If you’re like the one-third of Americans that are sleep deprived, you might walk around all day feeling exhausted and zombie-like, only to find that when your head hits the pillow, you can’t fall asleep as quickly as you’d like. How frustrating!
While several issues could be the reason you’re not dead asleep within minutes—like drinking alcohol, eating spicy foods, playing around on your phone before bed—there are some natural ways to fall asleep faster. And some of them are pretty delicious, like incorporating the sassy spice, turmeric.
The rise of the spice
You’ve probably heard about this Indian spice in recent years or saw health bloggers’ and lifestyle influencers’ social media posts with images of them drinking “golden milk,” a yellow-hued, tea-like beverage made with turmeric, coconut milk (or almond milk or cashew milk), cinnamon, and peppercorn (click here for the recipe). Using this spice might seem like a recent trend, but those practicing Ayurvedic medicine have been using turmeric for thousands of years to cure health woes and aid in digestion.
This yellow-hued spice has become more en vogue to use in foods and beverages—mainly because it contains a heck of a lot of health benefits. It’s the curcuminoids (curcumin) in turmeric that have anti-inflammatory properties. That’s why turmeric is used as a supplement to help people with problems related to pain, like rheumatoid arthritis, as well as breathing problems, reducing skin irritation, and helping with cardiovascular issues.
Sleepytime with turmeric
So how can turmeric help you sleep? Is golden milk the answer to your tossing and turning?
You may have heard that having warm milk before bedtime can help you fall asleep. Although that’s mostly anecdotal and psychological—calling to mind those warm, fuzzy feelings you had if your mother did this for you as a child before bed—it’s thought that foods and beverages that contain the amino acid tryptophan (found in milk and coconut milk) make you sleepy. That’s because tryptophan helps your body make that feel-good hormone serotonin. Then, serotonin can be converted to melatonin, the sleep hormone. So if you’re fixing yourself a mug of milk before bed (warm or not), you may already be on your way to snoozetown faster. Pair that with those healing properties of turmeric in a golden milk recipe, and you may notice that you feel more relaxed and fall asleep faster.
If you do experience a few nights where you’re not sleeping well, consider sprinkling turmeric on foods throughout the day. One rodent study found that turmeric might protect the body from damage done by sleep deprivation.
Our only warning
Be careful when cooking with turmeric because that bright yellow spice can stain clothes, countertops, and dishes! If you plan on sipping some golden milk in bed, make sure to protect your mattress from unsightly stains with our waterproof Mattress Protector.