People normally eat bananas in the morning to get that quick hit of slow releasing energy to get them through the day. Turns out, bananas can do the opposite too! If you’re someone who has trouble getting to sleep during the night, maybe bananas are worth a try. Here’s why.
Ways Bananas Can Induce Sleep
Tryptophan does sound like a prescription drug but actually, it’s an amino acid found in bananas. It’s a compound that our body can’t produce on its own. Tryptophan converts to serotonin which is a neurotransmitter.1 This means that it sends signals to the brain telling it that it’s time to shut down. This can really help you catch those 40 winks.
Carbs promote sleep.2 Don’t believe us? Try eating a big bowl of pasta for lunch and then going back to work without wanting to yawn a million times. This is because carbs can help promote the production of tryptophan in the blood. Bananas contain carbs which when combined with the rest of nutrients help you doze off.
Melatonin is commonly known as the sleep hormone. For you to fall asleep, ideally, levels of melatonin need to rise. This is exactly what bananas help happen. Research shows that people who ate bananas showed a significant rise in melatonin levels two hours later.3 Grab a banana a little while before bed and soon enough, you’ll feel drowsy.
Magnesium has long been studied for its properties in inducing sleep.4 It works because magnesium is a muscle relaxant. This can remove tension from your muscles, making it easier to wind down. A large banana contains 37 milligrams of magnesium which is a significant amount. This makes up 12% of your intake if you are a woman and 9% if you are a man.
When you think bananas, you think potassium. That’s because bananas are full of them! Like magnesium, potassium also acts as a muscle relaxant and helps induce sleep.5 A large banana can contain 487 milligrams of potassium, which is around 10 percent of the daily recommended intake.
If you find that bananas don’t quite work for you on their own, try pairing them with another sleep-inducing food like warm milk. Warm milk gives you an added dose of tryptophan and thereby serotonin. It also packs a good amount of carbs which can leave you feeling heavy and drowsy.
Tips To Help You Sleep Better
- Avoid alcohol since it can give you lighter sleep
- Try to exercise during the day to tire your body out
- Try to sleep in a colder environment since doing so can help your body fall asleep down faster
- Set a routine with a fixed time to go to bed and a fixed time to wake up. Try to follow this every day regardless of it being a weekend or a day off.
Bananas are a great food to add into your diet. Stock up on these sleeping aids to help you get those 8 hours of sleep every night!
|↑1||Richard, Dawn M., Michael A. Dawes, Charles W. Mathias, Ashley Acheson, Nathalie Hill-Kapturczak, and Donald M. Dougherty. “L-tryptophan: basic metabolic functions, behavioral research and therapeutic indications.” International journal of tryptophan research: IJTR 2 (2009): 45.|
|↑2||Afaghi, Ahmad, Helen O’connor, and Chin Moi Chow. “High-glycemic-index carbohydrate meals shorten sleep onset.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 85, no. 2 (2007): 426-430.|
|↑3||Sae‐Teaw, Manit, Jeffrey Johns, Nutjaree Pratheepawanit Johns, and Suphat Subongkot. “Serum melatonin levels and antioxidant capacities after consumption of pineapple, orange, or banana by healthy male volunteers.” Journal of pineal research 55, no. 1 (2013): 58-64.|
|↑4||Rondanelli, Mariangela, Annalisa Opizzi, Francesca Monteferrario, Neldo Antoniello, Raffaele Manni, and Catherine Klersy. “The Effect of Melatonin, Magnesium, and Zinc on Primary Insomnia in Long‐Term Care Facility Residents in Italy: A Double‐Blind, Placebo‐Controlled Clinical Trial.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 59, no. 1 (2011): 82-90.|
|↑5||Zeng, Yawen, Jiazhen Yang, Juan Du, Xiaoying Pu, Xiaomen Yang, Shuming Yang, and Tao Yang. “Strategies of functional foods promote sleep in human being.” Current signal transduction therapy 9, no. 3 (2014): 148-155.|