In 2010, the German company Milchkristalle GmbH claimed it had developed a new nocturnal milk, which capitalized on a cow’s drowsiness to aid insomniacs around the world.
The company claims that when cows are milked between 2-4 AM, their milk contains about 25 percent more melatonin than regular milk. They now sell melatonin-rich nighttime crystal packets online for $35 per sixteen packets.
So what’s the science behind this unusual sleep aid?
Well, if you’ve ever been jet lagged beyond belief before or suffer from insomnia, you know that you can find melatonin tablets in the pharmacy aisles of your local grocery store. Melatonin is a chemical naturally produced in all mammals that regulates our biological rhythms, helping us stay on a sleep schedule that mimics the division between sunlight and darkness.
Melatonin is most heavily produced at nighttime, which adds validity to the company’s claim that cows milked in the early morning offer up a heftier dose of the chemical.
“Conditions for the cows have to be just right – light in the day and very low light conditions at night,” Company Manager, Tony Gnann, told The Guardian. The company claims one in three patients suffering from insomnia who have ingested night milk claimed to have found sleep relief.
However, when the product was introduced in 2010, and now as it’s being revisited, there are claims that the German company is really just selling an expensive, over-hyped placebo.
Tech.Mic attempted to debunk the company’s potential myth by breaking down the science of the claim. They found that the cows “showed 24 percent more tryptophan and almost 10 times as much melatonin as the day milk.”
Another important note in their findings:
“Tryptophan, contrary to the common Thanksgiving myth, is not a standalone sleeping agent. But tryptophan can be converted to serotonin, which contributes to feelings of happiness, and to melatonin, which promotes sleep and restfulness, as long as your stomach is empty.”
So, night milk could be scientifically viable. However, more research is still needed to completely prove or disprove the German company’s claims.
This is a case for our experts: American farmers and scientists across the nation, does night milk work?