Think back to when you were a child tossing and turning in bed. Did your mom heat up a mug of milk to warm your belly and lull you back to sleep? According to recent holistic trends popping up on social media, the Ayurvedic tradition continues to thrive, but the recipe for how to make moon milk has gotten a serious makeover. Gone are the days when this liquid sleep potion was a portion of milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Not only have we enhanced the benefits of a warm glass of milk, but we’ve also made the drink picture-perfect, as well.
Just when you think you’ve nailed this whole holistic lifestyle thing, the health and wellness gurus of the world one-up you by taking your mother’s home sleep remedy and making it Insta-worthy. As pretty as these pastel-tinted sips are, though, the real stars of moon milk are the different adaptogens each individual recipe calls for.
Not up to date on adaptogens? Allow me to explain: Adaptogens have certainly made a name for themselves in 2017, making cameos in influencers' smoothie bowls, morning matcha, cups of tea, and now, apparently, milky bevs. These herbal supplements come in powdered, liquid, and capsule variations, and are known for their stress-relieving superpowers, among other benefits like mental clarity, lower blood pressure, and boosting your immune system.
So, why should you drink moon milk before bed?
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, there’s a pretty good chance that the reason you can’t just shut your eyes and automatically snooze is because your body’s too busy. Whether you’re stressed over the last assignment of the semester that your final grade depends on, paperwork at the office is piling up, or you aren’t seeing eye-to-eye with a loved one, chances are the anxiety of it all is keeping you awake at night.
Nightcaps have long been part of people's bedtime routines, but science has debunked the long-standing myth that sipping alcohol before bed is actually beneficial to you. In October 2016, Huffington Post reported that having a glass of wine (or anything harder) to enhance your slumber will actually do just the opposite, causing you to wake up in the middle of the night, and most likely feel crummy in the a.m.
So rather than clinging to the idea that a cold beer can ease your mind, I highly recommend testing out a recipe for a frothy, warm mug of moon milk. The trick, according to MindBodyGreen, is to keep the bev caffeine-free.
When Bon Appétit senior designer Alaina Sullivan was experimenting with herbal remedies to cure her sleep deprivation, she developed her own golden moon milk recipe to sip on before winding down for the evening. "Warm milk," she explained, "is a common remedy for sleeplessness," and by adding in plant materials, she also reaped the benefits of their healing qualities, too.
You can choose adaptogens to add to your moon milk based on the health benefits you're looking for.
Adaptogen brands like Moon Juice, Sun Potion, and Gaia Herbs sell all kinds of quirky adaptogens you can spoon into your nighttime drink. By familiarizing yourself with these herbs, you’ll be able to choose the one that’s right for your body’s needs.
Ashwagandha, for example, is derived from a plant in the nightshade family and, according to The Chopra Center, is one of the “most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing.” It’s best known for its calming properties, and is used to relieve symptoms of stress, fatigue, and lack of energy. Other adaptogens, such as reishi mushrooms (Four Sigmatic’s blend is a popular one), and rhodiola are also known to reduce anxiety.
Maca powder is also a popular adaptogen powder that's added to smoothies, teas, and even baking recipes to improve mental clarity, while turmeric is recognized as having some adaptogenic properties, as well.
Once you have all your ingredients, moon milk is super simple to make.
After you've gathered all of the necessary ingredients, warming up a mug of moon milk should only take a few minutes out of your routine, so you can easily enjoy your time snuggled up on the couch with Netflix or under the covers with a book in hand.
One quick internet search will add up to countless recipes from golden to lavender milks, but this pink moon milk from Amanda Paa of Heartbeet Kitchen is probably my personal favorite. I mean, do you see that aesthetic? If any beverage is worthy of an Instagram upload, this is it.
This specific recipe calls for minimal, super healthy ingredients, like almond milk, tart cherry juice, honey, and ashwagandha powder, but the best part of making moon milk is that any recipe can be tweaked to your liking. Plus, there are a ton of options to sip on and enjoy until you find the one that lulls you to sleep.