Dreamcloud Sleep Fact-checking Process and Editorial Standards:
At Dreamcloud Sleep, our goal is to provide readers with information that not only meets the highest editorial standards but is also reliable, accurate, and free of bias. Our team of editors and sleep experts fact-check every article while ensuring that we only use reliable sources. We have zero tolerance towards plagiarism and towards content written with the intent to mislead.
- We only use reputable sources like medical journals, government-backed research and reports, and academic sites while writing our guides and articles.
- Each article or guide has a bibliography of the citations and links to original articles that we have used. All scientific claims and information is backed by at least one reputable source.
- Some articles feature links to other articles within the Nectar site. These links are provided to ease navigation and help you find relevant information about certain topics. These links are never cited as sources for scientific or medical data.
- All information that cannot be verified or is found to be inaccurate is removed by the editorial team or the medical experts who review each content piece before publishing.
- Plagiarism is against our policy and any writer or editor found violating the policy is reprimanded formally, while we work to rectify the content at once.
Poor sleep quality or any sleep difficulties, if left unattended can affect your health both physically and mentally. There are some light, but healthy bedtime snacks that help you rest easy and fall asleep quickly. This article mainly focuses on bananas! Why should you eat a banana before bed? Why are bananas good for sleep? How do bananas make you sleepy? Read on to know!
Benefits of Eating a Banana Before Bed
Bananas have it all in them! Below are seven things that explain what are bananas good for and how they help you sleep:
Boost Serotonin and Melatonin Production
Two hormones that play a key role in the sleep-wake cycle are serotonin and melatonin. They both are also known as sleep-inducing agents or sleep super twins. Vitamin B6 in bananas converts tryptophan to serotonin.
Serotonin is a hormone that regulates our mood and evokes feelings of well-being and happiness. It synthesizes melatonin - the sleep hormone. So, simply eating a banana before bed promotes relaxation and sleep naturally.
Reduce stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety delay the onset of sleep and decrease sleep time and efficiency. Research says that low levels of magnesium in the body are linked to stress and it can be lowered by supplying your body with magnesium.
A medium-sized banana offers you 8% of the daily recommended amount of magnesium. Eating bananas before bed regularly can calm your body, relax your mind and help you fall asleep faster.
Research shows evidence of magnesium deficiency in 50% of older adults suffering from insomnia. Magnesium supplements help beat insomnia by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitter - GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric acid).
GABA slows the brain waves, relaxes your mind and body, and induces sleep.
The soluble fiber in both ripe and unripe bananas is linked to improved digestion and constipation prevention. Moreover, the resistant starch in bananas works as a prebiotic for beneficial gut bacteria. Bacteria ferment resistant starch to produce butyrate, which supports intestinal function by reducing inflammation. Some studies link chronic intestinal inflammation to poor sleep.
Now, that explains how eating bananas can help people with digestive issues and poor sleep.
Reduce Blood Pressure
Potassium deficiency increases blood pressure, hypertension, and the risk of stroke - according to various studies. One regular-sized banana provides your body with a daily recommended amount of potassium. This mineral helps minimize the harmful effects of sodium in the body and regulate blood pressure.
Reduce Muscle Cramps
Potassium maintains sodium electrolyte balance in the body. The deficiency of this mineral causes muscle cramps and poor sleep performance. Bananas are rich in potassium and eating the fruit regularly can reduce nighttime cramps.
Ease Restless Leg Syndrome
People with Restless leg syndrome (RLS) have an uncontrollable urge to shake or move their legs and experience a tingling or uncomfortable sensation. It may even lead to chronic sleep deprivation.
Research shows that magnesium and iron can alleviate nighttime leg aches and cramps. Both the minerals are present in bananas. Eating a banana before bedtime can help ease RLS and promote restful sleep. Also know, that bananas don't cure RLS, the treatment for this disorder is still evolving.
How Do Nutrients in Bananas Help You Sleep?
The nutrients in an average medium-sized banana that are associated with better sleep are as follows:
- Fiber (3 gm)
- Carbohydrates (27 gm)
- Magnesium (32 )
- Potassium (422 mg)
- Vitamin B6 (0.433 mg)
- Vitamin C (10 mg)
- Tryptophan (0.11 g)
All these nutrients help regulate the timing of our body’s internal clock. Now, let's see how these nutrients in bananas help you sleep better:
Fibers and Carbs
Fibers and carbs satisfy your hunger pangs at night plus they don’t disturb your digestion late at night. Research shows that consuming high-carb food increases the time it takes for your body to fall asleep. The reason is that carbs improve the chances of converting tryptophan (entering into your brain through banana) into serotonin and melatonin.
- Magnesium improves insomnia and daytime wakefulness.
- Taking 500 mg of magnesium every day can reduce the levels of stress hormone - cortisol and increase the levels of sleep hormone - melatonin.
- Eating a banana before bedtime or foods rich in magnesium helps you fall asleep faster and increase your sleep time.
You can intake 10% of the daily recommended value of potassium by eating one regular-sized banana. People with hypertension experience poor sleep due to low potassium levels according to a study. Also, potassium deficiency can cause muscle cramps, which in turn significantly affects the quality of sleep.
While serotonin is a precursor to melatonin, tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin. Tryptophan in our brain converts into serotonin, which produces melatonin. Serotonin and melatonin work together to signal your body that it’s time to relax and sleep.
Although tryptophan is an essential amino acid, our body doesn’t synthesize it. Foods like bananas are rich in tryptophan. They
- Decrease the time it takes to fall asleep at night
- Increase sleep time
- Improve sleep efficiency
- Decrease wakefulness at night
Other Benefits of Eating a Banana Before Bed
Besides, helping you relax and sleep well, bananas have the following health benefits:
May Support Exercise Recovery
People who exercise a lot, sweat more and lose electrolytes. They are likely to experience muscle cramps and soreness. Bananas contain - essential nutrients like potassium and magnesium that act as electrolytes - which makes it a perfect food for athletes. Whether it is before, during, or after exercise, bananas supply excellent nutrition, as per research.
May Support Weight Loss
Fibers help in regulating the body’s appetite and weight loss. This could be the reason why chia seeds loaded with protein and fiber are so popular for weight loss. Bananas are rich in soluble fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals, which makes banana a wonderful addition to a weight loss plan. There is also scientific evidence that eating dietary fiber prevents overweight and obesity.
May Help You Feel Full
Hunger pangs at night are the worst. Eating a banana at bedtime can satisfy your hunger and help you feel full. Bananas are low in calories and contain soluble fibers and pectin, which together add bulk to your digestive system andmakes you feel full.
Improve Blood Sugar Levels
Rich in soluble fiber and resistant starch, bananas are excellent in regulating your blood sugar levels.
Foods to Avoid Before Bed
As per nutritionists and dietitians, you should avoid food high in salt, sugar, and saturated fat before bed. Caffeinated foods too!
Here are some foods to avoid before bed:
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
- Chocolates, coffee, and even decaffeinated drinks that contain caffeine
Caffeine disturbs the timing of our internal body clock and delays the onset of sleep. It blocks adenosine, a chemical that makes you sleepy at night, and signals the brain to stay awake.
Eating a banana before bed is healthy and is backed by scientific evidence. Loaded with lots of nutrients, vitamins, and sleep-promoting agents, bananas prepare your body for relaxing and comfortable sleep at night. So far there is no research that shows any disadvantages of eating a banana at night. Whole grains, eggs, and pistachios are some of the other satisfying foods that help you fall asleep quickly. But, avoid caffeinated or acidic, or fatty foods before bed as they are associated with less restorative sleep and cause poor quality sleep.