Did you know that bananas contain a natural fruit sugar called tryptophan? Tryptophan is an amino acid that plays a role in the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Bananas also contain potassium and magnesium which are electrolytes necessary for muscle contraction, as well as Vitamin B6, which helps produce serotonin (a chemical in the brain that makes you feel happy).
Together they help promote healthy sleep. Here, are some ways to get better sleep with bananas.
Eating Bananas at Night
Eating a banana before bed will ensure that your body will be ready for sleep — this allows melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone, to be released and sleep to happen easier. Bananas contain natural sugars and amino acids that promote deeper sleep and help you feel refreshed.
Bananas are also high in carbohydrates which will help you feel fuller longer. Bananas also contain tryptophan, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron, and vitamin B6 which are electrolytes that help muscle contraction and circulation. They’re also a good source of plant-based protein, fibre, and have less sugar than other foods.
Vitamin B6, Potassium, And Magnesium
This nutrient trio contains mood-boosting vitamins, which is why bananas help promote better sleep. Vitamin B6 B6 is used in the body for making serotonin, which is important for proper mood, as well as for the production of melatonin, which is a chemical produced in the brain that helps regulate sleep cycles.
Bananas are packed with vitamin B6. Potassium Potassium helps make the heart beat more efficiently, and may also reduce stress hormones and improve blood flow to the brain. Potassium also aids in the body’s ability to produce serotonin, helping promote a calming environment for sleep.
Magnesium Magnesium is an electrolyte that helps regulate nerve impulse communication. This may be why bananas are an excellent source of magnesium.
The science of sleep and banana consumption
While sleep can’t be quantified in this generation (we’re too busy) it is something that has been researched extensively. “Sleep research has historically focused on physiological effects of sleep deprivation on the body,” says Stacy Parks Miller, MS, RDN, LD, CDN and author of The Superfood Swap.
“It’s hard to measure if you are getting sleep in the long term, as these studies are only conducted on individuals who have been deprived of sleep for a period of time.” According to experts, though, there are some biochemical and psychological changes that occur with sleep deprivation, including disrupted circadian rhythms, impaired brain signaling, and an increase in your body’s inflammatory response.
How bananas are good for your sleep
Over half of all sleep disturbances are caused by poor sleep quality, according to sleep expert Dr. Jen Gunter, who describes banana as a “more natural and better choice” than other foods as a bedtime snack.
After a night’s sleep, our bodies require melatonin to fall back asleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Banana has the highest amount of melatonin out of all the foods we have tested. While bananas are rich in tryptophan, they also have healthy carbs to keep you feeling satisfied.
Bananas, along with pumpkin seeds, are excellent sources of magnesium which helps your muscles relax and muscles stay at the right muscle length.
Ways to eat bananas that promote a better night’s rest
Eat banana chips instead of potato chips. A 2016 study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that potato chips are a major culprit for people who don’t get enough sleep. The study found that potato chips stimulate the brain in a similar way to nighttime snacking on bananas, leading to heightened levels of melatonin and neurotransmitters associated with learning and memory.
When you snack on a banana instead of potato chips, the brain still receives its natural melatonin, but the number of calories you take in is significantly lower. (A single banana is a good source of 10 essential vitamins and minerals, including potassium and magnesium, which are essential to maintaining healthy sleep.) Eat banana breakfast.
There you have it — the magic of the banana. Beyond the role it plays in healthy sleep, it’s also delicious, so it’s not a bad snack to have as an after dinner or afternoon pick me up. It can be served plain or as a sweet treat, depending on your mood.
Whatever your banana preference is, it’s important to know the truth about the power of the banana to promote sleep.