Bananas (Musa) are a highly recommended mid-evening snack for people who struggle to sleep and those who engage in vigorous daytime activities, like tennis.
They contain magnesium, potassium, and tryptophan, all promoting better sleep. Tryptophan (an amino acid) causes the brain to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates melatonin.
The hormone melatonin controls our circadian rhythms, making us sleepy in dark rooms. Bananas may also reduce stress and anxiety, prevent muscle cramps, and lower blood pressure.
You’re likelier to sleep better if you’re healthier and have a more robust immune system.
Bananas are an excellent source of nutrients, including vitamins B6 and C, potassium, magnesium, manganese, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber.
Do Bananas Keep You Awake At Night?
Bananas provide quick-release energy due to their natural sugars (sucrose, fructose and glucose). This energy subsides, allowing the body to relax due to melatonin when exposed to darkness.
Bananas are nutrient-dense and contain fiber, so the body takes about 2 hours to fully digest them. They’re a natural sleep aid, promoting restfulness and sleep.
How Long Before Going To Bed Should I Eat A Banana?
Most sleep experts recommend eating about 3 hours before bedtime, giving the body enough time to digest food. This removes the risk of bloating and acid reflux when lying down.
Bananas are beneficial for sleep, but you must still practice good sleep hygiene by:
- Establish a regular bedtime that you can follow each night.
- Avoiding TV, cell phones, and laptop screens for 1 hour before bed.
- Take a warm shower before bedtime.
- Clearing the mind of the day’s family and work-related stresses.
How Many Bananas Should I Eat Before Bed?
One banana is sufficient to induce sleep. You can eat 2 small bananas, but the more you eat at night, the harder your body must work to digest food, which is self-defeating.
A medium-sized banana has about 105 calories, while the average person burns 50 calories an hour when resting. According to Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, we all have different metabolic rates.
Why Does Eating a Banana Before Bed Help You Sleep?
Here’s why eating bananas before bed can be beneficial for sleep:
Think back to your Thanksgiving dinner, and you’ll recall feeling sleepy. While the size of the meal was a significant factor, the presence of tryptophan contained in turkey is the main culprit.
A medium-sized banana contains approximately 11 milligrams of the amino acid tryptophan.
According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, tryptophan reaches the brain’s pineal gland and releases serotonin. Then, serotonin encourages the body to produce melatonin.
Melatonin makes us sleepy because it controls our circadian rhythms. This hormone tells us to sleep when it’s dark and awaken when the sun rises. This is why a banana at night makes us sleepy.
It’s not just tryptophan in a banana that induces sleepiness. Bananas are also high in magnesium, which the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences describes as a natural remedy for insomnia.
Magnesium reduces stress and anxiety at bedtime. When we consume a food high in magnesium, the hypothalamus ceases releasing adrenaline and cortisol, the so-called stress hormone.
Magnesium also manages levels of Gamma-Aminobytric acid (GABA). If levels of GABA are sufficient, the brain waves slow down. This promotes a slower heart rate and fewer racing thoughts.
You may experience acid reflux when lying down before fully digesting your meal. While sleeping on your left-hand side assists with digestion, eating a banana can make you more comfortable.
Bananas are high in histamines, which are also generated by the body. When we eat a banana, the body releases histamines, generating phlegm in the stomach lining.
Phlegm acts as a protective barrier between the stomach lining and throat.
Bananas contain potassium, which can prevent cramps from taking hold.
By relaxing the muscles, potassium minimizes muscular cramps and spasms at night. A banana may be beneficial if you wake yourself up by tossing, turning, kicking, and knee-jerking.
According to the International Journal of Pharmacology, potassium is particularly effective if you have Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). A banana can calm or reduce the symptoms.
The potassium in bananas lowers blood pressure. This means you’ll feel more comfortable climbing into bed without a racing heart, headache, palpitations, and shortness of breath.
High blood pressure can increase your body temperature, making it difficult to fall asleep.
Bananas are high in fiber, resulting in a prolonged and steady release of energy.
The flavor of a banana should satisfy your sweet tooth, meaning you won’t crave cakes or cookies late at night, and you’ll feel that your stomach is full and sated.
Can I Brink Banana Milk Before Bed?
If you dislike the taste of pure banana, you may wonder if you can drink banana milk. This is inadvisable because a store-bought banana milkshake will be high in sugar.
The last thing you want at night is a spike in blood sugar and a racing heart and mind. A sugar crash will invariably follow, which isn’t the same as natural, restful sleep.
Consider making banana tea if you want to take your evening banana in liquid form.
Chop up a banana, including the peel, and add it to a pot of boiling water for around 10 minutes until it’s liquid. A teaspoon of cinnamon will add enticing flavor and aroma.
The later at night you drink liquids, the likelier you are to use the bathroom overnight.
Is Eating Banana At Night Good or Bad?
Eating a banana in the evening is a positive if you want to enjoy a restful night’s sleep. However, avoid eating bananas before bed if one or more of the following apply:
- You have a cold or respiratory infection. As mentioned, bananas encourage the stomach lining to generate mucus, which you’ll have in abundance.
- You’re asthmatic or prone to sleep apnea because phlegm production can restrict easy breathing.
- You’ve brushed your teeth or are concerned about tooth decay due to the natural sugars in fruit.
- You have a sensitive stomach. Bananas can cause bloating and gas, affecting comfort levels.
People with kidney problems shouldn’t eat bananas because they’re high in potassium. The kidneys can’t remove the excess potassium from the blood via urine, meaning it re-enters the bloodstream.
Also, avoid eating a banana late at night if you need to drive a vehicle or operate machinery. Eating bananas can leave some people feeling sluggish and lethargic.
Eating bananas to excess can cause hyperkalemia due to their high potassium content.
If you sometimes struggle with sleep or are a regular insomniac, consider eating a medium-sized banana about 3 hours before bedtime to see if it’s beneficial.