Unlock Deeper Sleep: The Surprising Benefits of Dairy Before Bed

Scroll to the bottom of this post if you’d prefer to listen to the podcast version of this post.

Not sleeping well?

Well, the reasons for not sleeping well could be for numerous reasons.

In this post, I’m talking about the benefits of dairy foods and sleep.

You see, the issues you’re having could be due to a hormone called melatonin.

Melatonin is a hormone that we produce when it gets dark.  This hormone signals us to become sleepy.

Low melatonin production equals low-quality sleep.

This is often seen in people who are diagnosed with insomnia.

As said earlier, the lack of sleep and melatonin could be for numerous reasons.

Now are you over 40?

Yes, well if you’re over 40 like me you’ll be producing less melatonin.

Melatonin production reduces as we get older.

I know, we get punished for being over 40, how’s that fair?!

Melatonin reduction is also associated with the following diseases ¹

  • dementia
  • mood disorders such as depression and anxiety
  • severe pain
  • cancer
  • diabetes (type 2)

So it’s important to find ways to boost melatonin.

And dairy-based foods can be a great helper.

Dairy foods are rich in tryptophan.

Tryptophan is needed for melatonin production.

Increasing dairy foods like milk, cottage cheese and yogurts can be hugely beneficial.

So when is the best time to eat these types of food?

Well, how about 1-2 hours before bedtime?

Could you tolerate that?!

This could be:

  • a warm glass of milk
  • cottage cheese with a slice of bread.
  • Natural yogurt, with a handful of fruits and a sprinkle of granola

So how long for results? [You may be asking]

Well, this is something you have to commit to for a few weeks.

I’d always recommend you keep a diary to track your sleep.  But the length of time will be based on you.

We’re all so different!

So if you’re going to do this it’ll require a commitment.

Right so go and increase your dairy intake.

And fingers crossed, you’ll be getting a better night’s sleep.

And as said earlier make sure to give this time, don’t dismiss this because you haven’t seen results after a day.

Keep going!!

And if you’d like to stay in touch…

If you wish to keep hearing from me you can subscribe to my weekly newsletter on Substack or my Cheryl Shares daily-ish newsletter. Links to my newsletters are below.

My newsletters provide motivation to help you to get started as I know how hard it is to find motivation when you barely have energy to get out of bed.

I give you health and wellness suggestions, beneficial if you want a healthier lifestyle or if you’re looking to improve your chronic illness symptoms!!!

I’m not about making changes that are difficult.

Simple is my middle name and I believe simple is the game…

[See what I did there, I’m a poet and didn’t even know it!!!]

Anyway this is about making simple changes that can last a lifetime instead of a day!!

If that interests you come and join me!!!!


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1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3354573/#:~:text=Melatonin%20secretion%20decreases%20during%20aging,and%20coupling%20of%20circadian%20rhythms.

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3354573/#:~:text=Melatonin%20secretion%20decreases%20during%20aging,and%20coupling%20of%20circadian%20rhythms.


Podcast Show Notes/Transcription(00:00:01):INTRODUCTION

So I’m going to be talking about sleep.

I’ve been doing quite a bit about sleep recently.

So I’m talking about the benefits of dairy before bed.

I’ve been writing a few posts about sleep and the benefits of certain foods to help with sleep.

So my name’s Cheryl Best.

I’m trained as a nutritional therapist.

Some people call that a nutritionist.

I’m also trained as a yoga teacher.

I like to write and speak about health and wellness, especially when it comes to diet, herbs, vitamins and exercise.

I’ve got an interest in exercise because I’ve been a yoga teacher for quite a lot of years.

I’ve been practicing yoga for 24 years.

And so I like to talk about exercise as well.


So maybe you’re not sleeping well.

And the reasons for why you’re not sleeping could be numerous reasons.

I’ve had issues with sleep in the past, but at the moment I tend to get about six hours of sleep.

And I’ve spoken about this, because of this thing about eight hours of sleep every day.

Some people thrive quite well with getting less than eight hours sleep.

And I’m one of those people!

