Among the sleep-inducing types of foods out there, there are some fruits that make you sleepy and help you sleep better.
These fruits contain antioxidants and nutrients that bring your body and mind to a more relaxed state.
They rid your body of toxins and help your body heal. This allows your body to shift gear and slow down into the night.
What Nutrients Help With Sleep?
Here are 8 of them:
- Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) — a neurotransmitter that receives and sends chemical signals to and from your brain. GABA’s action, however, is to slow down and reduce activity in your brain by blocking certain signals. This is especially applicable in cases of fear, anxiety, and stress.
- Potassium — a mineral responsible for keeping the electrical balance between cell membranes. This electrical balance maintains heart function, nerve impulses, and muscle contractions. A potassium deficiency often results in mental fatigue, stress and anxiety, and sometimes, muscle spasms and night cramps.
- Magnesium — an essential important in maintaining many bodily functions, including nerve and muscle functions. It is used to minimize the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) and helps increase the level of GABA in the body.
- Melatonin — the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. It’s the “Sleep Hormone.” It is naturally produced in your body by the pineal gland in your brain. Your pineal gland produces melatonin after dark and peaks hours after. Melatonin levels are reduced during the daytime when your body is most active and awake.
- L-tryptophan — or tryptophan, an amino acid that your body converts into serotonin that regulates your mood and helps you sleep longer and better. Serotonin is also called the happy hormone. A deficiency in L-tryptophan has been associated with depression and sleep disorders.
- Vitamin B6 — plays a part in the production of melatonin and serotonin. Vitamin B6 deficiency has also been associated with depression and insomnia.
- Serotonin — also known as the happy hormone. It is a neurotransmitter associated with the regulation of your circadian rhythm or sleep cycle. It is used by the body to synthesize melatonin. Serotonin deficiencies have been suspected to be the cause of depression, sleep disorders, and suicidal behavior.
- Folate — involved in the production of melatonin. A deficiency in folate (folic acid) has been associated with the failure to synthesize melatonin from serotonin.
Top 9 Fruits That Make You Sleepy
Eating 1 to 2 kiwi fruits after dinner or an hour or two before bedtime may help you sleep better.
Kiwi fruit is nutrient-dense and is rich in both antioxidants and serotonin which are both associated with better sleep patterns.
Aside from being rich in antioxidants and serotonin, kiwi is also a good source of Vitamin C and fiber which help the body in producing collagen that maintains cell and tissue health.
Vitamin C deficiency has been known to cause sleep disturbance, waking up in the middle of one’s sleep, and difficulty in going back to sleep.
But it is the serotonin content of kiwi that makes it induce sleep.
There are a number of ways to enjoy kiwi.
The most simple is to eat the fruit with the skin on, as some people do. Or you can peel it and slice it.
You can prepare kiwi in a salad together with other fruits and vegetables. Or you can try a simple kiwi salsa:
The only setback in eating kiwi fruit is if you are allergic to it, as some people are.
You can have 1-3 kiwi fruits for the entire day. But it is best to eat it after dinner if you need to be more relaxed and fall asleep early.
How do bananas help you to sleep? Bananas are rich in potassium and other sleep-inducing nutrients like Vitamin B6 and L-tryptophan.
Studies have found that consuming 1 or 2 bananas, especially before bedtime, significantly increases your blood serotonin level. This helps you sleep longer.
One banana contains approximately 370 mg of potassium and 30 mg of magnesium, which is around 10% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
This relaxes your muscles and prevents cramps. Banana also contains around 11 mg of L-tryptophan. Tryptophan is a nutrient that your body synthesizes to melatonin at night.
Melatonin, on the other hand, promotes sleep by regulating your circadian rhythm or sleep cycle.
There are many varieties of bananas that you can buy, but the most common variety can be eaten straight as a fruit, just peel it.
If you don’t enjoy eating it as a fruit, you can mix it with other fruits to make a salad. Just add yogurt, and you can enjoy a light and healthy sleep-inducing nightcap.
There is no limit to how many bananas you may eat a day. But just make sure you experience no adverse effect.
