5 Nightcap drink ideas to make you sleepy for bed
Do you enjoy a good nightcap drink? If you love the ritual of sipping on something to help you wind down before bed, we’re here to help you mix things up and make the perfect bedtime brew to help you sleep.
What is a nightcap?
A nightcap is a drink that is consumed just before bedtime. It can be anything from a glass of warm milk with honey to an alcoholic beverage.
However, alcohol can interfere with your sleep quality in different ways, like narrowing your airways and reducing the amount of melatonin you produce (which is why we’re sticking to non-alcoholic drinks in this article).
Benefits of drinking a nightcap before bed
The ritual of sipping on a drink before bed helps reduce stress and trains your brain to start associating your nightcap with sleep. You can get even more sleep-promoting benefits if you choose your drink well, like herbal tea with relaxation properties or a nightcap made with tryptophan-rich milk.
If you opt for a warm drink, it can create a distended, stretched-out feeling in your stomach, which can have a relaxing effect on your body and mind.
5 Ideas for the perfect nightcap
Ready to learn how to make the perfect bedtime drink? Here are a few ideas to sip on to help improve your sleep at night.
1. Hot chai tea
Few things come close to a good cup of chai tea. If you haven’t indulged in this hot beverage before, you simply must try it.
The perfect chai tea spice blend, the aromas, and the relaxing effect of sipping on a hot beverage can really help you relax before bed.
If you have a hot chai tea as part of your pre-bed ritual each night, your brain will start to associate the smell of your tea with preparing for sleep.
2. Warm milk
Nothing provides comfort before bed like a glass of warm milk, especially if you add a teaspoon of honey to it.
What makes milk so wonderful for promoting sleep is that it is a source of the amino acid tryptophan, as well as carbohydrates.
Tryptophan is used by the brain to make serotonin and melatonin. Carbohydrates make it easier for your body to absorb tryptophan.
3. Hot chocolate
Skip the sugary hot chocolate you buy in the store and choose a low-sugar alternative instead. The last thing you want is a sugar rush before bed.
You can learn how to make a low-sugar hot chocolate at home. You can also try to find hot chocolate powder from health food stores made with healthy ingredients like cacao, collagen powder, and even mushroom powders with many health benefits.
If you can find a collagen-infused hot chocolate powder, try it. Collagen is made from the amino acids proline and glycine. Glycine can improve your sleep quality, reduce the time it takes for you to fall asleep, and potentially reduce daytime sleepiness.
You can also buy gelatin (which is pure collagen) or a collagen creamer and add it to your hot chocolate.
Here is a healthy hot chocolate recipe to make tonight:
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tbsp honey or sweetener of choice
- 40g dark chocolate
Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan, and allow the mixture to slowly come to a boil. Add in the honey and dark chocolate and keep stirring until all the ingredients have melted.
4. Herbal tea
Become a tea connoisseur and experiment with different sleep teas that have relaxing effects on the body. Ones you should definitely try include:
- Lavender tea
- Chamomile tea
- Decaffeinated green tea
- Peppermint tea
- Valerian root tea
5. Golden Milk
Golden milk gets its beautiful colour from the spice turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce any pain that is keeping you up at night.
You can use a plant-based or soy milk to make golden milk, but cow or goat’s milk that contains tryptophan will provide extra sleep-promoting benefits.
Pro-tip: pair it with black pepper to increase the bioavailability of the curcumin in turmeric, which gives it its anti-ageing properties.
So, how do you make golden milk?
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 cup of milk, any unsweetened kind
- 1 tsp honey (you can also use a sweetener like stevia)
- 1 pinch black pepper
- ½ tsp cinnamon
Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Whisk in the remaining ingredients until dissolved. Strain into a mug and enjoy.
Good sleep starts with good habits. Eat foods that promote sleep, like fatty fish, cheese, eggs, nuts and yogurt. Then finish the evening with a nice cup of herbal or chai tea, hot chocolate, some golden milk or some warm milk with honey.
Anyone up for a nightcap?