Bananas are a good snack to eat at night if you struggle with sleeplessness and insomnia. Bananas contain magnesium, potassium, and tryptophan, all promoting better sleep.
Tryptophan (an amino acid) encourages the brain to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates melatonin. This hormone manages the circadian rhythms, leaving you feeling sleepy in a dark room.
Bananas have a range of other benefits that make sleeping easier, including less stress and anxiety, reduced muscle cramps, and lower blood pressure.
Avoid eating a banana at night if you need to stay awake or concentrate, as it could make you sluggish. People with asthma or sleep apnea should also avoid bananas at night, as they encourage the stomach to generate phlegm, making breathing harder.
Do Bananas Keep You Awake at Night?
Bananas are dense and high in fiber, so it takes a while for the body to digest them. Eating anything too close to bedtime will keep you awake at night.
Bananas are considered a natural sleep aid, helping many people drift into a natural and peaceful night of rest when incorporated into a sleep hygiene routine at night.
How Long Before Going to Bed Should I Eat a Banana?
Most experts recommend avoiding eating for around three hours before bed, giving your body enough time to digest food, and reducing the risk of bloat or acid reflux when lying down.
Most people can get away with eating a banana closer to bedtime. Give yourself 60-90 minutes, and you should be okay. Bananas will help, but you should still practice sleep hygiene by:
- Establishing a regular bedtime that you can largely adhere to each night.
- Avoiding screens for around an hour before getting into bed.
- Take a bath, shower, or wash your feet to lower your body temperature.
- Clearing your mind of the day’s stresses and worries so you’re not taking them into the bedroom.
How Many Bananas Should I Eat Before Bed?
One banana should be sufficient to help you sleep. You can consider two bananas if they’re small, but the more you eat at night, the harder your body needs to work to digest.
A medium-sized banana has 100 calories, and the average person burns 50 calories per hour while at rest. As per Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, we have different metabolic rates while sleeping.
Why Does Eating a Banana Before Bed Help You Sleep?
Here are the reasons why banana consumption aids sleep:
Cast your mind back to your Thanksgiving dinner. You likely felt extremely sleepy and sluggish after eating a turkey dinner. While the sheer size of the meal may have played a part in that, the presence of tryptophan in turkey is a significant factor.
Tryptophan is also abundant in bananas. According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, tryptophan reaches the brain’s pineal gland and releases serotonin. Serotonin then encourages the body to create melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.
Melatonin makes us sleepy because it controls circadian rhythms. This is the sleep-and-wake cycle that governs all living things. The hormone tells us to sleep when it’s dark and to wake up when the sun rises. This is why a banana at night makes us sleepy.
It’s not only tryptophan in a banana that makes us sleepy. These fruits 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 rich 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 in the body are sufficient, the brain waves slow down – leading, in turn, to a slower heart rate and fewer racing thoughts.
You may struggle with acid reflux if you lie down before fully digesting a meal.
While sleeping on your left-hand side can help with digestion, consuming a banana at night can make you considerably more comfortable.
Bananas are high in histamines, which are also generated by the body. When we eat a banana, the body releases histamines, leading to the generation of phlegm in the stomach lining.
This phlegm acts as a protective barrier between the stomach lining and throat, preventing stomach acids from traveling as much as possible.
This can help you relax after consuming a heavy meal or anything else that has agitated the stomach.
Cramps can keep anybody awake at night. Thankfully, bananas contain potassium, which can prevent cramps from taking hold. Eating a banana will usually act as a preventative measure against cramps.
By relaxing the body’s muscles, potassium will minimize tics and spasms at night. If you’re prone to waking yourself up by tossing, turning, kicking, and knee-jerking, a banana will make this less likely.
As confirmed by the International Journal of Pharmacology, potassium is particularly effective if you live with restless leg syndrome. A banana will likely go some way toward calming the symptoms.
The potassium in bananas lowers blood pressure. This means that you’re likelier to feel comfortable when you climb into bed without a racing heart and the feeling of an unfinished day.
Perhaps more pertinently, high blood pressure can increase your body temperature when it comes to sleep, making it difficult to fall asleep. By eating a banana, you’ll find it easier to doze off.
One of the main advantages of bananas at night is that they’re high in fiber, producing a prolonged and steady release of energy.
The flavor of a banana should satisfy any sweet tooth, so you won’t crave cakes or cookies late at night, and you’ll feel that your stomach is full and sated.
This feeling of comfort, coupled with the reaction of the circadian rhythms thanks to melatonin, will help you feel secure enough to drift to sleep.
Can I Brink Banana Milk Before Bed?
If you don’t like the taste of pure banana or missed your eating window but still want to sleep well, you may wonder if you can drink banana milk as a substitute.
This is inadvisable because a shop-bought banana milkshake will be packed with sugar.
The last thing you want at night is a spike in blood sugar and the racing heart and mind that comes with that. A sugar crash will invariably follow, but that isn’t the same as natural and 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 is liquid. A teaspoon of cinnamon will add enticing flavor and aroma.
Just remember, the later at night you drink liquids, the likelier you are to need to use the bathroom overnight. If you missed your eating window for a banana, it might be safest to avoid taking in any substantial liquids too.
Is Eating Banana at Night Good or Bad?
Eating a banana in the evening should be considered a good thing if you aim for restful sleep. Avoid eating bananas before bed if any of the following apply to you:
- You have a cold or respiratory infection. As discussed, bananas encourage the stomach lining to generate mucus, and you’ll already have plenty of that.
- You’re asthmatic or prone to sleep apnea. This phlegm production can restrict easy breathing.
- You’ve already brushed your teeth or are concerned about tooth decay. The sugar in a banana will coat your teeth overnight.
- You have a delicate stomach. Bananas can cause bloating and gas in some people, leading to an uncomfortable night.
You should also avoid eating a banana late at night if you need to drive, operate machinery, or remain awake and alert. A banana can leave you feeling sluggish and lethargic.
If you’re a regular insomniac, consider introducing bananas into your sleep hygiene routine.