Various studies have shown how eating cherries have improved sleep latency, immobility, and sleep in all age groups, both young and old.
Results of these studies showed similar results using either sweet or tart cherries.
In other words, both sweet and tart varieties of cherry can help put you to sleep.
Cherries have an array of sleep-inducing nutrients that can put you to sleep, including potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, L-tryptophan, and melatonin.
Cherries contain around 10% of the RDA on these nutrients.
The recommended regimen is to drink 1 glass (240 mL) of Montgomery tart cherry juice in the morning and 1 glass at night.
This could improve your sleep patterns and increase the duration of your sleep by more than 1 hour, according to a study conducted on middle-aged men, 50 yrs old and above.
Don’t get turned off by the sourness or tartness of the cherries.
If you find them too sour or tart, just leave the cherries in the fridge for a couple of days. This will take away and blunt the sour smack.
Can eating pineapple help you sleep?
According to studies pineapples can help you sleep at night.
Thanks to its effect on your melatonin levels which more than doubles (approx. 250%) after about 2 hours of ingesting, with serum levels increasing from 48 pg/mL to 146 pg/mL.
Pineapples are composed of 86% water and is a low calorie fruit with less than 10g of sugar per 100g serving.
It has a significant amount of fiber and a lot of vitamin C.
Pineapples have an enzyme called bromelain, which is responsible for most of its beneficial properties, including a reduction in joint inflammations, improved digestion, and circulation.
A serving (slice) or two of pineapple a day will result in better health.
If taken at night, it is best taken with meals.
Just be careful with eating too many pineapples per serving, as this may cause some irritations in your mouth, tongue, or cheeks.
This is because bromelain, the enzyme present in pineapple, is a powerful digestive enzyme and will immediately act upon ingestion.
According to studies, vitamin C deficiency sometimes results in sleepless nights or sleep interruptions. It is also associated with restless leg syndrome (RLS).
The vitamin C in oranges can help your body overcome RLS and interrupted sleep patterns by providing the necessary nutrients.
The increase of serum melatonin level after eating oranges, from 40 pg/mL to 151 pg/mL, is significant.
This translates into better and longer sleep.
Oranges also contain high levels (14% of the RDA) of potassium, which also contribute to their sleep inducing property.
Oranges are one of the fruits you can enjoy by themselves or in combination with other fruits.
It’s also a fruit you can enjoy well if juiced.
Why is avocado included in the list of fruits that make you sleepy?
Avocado beats banana and tart cherry in the amount of tryptophan it contains.
1 banana contains around 11 mg L-tryptophan while a medium-sized avocado has 40 mg.
This translates into a better capacity to produce serotonin that promotes better sleep.
A medium-sized avocado also contains 760 mg of potassium (three times more than a banana) and 135 mcg of folic acid.
These minerals and nutrients promote your body’s well-being and reduce your risk of suffering depression and anxiety, which are primary factors in sleeplessness or disrupted sleep patterns.
You can spoon the flesh of an avocado straight from the skin and eat it as a fruit, or you can mix it with vegetables in a salad.
You can also make guacamole.
Tomatoes, a variety of nightshade vegetables, contain from 7.5 to 255 ngg(-1) of melatonin. And when a tomato fruit ripens, there is an increase in its melatonin content up to 135% as the fruit ripens (under shade conditions).
One of the most active and potent nutrients present in tomatoes is lycopene.
Lycopene is an anti-oxidant responsible for ridding the body of free radicals that cause inflammations.
It is therefore responsible for reducing inflammations and is also known to contribute to heart health.
It is also an anti-cancer agent.
Although tomatoes can be eaten raw as a fruit, juiced, or mixed in salads, one of the best ways to reap the most benefit out of your tomatoes is by cooking them.
Studies have found that tomatoes react to heat by making their lycopene component doubly accessible for digestion than eaten raw.
Watermelons are one of the most refreshing fruits you can enjoy while enjoying many of its health benefits.
Among its health benefits is its ability to promote sleep.
