you to nod off more quickly but it seriously affects the quality of your sleep and often you can wake feeling like you have had no rest at all.

Drinking before bed throws your body’s natural sleep cycle completely off kilter It reduces REM sleep, the stage of sleep in which you dream, memories are stored and learning occurs. It also interferes with your deep sleep which is when the body is restoring itself. In the course of a normal sleep cycle, you normally have between six and seven cycles of REM sleep, which leave you feeling refreshed. After drinking however, this can reduce down to just one or two meaning you are more likely to wake feeling exhausted.

Below are some alternative nightcaps which will help you nod off more quickly and support your body’s natural sleep cycle leaving you feeling refreshed and restored the following morning. Cheers!

Warm milk (or milk substitute)

Research is divided on whether or not the trytophan in milk can aid the production of the sleep inducing brain chemicals seratonin and melatonin but it is thought the warm, relaxing and comforting feelings associated with warm milk help people to relax and begin to feel more tired.

Warm cinnamon and honey milk

image via livestrong.com

This drink has positive elements of warm milk with the added sweetness of cinnamon and honey. The cinnamon adds a delicious, warming flavour and the honey promotes relaxation and eases your tummy at night. It contains natural sugars which raise the insulin levels, supporting your liver in detoxification, circulation, hormone regulation and other functions to restore your body while you sleep.

Turmeric milk

image via nutritionstriped.com

Comforting, relaxing, soothing and nutritious. Traditionally turmeric milk comes from Ayurvedic practices and medicine in Indian cultures and is known as the ‘healing spice’. Turmeric is high in antioxidants and anti inflammatory compounds and helps to improve digestion, detoxify your liver and boost your immune system, all excellent in aiding the restoration of your body while you sleep.

Bedtime smoothie

image via helloglow.com

This smoothie is both a treat for the taste buds and the body and is the perfect pre-bed snack or nightcap with its simple but effective ingredients which support the body in preparing for sleep.

Sweet dreams smoothie

image via nutribullet

Sweet and satisfying, this bedtime smoothie containing banana, cherry and honey is full of natural sleep aid ingredients.

Tart cherry juice

image via the telegraph

Cherry juice is a natural source of the sleep-wake cycle hormone melatonin and the amino acid tryptophan. A study carried out on older adults with insomnia found those drinking tart cherry juice twice a day were getting nearly 90 more minutes sleep a night.


What are your alternative night caps? Use the hashtag #8anight and find us on Twitter @sleepkokoon to share your hints, tips, struggles and successes.

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