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“Just a banana and go to sleep.” As a child I often heard this statement and, especially after a sleepless night, I often ate a banana before going to sleep. Even now that I am an adult, I believe that a banana before bedtime promotes falling asleep. But is that really so? Time to investigate the how and why.
Table of contents
Late in the evening a glass of cola or cup of coffee guarantees a night full of restlessness . Food gives you energy, and drinks with caffeine give you a real pick-me-up. A banana contains relatively many calories for a piece of fruit, especially sugars. But also proteins, and let one specific building block of them be sleep-inducing.
Proteins are made up of long combinations of about twenty different building blocks, the amino acids. In your body, the proteins from your diet are broken down into building blocks, and fully used to make the proteins that your body needs to function. One of those amino acids is tryptophan, which is commonly found in yogurt and cottage cheese, cheese, poultry, tuna, oats and, yes, bananas! And to make serotonin, tryptophan is needed. And the more serotonin, the higher the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Indirectly, therefore, bananas act as a natural sleep aid.
Eating a banana before bed does have a positive effect on your night’s sleep. But if you are purely concerned with the production of melatonin, you would be better off taking a handful of almonds or walnuts, which already contain this hormone. In addition to tryptophan, bananas also contain a relatively large amount of potassium and magnesium, which are necessary for the proper functioning of your (muscle) cells. If your potassium and magnesium concentrations are up to par, your muscles are better able to relax. That helps against night cramps, but also to doze off peacefully at all. Yet we eat bananas en masse for breakfast or during the day, but we do not suddenly fall asleep. Eating a banana doesn’t necessarily make you tired during the day either. In the evening, when your body is already preparing for bedtime and also produces melatonin itself, eating a banana can give that extra push to fall asleep quickly. So make sure you have a good mattress if you eat a banana in the evening, before you know it you’ll be in dreamland. Read more about how to fall asleep quickly.
Losing weight is mainly a matter of putting fewer calories in your mouth than you burn that day. To lose weight, it is often recommended not to eat after dinner and to drink only water. Or if you really have to, a light snack. So not a handful of chips, but an apple. In that case, a banana is certainly an ideal snack. Healthy, tasty, contains few calories and, unlike that apple, it helps you get a better night’s sleep. And we all know that good sleep habits are essential for weight loss.
Frequently Asked Questions
A banana before going to sleep works. The piece of fruit does not work miracles, you do not suddenly fall asleep when you eat one. But in the evening, this easily digestible snack can certainly give you a push towards a great night's sleep
Bananas contain magnesium and potassium, minerals that help relax your muscles. In addition, they contain a lot of tryptophan. This is a building material that is necessary for the production of serotonin, which in turn stimulates the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
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