There has been times when I’ve had issues with insomnia and it’s because I’m diagnosed with a disease called Graves Disease.

Sounds absolutely horrible!

Graves Disease is a disease of the thyroid and it’s an autoimmune disease.

And so a symptom…

[if you are listening to this and you are a sufferer of Graves’ disease, you will know what I’m talking about.]

But a symptom of Graves’ disease is this not being able to sleep, this insomnia.

And when I say not being able to sleep…

[I’m not downgrading people who have issues with insomnia where they’re
only getting two, three hours of sleep a day.

I’m not doing that at all because I know how that feels.]

But with Graves’ disease, this is not getting sleep sometimes for days.

In the thick of my disease, it was quite easy to not sleep for sometimes two or three days and then you might get an hour’s sleep.

There’s lots of other things going on with hormones and the battles of having an autoimmune disease.

So I know what it feels to have these issues where you’re not getting asleep.

And it’s not that you’re not getting sleep because you have so much energy that you can’t sleep.

It’s that absolutely lethargic feeling, the brain fog it’s all the other things that come along with it.

There’s numerous reasons why you might not be getting a good night’s sleep.

So I’m going to be talking about the benefits of dairy foods and sleep.

And the issues a lot of the times when it comes to sleep is due to a hormone called melatonin.

Melatonin is a hormone that we all produce when it starts to get dark.

So you might find that, around when it starts to get dark in your country, if that’s around eight, nine o’clock, you might find then that’s when you start to get sleepy.

And that’s all to do with what you call the circadian rhythms.

So circadian rhythms is helping us.

It’s what happens naturally to allow us to sleep.

But for some people, we are lacking in melatonin and so low melatonin production equals low quality sleep.

And that is usually what’s going on with a lot of people who are diagnosed with insomnia.

Right, so the reasons like I’ve said are numerous.

There’s numerous reasons why, I’ve given you an example with myself where I’ve had an issue with a disease that was causing my issues with sleep.

I’ve also had the other end where I have another disease…

[I mean I talk about these diseases,  I wouldn’t say that I’m suffering from these diseases currently.

I have another disease which is classed as a chronic illness as in that there’s no cure for it.

With that disease it was the opposite so it wasn’t insomnia it was more so that i was having too much sleep.

So I know what it’s like to be at both ends of the scale.

One huge reason for insomnia unfortunately is just getting older.

And so if you are in my age bracket over 40,it’s most likely that you are producing a lot less melatonin at that age than you were when you were a teenager.

So melatonin production reduces as we get older and I know it’s not fair that we’re getting
punished because we’re over 40 but that is just how it is.

Melatonin reduction is also associated with the following diseases…

So it’s also associated with dementia.

It’s associated with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

It’s associated with severe pain, cancer and diabetes.

So if you’re diagnosed with some of those sorts of things, you may have found that to come along with it, is insomnia.

And that’s because of chemical reactions.

Chemical reactions in the body that’s causing a low production of melatonin.

Right so dairy foods!

Dairy foods can be a huge help and the reason why is because dairy foods are rich in an amino acid, a protein called tryptophan.

Tryptophan is needed for melatonin production so by increasing dairy foods like milk, cottage cheese…

[Well cheese in general but I’m saying cottage cheese because it’s the healthier type of cheese.

And I’m saying it because I’m talking about foods that you could possibly be having prior to sleep.

Cheese generally is good but it does have a high fat content and it can be quite acidic as well, so it might be better for you to be looking at the cottage cheese route instead of looking at other types of cheeses.]

And there’s also yogurts.

So cottage cheese, milk, yogurts, very good form of dairy type foods.


So when’s it best to eat these types of foods?

And I’ve kind of given a hint to this already.

Well, if you can tolerate it…

[Because it all depends on you, for some people eating dairy foods might not be the best thing for them to be doing before bed, especially if they’re having issues with digestion.]

If you can tolerate it, one to two hours before bedtime would be fantastic!

So for me, as an example, I know that I couldn’t tolerate having milk and I’m not great with milk anyway, but that’s a conversation for another day.

