Experiencing sleeping problems? Don't know how to manage it? A healthy way to do this is through trying out natural remedies to help sleep, such as consuming the right food.
Experts say that consuming the right food before going to bed that are high in minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, vitamin B, and tryptophan, have a natural sleep inducing effect, helping to relieve insomnia.
So what food helps you sleep? Do bananas help you sleep? The answer is YES! Next time you have trouble falling asleep, go to the kitchen and grab a banana instead of reaching out for another sleeping pill. Research shows that bananas and sleep are connected with each other due to their nutritional benefits and here we tell you why.
Fun Banana Facts
Before we get into the topic of bananas and sleep, here are a few fun banana facts that you probably did not know before.
#1 Over 1 billion bananas are consumed annually, making them the 4th largest agricultural product, following wheat, corn, and rice.
#2 Uganda has the highest consumption of bananas, with an average of 500 bananas being consumed every year per individual.
#3 Bananas do not grow on trees. The plant is rather classified as a herb which can grow up to 8 meters tall.
#4 Bananas are berries and not fruits.
#5 The scientific term for banana is “musa sapientum”, meaning the fruit of the wise men.
#6 Every banana you eat is most likely an infertile clone. The most commonly sold banana now is the Cavendish.
Read this article if you want to know more about the 24 health benefits of bananas.
“A banana a day will keep the doctor away!”
Apples are commonly quoted in this phrase, but much research shows that bananas can easily be substituted. Some even state that it should be considered a super fruit! Why, you ask? Well, bananas are packed full of nutrition with several health benefits.
Bananas are filled with protein, calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and biotin. Eating a banana before bed is fairly low in calories, with only 100 calories per serving. Although it is not the lowest calorie fruit found in the supermarket, it is still a perfect fruit to substitute all the junk food in your healthy lifestyle. It is important, however, that bananas are eaten in moderation.
Banana And Sleep
So how can eating banana at night enhance your sleep? Eating a banana before bed will increase your intake in nutrients that optimize a good night's sleep. Mineral deficiency in magnesium, potassium, vitamins, as well as an amino acid called tryptophan, can cause sleeping problems.
Bananas are one of the top fruits with the high levels of magnesium, which makes eating a banana before bed a go-to snack. Magnesium has many healthy benefits, one of them being battling against insomnia, helping you to sleep longer and even faster. Eating bananas at night help relax the muscles in your body with a neuroprotective effect. The magnesium in a banana also helps lower your brain temperature and helps regulate your hormones. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include difficulty relaxing during sleep and experiencing frequent night cramps.
Potassium works harmoniously with magnesium to improve sleep, relax muscles and nerves, regulate blood pressure, and promote healthy digestion. Deficiency in potassium, also known as hypokalemia, can affect sleep. Deficiency in potassium can lead to muscle fatigue, cramping, and heart irregularities. Eating a banana before bed is not the richest form of potassium, nevertheless, they still win for being a great source.
Amino Acid Tryptophan
Eating a banana before bed can be useful in combating insomnia because of the amount of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid which is naturally present in food, such as bananas. The body uses tryptophan to produce hormones known as serotonin and melatonin, which take a big role in regulating different human functions. Your body needs serotonin to regulate your mood and melatonin to help regulate circadian rhythms, which in turn is in control over your sleeping patterns, body temperature as well as hormone release. Having a deficiency in tryptophan can therefore make you experience insomnia and other side effects such as depression.
Vitamins have been studied to encourage a good nights sleep. Of all vitamins, B vitamins have shown the best results, making it the most important vitamin for sleep. Vitamin B6 is found in bananas, which is a water-soluble vitamin that aids the production of tryptophan as well as the hormones serotonin and melatonin, which, as mentioned earlier, are necessary for a good nights sleep. One big banana provides half of the daily necessary intake of vitamin B6.
Although changing your diet can relieve insomnia, such as eating a banana before bed, it is important to mention that if you experience continuous symptoms, consulting your doctor may be necessary. Insomnia can be a sign of a more serious medical condition and therefore it is important to not self-diagnose yourself, especially when changes in your lifestyle as well as your diet are not helping to sooth your symptoms.
Other Banana Benefits
The other benefits of consuming bananas are countless, such as increasing exercise endurance. Bananas are commonly consumed among athletes before and after a workout because they are packed full of energy and because they are a great source of carbohydrates that quickly convert into muscle fuel once it has been digested. Eating one or two bananas before a workout will give you that extra kick, and having a banana after a workout will help against muscle pain and cramps. Having a hard time keeping your eyes open at work? Bananas also make a great snack at the office if you feel like you are lacking some energy. Bananas are also said to overcome depression and can protect you against heart attack, stroke, type II diabetes and many more. If you have stomach problems, whether you are experiencing constipation or the runs, a banana will also help sooth your symptoms due to the high levels of fibre that can restore natural bowel movements.
Sleep Enhancing Banana Recipes
Banana’s make great snacks, smoothies, and even tea. To have the best banana sleep experience, have a go at these three recipes!
Banana Tea for Sleep
Many people are not aware that a banana peel is also edible and packed with more nutrients than the fruit itself. Instead of throwing it away as trash like you may commonly do, you can finally use it with this homemade banana tea with a hint of cinnamon. Not only is banana beneficial for sleep, but so is cinnamon. Cinnamon allows your hormones to function better by balancing your blood sugar levels. So, combining two different ingredients to improve sleep is even more beneficial.
Step 1: Cut both ends of the banana.
Step 2: Boil the whole banana, with the peel, for approximately 10 minutes. Add cinnamon as desired.
Step 3: Pour your tea in a cup and add more cinnamon (or honey) if desired for a better sleep effect.
Sweet Dreams Smoothie
There are many fruits that can be blended together to make a smoothie that induces a good nights sleep. This banana smoothie, mixed with other ingredients with sleeping nutrients, will surely diminish all that tossing and turning.
½ Warm milk
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup pitted cherries (optional)
Step 1: Place all ingredients in a high speed food processor.
Step 2: Blend for around 30 – 45 seconds.
Step 3: Pour smoothie in a glass and add flax seeds, almonds and cacao powder on top (optional).
Banana Oatmeal Cookies
Banana mixed with another natural source of melatonin - oatmeal! If you have not tried these already, you are missing out.
1 cup oats
Raisins, nuts, cinnamon (optional)
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Step 2: Mash the bananas and mix in the oats until well blended.
Step 3: Add a handful of the optional ingredients such as raisins and nuts, or add a teaspoon of cinnamon to give the cookies that extra flavour.
Step 4: Grab a tray and place a baking sheet on top. With a spoon, create cookie shapes with a decent amount of mixture. This mix will make up to 9-11 banana oatmeal cookies.
Step 5: Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Now it's time for you to go to sleep. Sweet banana dreams!