Drinking warm milk before bed may help you relax, but there is no evidence that milk makes you sleepy. The drowsiness some people experience may be more from the warmth of the milk or a full stomach than the physical effect of any compound in milk.
The ‘milk myth’ may have persisted because milk has small amounts of tryptophan, the raw material the brain uses to build both serotonin and melatonin. These are compounds that help us relax and prepare for sleep. However, there is not enough tryptophan in a normal serving of milk to cause any real drowsiness.
If you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, contact your family physician or call UAMS to set up an appointment for your primary care needs with one of our Internal Medicine physicians.