For cow’s milk, to be exact, I’m not the best with milk.

So I know for me, if I was to have a milky drink before bed, it’s not going to be good for me.

But for you, if you can tolerate milk, then that would be a good thing.

A nice warm glass of milk before bed would be a good thing for you if that’s something that you can tolerate.

Cottage cheese with a slice of bread…

Now, the slice of bread can be very important.

It has been shown that if you have carbohydrates.

Bread would be classed as a carbohydrate!

If you’re having carbohydrates, then it can actually help with boosting sleep.

So carbohydrates with the amino acid tryptophan can help with absorption.

What tends to happen with amino acids (protein-based foods) there will be other proteins in the food.

Tryptophan is quite a weak amino acid so if you are having proteins on its own…

Let’s say you were just going to have
some cheese on its own, in your body there’ll be a fight.

There’ll be a fight between these amino acids, which one wants to get through.

And a lot of the time, tryptophan is the loser.

It’s not going to get through.

But if you have it with carbohydrate based foods it’s giving tryptophan a bit of a helping hand.

It helps it to get through from the gut into the bloodstream.

So cottage cheese with a slice of bread would be really good.

And then natural yogurt with a handful of fruits and a sprinkle of granola would be good

You’d be getting your carbohydrates in by having the granola.

That would be a really good choice.

So if you can manage that and you know that your body can tolerate it, I would say go for it.

See how that how that works.


So you might be asking…

Okay, if I do this, Cheryl, how long is it going to take?

And I’m going to reply…

How long is a piece of string?

Because with everything, everything that comes natural…

Anything that I talk about when it comes to natural kind of things it all does depend on…

The person.

So we both might do the same thing and you might find that you start seeing the results from it after a few days.

Whereas for me, it might be a few weeks.

So it’s not something that I can say that…

Yes, if you have this, then this is going to happen.

You’re going to feel the benefits of this straight away.

I can’t tell you that.

It’s something that you really have to go and try, and commit to it for maybe a few weeks,

It’s not something that you’re going to commit to for a few days and then if it doesn’t work after a few days you’re going to ditch it.

No, you have to really commit to this.

If you really want to see results, commit to a month and see how you get on before you ditch it.

Do a month before saying that it doesn’t work!

Because like I said, we’re all so different.

(00:08:06): KEEP A DIARY!
One thing that I would advise is to keep a diary.

So keep a diary to track your sleep.

Tracking how many times you wake up?

So when you’re doing this practice of maybe having your warm glass of milk, just jot down.

Did I get up?

How many times did I get up in the night?

Did I have a good sleep?

How did I wake up?

Did I feel refreshed when I woke up?

Or it may be that you felt pretty groggy when you woke up, but you found that you had this energy throughout the day.

So it’s things like that, that you could be recording in your diary.

And then over time, you can look back and then say, OK, maybe this is working.

Maybe by me having this warm glass of milk before bed, I’m seeing that two weeks ago I wasn’t really seeing or feeling the effects of it.

But now I am.

Because it’s very subtle when you’re making these dietary changes.

You have to really compare things to maybe how you were two, three months ago.

Instead of how you were yesterday.

That’s how you have to work with a lot of things naturally!

So go out there and have a go at increasing your dairy intake.

And fingers crossed you’ll get a better night’s sleep.

It’s probably not going to happen today.

And it’s probably not going to happen tomorrow.

But in weeks to come you might find that this could work for you.

So go out there and give it a go and see how things go.

So I will finish it up right there.

So have a fantastic day.

Have a go if you are somebody that has problems with sleeping.

Give these things a go.

I’m going to keep talking about sleep and over time I’ll be recommending nutrients as well.

Because there are vitamins, minerals, herbs and amino acids that can help with sleep but I won’t go into all that today.

So in time, I will recommend things like that as well.

So have a go at diet first.

Try the dairy.

See how that works.

And once you’re trying that, keep a diary.

Keep that diary and monitor and see how things are going.

OK, so you take care.

Have a fantastic, wonderful day.

Take care.

Bye bye for now,

Cheryl 👋 😃

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