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Myth busting two common insomnia cures

Any time we hear the phrase insomnia cure, we cringe and reach for a fistful of salt. Most of the supposed insomnia cures we come across are either gimmicks or complete myths that reflect the lack of understanding society has about insomnia. However, we do come across (and share) some interesting research from time to time.

That's what makes Insomnia Land different from other insomnia related websites - we are honest and genuine; not afraid to call out products looking to make a quick buck, and always providing a source link to any research or scientific information we come across.

Today we want to take another look at two of the most common supposed insomnia cures: counting sheep and drinking milk before bed. As we've previously written, a study found that those who counted sheep took longer to fall asleep than those who did nothing at all. As for drinking milk before bed, that's a little more complicated; milk does contain tryptophan but the amounts are so tiny that it's reasonable to say that there is no scientific evidence to support the theory that milk before bed will help you sleep.

We think it's fair to say that these recommendations should be ignored; they're just a symptom of society's ignorance and lack of understanding of insomnia.

Stick around at Insomnia Land if you want real insomnia advice and real insomnia support.

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Last updated: August 26, 2011

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

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  • Edward J. Edmonds
    June 23, 2012, 8:49 pm

    I think that milk can help but not because of the tryptophan. Milk contains enough B6 to convert the tryptophan to niacin. But I do think the fat in milk (whole milk) when it does help is the reason. Dairy cream I’ve found to help (over 30% fat). About 250mL drank right before bedtime gives the body enough fatty acids to lower the stress hormones and get through the night. Some people also recommend milk and honey. Milk never has worked 100% of the time. Neither has milk and honey. But cream and salt have definitely gotten me to sleep 90% of the time.

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  • A. Marina Fournier
    August 27, 2011, 3:10 am

    Counting sheep may be boring, but it’s keeping your active brain engaged, which, for me at least, is a no-no.

    Maybe if you drank a quart of milk, the milk sugars would bludgeon you to sleep, or perhaps it’ll be the full tummy. Not useful for the lactose-intolerant or celiacs, and I don’t drink soy or nut milks, thus rendering me unable to pontificate about their sleep qualities.

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