Cows' 'Night Milk' May Help You Fall Asleep
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Hey there, Ari.
SHAPIRO: What's better for falling asleep than a glass of warm milk?
SHAPIRO: A glass of warm night milk...
CORNISH: Night milk?
SHAPIRO: ...Is better. Yeah, night...
CORNISH: Is that a thing?
SHAPIRO: Night milk is a thing.
SHAPIRO: Researchers tested the milk from cows that were milked at night. They looked for tryptophan and melatonin, two of the things that make people fall asleep. And...
SAMPATH PARTHASARATHY: The results are astounding. The nighttime-collected milk had almost ten times more melatonin as compared to daytime-collected milk.
SHAPIRO: That was the editor of the Journal Of Medicinal Food which published the study. His name is Dr. Sampath Parthasarathy.
PARTHASARATHY: I go by the name Dr. Sam (laughter).
SHAPIRO: Dr. Sam says the researchers found that night milk also made mice that consumed it sleepy.
CORNISH: What? All right, how did they come to this?
SHAPIRO: Well, they fed mice two kinds of milk powder - one collected during the day, the other collected at night. And here I have to quote from the research paper. "Night milk-treated animals exhibited impaired motor balance and coordination." In other words, don't drink night milk and drive.
PARTHASARATHY: This will be a very exciting finding for many people who are often sleep-deprived who have a wakening pattern in the night.
SHAPIRO: But Dr. Sam was quick to add that night milk has not yet been tested on humans.
CORNISH: Right. And most milk you buy in the supermarket is pooled anyway, so there's no guarantee what time of day it was procured. So this may not be a helpful strategy for insomniacs out there - unless you have your own cow handy.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NIGHT WORK")
SCISSOR SISTERS: (Singing) Night work, got to do the night work. Punch that clock and... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.