Atole At Bedtime For Better Sleep

Tired of herbal tea at bedtime? Want to try something else to help you sleep?

Warm milk or atole (warmed milk with corn starch) might be what you’re looking for.

Warm milk has all of the same nutrients as cold milk, but the heat used for warming the milk causes sleep-promoting compounds to get unlocked. Warming the milk makes the sleep promoting compounds are ready to be used by your body.

Served hot, milk is as tasty as it is when it’s served cold. If you’re looking for additional flavor or something different, think about making your warmed milk into atole, a milk drink with cornstarch.

Avoid atole mixes with a bunch of sugar!  You’re going to bed. You don’t need that. Sugar is energy and the extra sugar may make you feel wired, counteracting the sleep-promoting effect. Almost everyone needs to avoid carbohydrates. ilk with a bunch of sugar or corn syrup added is definitely going to add a lot of them to your diet.

Dozens of atole recipes on the Internet call for dark sugar.

As an alternative, if you feel like you absolutely have to have additional flavoring, you can add some strawberry, banana, or chocolate flavoring to a cornstarch powder like Maizena. When I feel like I need a boost to my ability to fall asleep, I’ll add a bit of pulverized unsweetened chocolate or carob chips. Milk has natural sugars anyway.

Heating the milk

Unfortunately, unlike boiling water, getting milk hot takes a little more attention. I find this is a disadvantage to choosing atole as a bedtime drink as opposed to an herbal tea.

If you put a pan of milk on a burner, heat it, and let it go, it’s likely to scald. This means the milk develops a thick skin and tastes terrible.

Whether you heat the milk in a microwave or on a stove, you’re going to need to watch it. That means stirring.

Conversely, if you find atole really helps you sleep better at night, you might want to invest in an inexpensive milk frother.

You don’t have to be locked into any one bedtime ritual. Variety can add a lot of interest in life. Warmed milk made into atole can be just the thing to send yourself to bed with.

While you can find atole mixes at some supermarkets in the United States, your best bet might still be a grocery store that serves a Hispanic community.

The best atole recipe

The best atole recipe—especially if you’re going to drink it at bedtime—is found right on the box of Maizena (corn starch). You don’t need all the sugar of the recipes featured on the Internet. All you need is the warm milk and corn starch.

It reads:

To prepare one quart of atole:

  • Bring one quart of milk to a boil in a saucepan.
  • Meanwhile, dissolve three tablespoons of Maizena in 1/2 cup of cold milk or water.
  • Stir the cold mixture into the boiling milk and boil about two minutes, stirring constantly.

Making a mug of sleep-promoting atole is that simple.

The best atole recipe is found on the side of a box of Maizena. The Spanish language recipe is featured first, followed by the English-language translation.

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James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse, the founder of the Dream Recovery System, and has sought and found sleep-promoting snacks for over 50 years. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life. 


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