Relaxing nightcap

by Herbs, Etc.

No, not a shot of bourbon! Milk contains a chemical precursor of melatonin, nature’s sleep aid. Oats, almonds, and sesame seeds offer nutrients specific for relaxing your nervous system and making you sleepy. It makes sense that drinking beverages made from these foods before retiring would be soothing. Here’s how to make some delicious drinks to soothe the sleepless.


Warm 1 cup cow’s or goat’s milk to almost boiling. Reduce heat and add 1/4–1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Simmer a few more minutes, then strain and drink. This soothing beverage deeply relaxes your nervous system.


For those who can’t tolerate dairy, there are non-dairy alternatives that are equally as soothing. These two delicious beverages must be made ahead of the time you plan to enjoy them. Refrigerate them until use. Warm gently and add a pinch of nutmeg if you desire.

Sesame milk

Boil 1 cup water. Remove from the heat and add 2 level tablespoons of unhulled sesame seeds. Cover and let sit for 1–3 hours. Place the following in a blender: the sesame seeds and the soaking water, 1 teaspoon honey (you can substitute agave nectar or maple syrup), and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract. Blend at high speed for 30 seconds. Strain through muslin (cheesecloth is too porous).

Oat milk

Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of steel cut oats in 1 cup of water and soak for 6 hours. Place the oats and the soaking water in a blender, whiz for 30 seconds, and strain through muslin (cheesecloth is too porous). The resulting milk is naturally sweet, but if desired, you could add 1 teaspoon of honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup.