Ah, the rush of the holidays is finally over. Now it’s time to curl up by the fire with a nice book at the close of the day and catch up on some much needed relaxation. And what better way to do so than with a good night's rest? Restful sleep can be hard to come by, but luckily, Ayurveda — the Indian sister science of Yoga — proposes a simple (and delicious) solution.
In Ayurveda — which translates to “the science of life” — food is our medicine. There are so many foods out there that combine to make the perfect sleep-promoting elixirs, and the most effective one is simpler to use than you’d think. This Ayurvedic nightcap beverage is so relaxing and easy to make, you’ll have to try it to believe it. Of all the Ayurvedic spices that are known to have sedating qualities for the body and mind, one of the most recommended for sleep is something you probably already have in your kitchen cabinet: nutmeg.
According to Ayurveda, nutmeg is used particularly in the autumn and winter months, as it is a heating spice with sedative benefits that helps balance the airy, cool, depressive qualities of this time of year. Nutmeg contains compounds that bring balance and calm to the central nervous system. These compounds not only help us feel less stressed, they also strengthen the digestive fire — called agni in Ayurveda — leading our bodies to better absorb nutrients from our food.
This sleep tonic only requires one other ingredient: cow's milk. According to Ayurveda, warm milk is one of the ultimate nourishing foods for us in the winter, promoting healthy tissues, a balanced nervous system, and overall health in the body and mind. Heating the milk is key, as boiling it helps to simplify the molecular structure of the milk, making it more easily digestible. For best results, try organic, non-homogenized milk. To make this simple Ayurvedic sleep elixir, follow the recipe below.
- 1 cup full-fat milk (can use a non-dairy substitute like almond milk or soy milk, if preferred)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch of cinnamon, optional
- Honey to taste, optional
- Bring milk to a boil on the stove, letting it bubble.
- Reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add in your nutmeg and stir until combined. Pour into a mug and add ground cinnamon, if preferred. If you’re using honey, be sure to let your milk cool down a bit before adding the sweetener.