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Moon Milk Is the Delicious All-Natural Sleep Aid Taking Over Your Instagram Feed

Experts weigh in on the Instagram-friendly wellness trend

Instagram is a total breeding ground for all the latest viral food trends, as we all remember when mermaid toast and sushi burgers took over our feeds quite vividly. Now, moon milk seems to be the latest food craze and Instagram users can't seem to stop sharing images of pastel-tinged milk, decorated with pretty edible flowers and other attractive-looking herbs.

A post shared by Nutra Organics (@nutraorganics) on Feb 20, 2018 at 1:30am PST

If you're wondering what moon milk is and what exactly it does for the body, nutritionist and author Lisa Young says that it's a warm milk-based beverage that is consumed an hour before bedtime to help promote sleep. And thanks to its holistic and drug-free appeal, it has become quite popular amongst people who are looking for natural alternatives to over-the-counter sleep aids.

To make moon milk, wellness educator and Ayurvedic expert Lara Plumb says that it's all about what kinds of herbs and spices you add to your mug. She recommends boiling some dairy or coconut milk and blending it with some ghee and ayurvedic adaptogens like ashwagandha. She also advises adding sleep-enhancing spices to your milk, like nutmeg, black pepper and ginger. And if you're looking to bring some anti-inflammatory properties to your mug, Young also recommends adding in some turmeric, which can help alleviate inflammation in the body.

A post shared by Jordan Taylor (@jordanyounis) on Mar 22, 2018 at 2:53pm PDT

Drinking your way to better sleep may seem a little far-fetched, but Young says there is some merit behind moon milk. It's relaxing (warm milk contains the amino acid tryptophan) and can provide protein and calcium, depending on the milk you choose.

Certified sleep coach Chris Bratner says it's debatable if moon milk actually puts you to sleep, but that the placebo here is a pretty powerful one. "Scientifically speaking, the jury's still out, but this much we do know: even if you just think the drink works to help you sleep, it just might," Bratner says. "I strongly believe that the placebo effect in many cases is enough to help people sleep better. You think the drink is going to help you get to sleep, so it does."

Some downsides to the beverage include the extra calories, so Young recommends using low-fat varieties of milk if you are going to give this a try. It's also wise not to add sugar, which can cause a counterproductive effect and keep you awake throughout the night. And though adaptogens can treat your body to some benefits, registered dietitian Lauren Manaker says that some adaptogens have not been studied for safety in pregnant women, so it's best to avoid certain ingredients until your little one is finally born.

A post shared by YOU magazine (@youmagsocial) on Jun 15, 2018 at 8:09am PDT

Moon milk may or may not help restless sleepers finally get some shut-eye, but Bratner definitely feels the trend is a step in the right direction, especially since the number of sleep disorders present in the United States has been steadily rising.

"The fact that people are taking time to make these drinks before bedtime means they are focusing on their sleep hygiene or behaviors that affect the quality of sleep," Bratner says. "Specifically, if they are making and drinking moon milk before bed, they're engaging in a calming bedtime routine, which can help calm you down, relieve stress and reduce anxiety - all of which can help you wind down for sleep."


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