You may find countless tips and tricks when looking for ways to improve your sleep, especially if you tend to have episodes of insomnia.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. It usually leads to daytime sleepiness, lethargy, and general feelings of unwellness (
The approach of eating a banana before bed has been around for a long time, and research seems to suggest that the idea may be backed by some science.
This article explores how bananas may help you sleep.
One medium-sized banana (126 grams) contains about 34 mg of magnesium or 8% of the daily value (
Magnesium may enhance your sleep via several different pathways.
What’s more, low magnesium intakes are associated with very short sleep, which is characterized by sleeping periods shorter than 5 hours (
Thus, by eating a banana at night, you may take advantage of magnesium’s sleep-enhancing effects. Other good dietary sources of magnesium include avocadoes, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
Evidence has linked tryptophan-containing foods with improved sleep, including increased sleep time and efficiency, less difficulty falling asleep, and less waking at night (
In other words, tryptophan enhances sleep quality by promoting serotonin production, which leads to higher melatonin levels.
Other nutrients involved in sleep quality
Bananas contain a few other nutrients that may help enhance sleep. They include:
- Carbs. Evidence shows that high carb foods may increase the chances of tryptophan entering the brain to be converted into serotonin and melatonin. They may also reduce the time it takes to fall asleep (
- Potassium. Low potassium levels may disturb sleep in people with high blood pressure. It may also improve sleep quality by reducing muscle cramping at night (
While research seems to support the beneficial effects of the nutrients in bananas for better sleep, no studies have analyzed bananas’ direct effects on sleep.
Bananas are rich in sleep-promoting nutrients like magnesium, tryptophan, vitamin B6, carbs, and potassium, all of which have been linked to improved sleep.
Besides providing sleep-promoting nutrients, bananas may help improve your sleep by easing digestion and promoting feelings of fullness.
May aid digestion
Fermentation of resistant starch leads to the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), such as butyrate.
May promote feelings of fullness
Bananas are also rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber commonly found in fruits and vegetables.
Therefore, by eating a banana at night, you might reduce poor sleep related to feelings of hunger (
Bananas may help improve your digestion and provide feelings of fullness, which in turn may help you sleep better.
Improving sleep hygiene is one of the first steps in treating sleep disorders. Here are some strategies you may want to follow if you’re having trouble sleeping (
- Stick to a bedtime routine. Adhering to a consistent sleep and wake schedule is an effective way to improve sleep quality and reduce sleep disturbances (
- Optimize your sleep environment. Optimizing your sleep environment by reducing noise, setting a comfortable temperature, and darkening your room at night may also improve sleep quality (
- Wind down before bed. Implementing relaxation techniques such as slow breathing, meditation, and practicing yoga before bedtime are effective and low-cost strategies to improve sleep and treat insomnia (
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine intake before bed. Both alcohol and caffeine are stimulants that may impair sleep. They also lead to lower melatonin levels (
- Exercise early in the day. Exercise is known to promote sleep and often helps treat insomnia. However, nighttime exercise may lead to sleep disturbances in sensitive people due to its stimulatory effect (
In addition to eating bananas before bed, optimizing your sleep hygiene may help you sleep better. That includes winding down techniques, optimizing your sleep environment, and sticking to a bedtime routine.
Eating bananas before bed may help you get a good night’s sleep.
Bananas are rich in magnesium, potassium, tryptophan, vitamin B6, carbs, and fiber, all of which may improve sleep quality via different mechanisms.
However, if you’re having trouble sleeping, you should also try some other science-backed sleep tips, such as sticking to a bedtime routine, optimizing your sleep environment, and implementing a relaxation technique like meditation.