August 26, 2022
This bedtime sleep tonic recipe is both a remedy for better sleep and building overall vitality. Make this warming drink after dinner to satisfy a sweet tooth and help you wind down after a long day and prepare for deep sleep. Early to bed, early to rise with the sun.
Unwinding after a busy day can be challenging. When we go from constantly being on, filled with physical activity and/or mental activity, preparing the body and mind for sleep can feel nearly impossible. I have found that making my bedtime routine as cozy as possible helps my mind slow down, body relax, and promote a better nights sleep. This bedtime tonic recipe for better sleep is cozy, yummy, and filled with ingredients that can help aid in a good night’s rest.
According to Ayurveda, chronic or excessive stress depletes a precious substance in the body called ojas. Ojas is the subtle essence that provides our bodies with strength and immunity, and is said to support healthy sleep, vitality, and virility cycles. Many things deplete ojas in our life, including lack of sleep, stress, poor diet, irregular routine, and lack of loving connections, to name a few. Many nourishing activities help to restore this loss of vitality in our lives, including establishing healthy daily routines, incorporating wholesome building foods (like fresh sweet fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts/seeds, and healthy fats like ghee), meditation and mindful movement, and spending time in nature connecting with her rhythms.
In Ayurveda, there are certain foods and herbs that build ojas, and it all starts with milk. Warm cow’s milk consumed 30 minutes before bed is the best in promoting sleep as it induces calming hormones. If you are able to digest cow’s milk (and I realize many of us have trouble digesting it), try to look for a brand that is organic and non-homogenized; anything as close to your local farm is best! If you have trouble digesting cow’s milk, almond is also an ojas-enhancer according to Ayurveda, and grounding enough to help aid in sleep.
Nutmeg is a spice that is easy to find in grocery stores and is a powerful sleep aid.
Ghee is highly prized in Ayurveda for its ability to nourish and lubricate all the tissues of the body, and it is considered to be the essence of milk, and thereby the essence of motherly love. Ghee is a beloved healthy fat known to kindle digestion and support a balanced and robust metabolism. It’s made by boiling off the milk solids from unsalted butter, leaving only the golden oil behind. Having it before bed allows the body to digest the food from the day better, relieve stress, and allows the body to unwind.
Bring milk to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in nutmeg and cinnamon if using. Whisk vigorously to incorporate any clumps. Add ghee, reduce heat to low, and continue to cook until warmed through, 5–10 minutes (the longer you go, the stronger the medicine). Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in a splash of maple syrup if you want it a little bit sweet. Pour into a mug, drink warm, and climb right into bed.