If you have sleep or anxiety problems, you’re not alone. As we cap off a tumultuous political, social, and environmental year, more and more of us have a hard time shutting our brains off at night. There are many remedies for insomnia—yoga, eating sweet potatoes (yes, really!)—but few are as pretty as Moon Milks.
Moon Milks are based on the ayurvedic tradition of sipping warm milk to ground your body before slipping off to sleep—think of them as lattes designed for the evening. While simply drinking warm milk might have been enough in the old days, influencers these days are using a bevy of add-ins to (literally) spice things up. These elements add functional benefits, flavor, and often turn the drink those pastel, Insta-perfect tones you may have spotted on your feed.
The main feature of Moon Milks? Adaptogens. Adaptogens have been growing in popularity in recent years, thanks to brands like Moon Juice and Sun Potion, and certain ones, like ashwagandha, have been clinically proved to significantly reduce stress. In one study, it was shown to be as powerful as lorazepam, a prescription anxiety drug. “It starts as a feeling similar to a hand resting on my upper back or the base of my neck,” says Carlene Thomas, R.D. (and Next Great Nutritionist winner!), who swears by the ayurvedic herb. “It quiets the noise in my brain so I can stop worrying about whatever is distracting or stressing me out.”
Mushrooms are also popular add-ins, particularly calming varieties like reishi. Amanda Paa, of the blog Heartbeet Kitchen, uses tart cherry juice for its natural melatonin, while Instagram influencer Alison Wu will add hormone-balancing shatavari. Collagen has been shown to help with sleep, and its high protein will keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the night—important because, according to holistic psychiatrist Ellen Vora, M.D., many 2 a.m. wake-ups are actually due to crashing blood sugar.
You can make a golden-milk-themed moon milk, a spiced cinnamon one, or even mix in berries for a subtle sweet flavor. The only rule? Keep it caffeine-free (yes, that includes chocolate!) so you’re able to sweetly drift off to sleep.