Is It Bad To Eat Bananas At Night?

Ever find yourself reaching for a banana at night to help you sleep? If you have, you're not alone. Many people believe bananas have a sleep-inducing quality. Believe it or not, there's science-backed research that there may be some truth behind these claims.

According to the journal Nutrients (posted at the National Library of Medicine), foods high in tryptophan improve both sleep duration and sleep quality. Researchers believe this is because tryptophan-rich foods positively influence melatonin and serotonin levels. As a matter of fact, bananas are chock full of tryptophan (via Healthline). That explains why a banana at night may induce some peaceful rest, but that's not all it contains.

Indulging in one regular-sized banana also gives you 34 mg of magnesium, which is linked to improving sleep (via Healthline). One 2018 study (also posted at the National Library of Medicine) found the consumption of dietary magnesium improved insomnia symptoms, while another 2019 study found magnesium (along with calcium and vitamin D) are micronutrients that are often missing from diets. This has a negative impact on short sleep. Not to mention bananas are a high-carb food which promotes fullness and lowers your chances of not being able to sleep due to hunger (via Healthline). In short, reaching for this fruit at night may not be a bad idea.

What are other benefits of eating bananas?

Not only are bananas packed with sleep-inducing nutrients, they also promote relaxation in your muscles and can help reduce cramps (via WebMD). While magnesium is a big micronutrient that aids in relaxation, bananas contain other cramp-easing nutrients such as potassium and calcium (per WebMD). It's no wonder bananas have stood the test of time for being an excellent holistic treatment for reducing cramps.

Bananas are also beneficial for gut health. In fact, one 2017 review from the British Nutrition Foundation (posted at Wiley Online Library) specifically found that bananas are loaded with resistant starch that act as a prebiotic since it increases satiety and produces short-chain fatty acids. Creating a healthy gut microbiome is important as the gut helps both the body and brain function properly. Additionally, enjoying a banana every day can enhance memory, improve skin health, improve vision, and possibly help with depressive symptoms due to the tryptophan (per Eat This, Not That!). While more research is needed, the theory is that tryptophan turns into the "mood boosting hormone" serotonin once ingested (per Eat This, Not That!).

While bananas are a popular snacking choice because they're convenient and versatile, Healthline recommends eating no more than two bananas daily. If you're still not getting quality sleep after eating a banana, practice other sleep hygiene tools Healthline shares, such as setting a bedtime and optimizing your sleep space.