Healthy Snack Ideas

Why You Should Eat a Banana Each Night Before Bed

Photos: Stocksy / TATJANA ZLATKOVIC
Ready to crawl into bed after a long day of "normal human" cosplay? Hoping to fall asleep fast instead of staring at your ceiling for hours? You probably already have the ingredients you need for a dietitian-approved bedtime snack that'll help you drift off. In an episode of Well+Good's YouTube series You Versus Food, Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, MS, RD, makes a strong case for a banana with peanut butter as the best snack for better sleep.

What a dietitian wants you to know about eating before bed:

What you eat before bed and how soon before bed that you eat it can affect both sleep and your digestion. If your food isn't digested before you go to bed then your body spends time that it should be resting on digesting food instead. Elevated glucose levels can keep you awake, Beckerman says, noting that it also depends on how sensitive your body is. She advises against refined sugar and carbs before bed because they can contribute to poor sleep and digestion. But sometimes your brain screams "feed me cookies" after a stressful day because refined sugars and carbs will give it a rush of dopamine. A banana with peanut butter is a bedtime snack that can actually help you sleep better.

Not only are these ingredients a delicious pairing, they also help each other shine. "Bananas are high in potassium and magnesium, which can help your muscles relax," Beckerman explains. (Most of us aren't getting enough magnesium.) Nut butters contain tryptophan, an amino acid that gets turned into serotonin in the brain, and is a precursor to melatonin. Eaten together, the carbs from the banana can make tryptophan more available to your brain and increase your ability to sleep. "This treat is a sleep aid wonder," she says.

Peanut butter is more than just a great snack for better sleep:

 

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