Warm milk has long been touted as a sleep aid. It never sounded appealing to me because I’m not much of a milk drinker, in the first place. And warmed? Bleh. But then, I tried a drink called Golden Milk, which tastes a lot like Chai Tea Latte. Now, that I could do. Whether it was the warm milk or the addition of the spicy turmeric, I can’t say for sure, but this drink became my go-to sleep aid.
I’ll share it with you because, hello, sleep!
I didn’t know I had problems sleeping. It was something that crept up on me. I really thought I was sleeping because I was so tired when I went to bed. But what I didn’t realize is that I wasn’t reaching a deep sleep, or REM sleep, which is where our bodies reap the benefits of real sleep.
Without the deep sleep cycle, I began having problems getting up in the morning and feeling draggy without a substantial amount of coffee. Everyone else seemed to feel the same way, so wasn’t this normal? No, it wasn’t.
Eventually, I realized that part of my sleep problem was the result of pain. I slept because I was tired, but because I was dealing with a fair amount of joint and muscle pain caused by chronic inflammation, I tossed and turned quite a bit. I didn’t get to the deep sleep because I couldn’t relax enough. So, I started taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication every night. This helped, but it came at a price. Long-term use of many medications, especially pain relievers, cause significant side effects, such as liver and kidney damage.
When I realized that I might be causing a whole other set of potentially life-threatening problems, I started looking for alternatives to help with the pain management and sleep. Then, I stumbled across Golden Milk. What could this be?? Well, it’s milk (duh) with an addition of a spicy paste (which gives it the golden color) warmed up. When I drink about 4-6 ounces before bedtime, I sleep well with little pain. This seemed quite the miracle drink. So, here are the easy steps.
First, you make a paste of the spicy turmeric. The turmeric is what gives the milk the golden color. You want to be careful using this spice as it will stain anything it touches. Mixing it with water streamlines the process of making the drink and simplifies the handling of this somewhat messy spice.
Add 1/2 cup distilled water to a saucepan. Heat the water until it begins to bubble. Don’t let it boil, though. Add 1/4 cup ground turmeric to the water and stir with a whisk to completely mix the water and spice. Reduce the heat and continue stirring for 7-9 minutes. Gradually add water to keep the paste from drying out. You don’t want it too watery or too thick. Think thick paint. After you’ve heated and stirred the paste, remove the pan from the burner and let it cool. Scrape the paste into a small covered container and store in the refrigerator.
Now, you’ve got the base for your Golden Milk. Let’s make it for our bedtime toddy (minus the alcohol).
Pour about 6 ounces of the milk of your choice (cow, goat, almond, coconut) into a small saucepan and heat slowly. You want to be careful with this to avoid scorching the milk. Stir in about 1/2 tsp of the turmeric paste. Then, I sprinkle in black pepper, ground ginger, ground cardamom, and ground cinnamon. Sometimes, I might add nutmeg. I don’t have any specific measurements here. You’ll develop a feel for how spicy you like the drink and adjust accordingly. Stir the milk slowly to incorporate the spices on low heat to get a good steep for about 8-10 minutes. Do not boil the milk. I can’t stress that enough.
When the milk is ready, you can pour through a strainer, such as a coffee filter, to remove the powdered spices or leave it and let them sink to the bottom of the cup. Just don’t drink them with the last sip. It’s kind of like getting a mouth full of sand. Now, the drink is ready, but to make it more palatable, you’ll probably like to add a sweetener. You may use honey or maple syrup. No refined sugar or artificial sweetener. You can try Stevia if you like it, but I don’t really recommend any other sweetener than honey or maple syrup. You don’t have to add much, so the impact is minimal. Experiment with how sweet you like it, and use as little as you can.
This easy and tasty drink helped me through some rough times with sleeping and body aches. But my husband tried it, and it bothered his stomach. He has some digestive issues, and we think he may be sensitive to one of the spices.
Now, if you try Golden Milk and feel it does help but maybe not quite enough, you might look at a turmeric supplement. I take this in a capsule form during the day because I don’t want to drink the milk several times a day.
If you try this, let me know how it works for you.