Watermelon largely contains water, up to 92%, and only 8% sugars.
Therefore, eating a watermelon helps your stay hydrated.
The rests are micronutrients and enzymes that become available to your body, including potassium (170 mg or 4% RDA), magnesium (15 mg or 4% RDA), vitamin C (12 mg or 15% RDA), and lycopene (7 mg or 50% RDA).
Among its other active components, these 4 mostly contribute to giving you better sleep.
Watermelons are generally enjoyed straight as a fruit, sliced and chilled. But sometimes you can include watermelon in your smoothie or in your salads.
Do figs belong to the fruits that make you sleepy category?
Well, even if figs aren’t technically fruits, they contain an ample amount of sleep-inducing nutrients that help you sleep.
Figs are actually a cluster of flowers and seeds all bundled up in a bulb-like stem.
Figs contain 2% RDA of potassium and magnesium, and 10 mg of tryptophan. These contribute to the synthesis of serotonin, also known as the happy hormone.
It helps your mind relax and gives you better quality of sleep.
Figs can be eaten fresh from the tree, whole, or peeled. Some people eat figs whole, including the skin.
Others scoop out the flowers and seeds from the outer skin.
Figs can also be eaten dried as a snack or mixed in salads and breads.
Eating 2 – 3 figs a day is recommended.
Which Fruit is best before Bed?
Snacking at night may cause you to gain unnecessary weight.
As much as possible, you’d want to munch on something that doesn’t have too many calories, not high in fats, and will help put you to sleep.
Among the list of fruits that induce sleep, the best ones to eat before bed are cherry, banana, and kiwi.
These are the top three fruits that won’t get you fat, and help you sleep better.
A glass of Montgomery tart cherry juice, 1 or 2 bananas, or 1 or 2 kiwi fruits might just be right to silence your grumbling stomach and still get you a good night’s sleep.
What Fruits Should You Avoid at Night?
Some of the fruits that make you sleepy are not known to put you to sleep immediately or in a direct way. So it’s best to avoid eating them close to bedtime.
Oranges are an example of fruits you should avoid eating close to bedtime.
Citrus fruits like oranges contain tyramine, an enzyme known to cause sleep disruption.
Oranges also have high fructose content and can make your body alert, resulting in shorter sleep-wake cycles.
They are also acidic and if you eat oranges before bedtime there is a chance you might suffer from an acid reflux.
Oranges are beneficial when taken in quantity during the daytime, contributing to overall health and sleep quality, but it’s best to avoid eating them close to bedtime.
Avocados, like oranges, are also high in tyramine, an enzyme that can cause sleep disruption.
And since avocados have a high-fat content, eating avocados relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter muscle, the muscle that closes the esophagus and prevents food from being regurgitated back up.
Laying down to sleep in this condition can trigger acid reflux.
Another reason avocados can cause acid reflux is because of the high-fat content they are slowing down digestion.
In other words, by the time you go to bed, the avocado in your stomach is far from being digested.
And when you lay down to sleep, the undigested avocados and other food you ate can slide back up your esophagus.
It’s also true for other fatty sleep-inducing foods, like pistachios, for example.
Our advice is, avoid eating avocados close to bedtime.
Tomatoes are also acidic and therefore if eaten before bedtime can also trigger acid reflux.
If taken close to bedtime, however, it would be best to mix tomatoes with some alkaline foods, like kale, cucumber, beets, or spinach in order to neutralize some of its acidity.
In this post we talked about what are the fruits that make you sleepy?
Basically, these are fruits that are high in nutrients that induce bodily relaxation and sound sleep.
They have anti-oxidant properties that rid your body of free radicals and toxins that cause inflammations, hormonal imbalances, and even cancer.
These toxins affect your sleep through muscle cramps, anxiety, stress, and depression.
Sometimes, these symptoms are a result of nutrient deficiency.
The fruits that make you sleepy contain the essential nutrients, minerals, and enzymes necessary to promote healthy sleep patterns by improving your body’s capacity to synthesize and use melatonin and serotonin, which are the two major hormones that affect your sleep.