Are bananas good to eat before bed?
Bananas are one of the best fruits around in terms of nutritional value: they’re rich in fibre to help support your digestive system, they contain plenty of magnesium to give your energy levels a lift and they also contain a decent amount of potassium too, to help encourage healthy nerve signals.
In fact, it’s exactly these nutritional benefits that mean that bananas are consistently recommended to help support healthy sleep patterns. Magnesium, in addition to supporting your energy levels, also works to ease muscle cramps and spasms, though it can also increase your levels of GABA.
What is GABA? GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is a neurotransmitter that can help to reduce feelings of anxiety. Naturally, if stress is a factor keeping you up at night, increasing your levels of GABA can lend a helping hand in allowing you to drift off to sleep. It’s one of the reasons why our customers often find Dormeasan Sleep remedy so effective.
However, magnesium isn’t the only nutrient that bananas contain to help improve your sleep. Bananas also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that can be converted into serotonin, another feel-good neurotransmitter.
Finally, to top things offs, bananas also contain melatonin, the sleep hormone, itself! In fact, one small study published in the Journal of Pineal Research, found that blood levels of melatonin rose just two hours after eating bananas.1
Don’t bananas also give you energy?
Okay, so far it makes sense that bananas are often touted as a sleep-boosting food, but don’t they also support your energy too? Bananas are a popular pre and post-gym snack which might seem a bit contradictory when considering their sleep-boosting properties.
As mentioned, bananas are a great source of fibre, magnesium and potassium; three nutrients, which, in combination, can help to provide a gradual release of energy, whilst also preventing muscle cramps and spasms. This explains why they are so popular with fitness enthusiasts; however, in terms of making you sleepy, it’s all about how you’re eating them.
For a start, most banana-inspired snacks usually pair the fruit with a source of protein, such as nut butters, or B vitamins, such as wholegrain bread or crackers. If you’re eating bananas like this, then the addition of protein and B vitamins can negate any potential drowsiness brought on by their content of tryptophan and melatonin.
Secondly, it’s all about quantity. The average banana contains around 3g of dietary fibre, 34mg of magnesium and 450mg of potassium2, in addition to around 0.011h of tryptophan.
One banana a few hours before bed might help to give your sleep a nice little lift when compared to a typical snack like a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar but, if you’re eating them during the day, don’t worry. It’s extremely unlikely that a single lone banana is going to have you slumped over your desk in a sleepy stupor.
When’s the best time to eat a banana?
There’s definitely a bit of controversy about eating before bedtime; however, I’ll always stand by the stance that it’s what you’re eating that really matters. If you’re munching on a Mars Bar or tucking into a stodgy pizza a couple of hours before going to bed then yes, this is definitely going to have an impact on your quality of sleep.
When it comes to bananas, though, this is generally a safer option. I would still recommend eating it about two hours before bed, just to be on the safe side. As we’ve seen in the study earlier, this should be enough time for the sleep-promoting properties to get to work.
My favourite banana recipes
Healthy Banana Oat Cookies
A quick, ultra-simple recipe by award-winning vegan blogger Holly Jade! This tasty treat combines creamy bananas with high-fibre oats and protein-packed chia seeds.
Cinnamon & Almond Banana Bread
A tasty combination of bananas, cinnamon, almond flour and dark sugar – definitely a daytime treat to try if you’re expecting company.
Cashew and Banana Smoothie
A good option as a post-gym smoothie or breakfast alternative, this smoothie contains bananas, in addition to cashew, oats and hazelnut milk.
If you want to learn more about the amazing benefits of bananas, please check out Felicity’s blog, ’10 fantastic facts about bananas’.