How this melatonin-rich milk could help insomniacs sleep easy
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in milk, but four times as much of it is produced if the cows are milked during specific points in their sleep cycles, the producers of Lullaby Milk say.
Lullaby Milk is produced on the Ardrahan Farm, which is situated in the village of Kanturk in north-west Cork.
The farm is home to a 120-cow Pedigree Friesian herd that is milked before daybreak to produce the melatonin-rich milk.
The cows are milked in the dark at 2.00am during the summer and 4.00am during the winter, when the levels of their sleep-regulating hormone melatonin are higher.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in milk, but four times as much of it is produced if the cows are milked during specific points in their sleep cycles, according to the farm owners Gerald and Julian Burns.
The morning milk is kept separate to the evening milk in a separate milk tank. The milk produced before daybreak is brought to the North Cork Creameries to be processed and bottled and the milk is process at 5.00am, before the conventional milk is brought in, according to Gerald.
Lullaby Milk was the brainchild of Gerald's late father, Eugene. He stumbled across the research of Finnish professor Maija Valtonen, who studied the effects of melatonin-rich milk and sleep disorders.
After Eugene passed on, Gerald came home from college and took off where his father had left, he went about making the ‘sleep-cure’ on his home farm.