Banana is one of the most unique fruits that is available to us humans. Its unique shape and size and color make it the most recognizable fruit. Its shape, size, color, and ease to access(peel and eat) have made it a very common fruit that is universally known and acknowledged.
This yellow fruit has also been associated with various human struggles where republics were made and destroyed because of their economic value. Bananas are extremely nutritious, portable, and are very easy to grow in the tropical climate which makes them of their immense value.
Bananas are thought to have originated in the Indo-Malay or Australia as small berry-like fruit with big seeds, considering their immense nutritional and economic value these fruits were engineered to look and taste the way they are today and thus they conquered the world.
Bananas are rich in potassium, magnesium, vitamin –c and vitamin B-6, and fiber. It is estimated that one medium-sized banana completes 9 percent of your daily potassium requirements, 33 percent of your vitamin B6 requirement, and 8 percent of your magnesium requirement. Bananas also aid in weight loss, reduce swelling, and also while blood cell production. They also offer protection against cancer-producing toxins because they are also high in antioxidants.
With all these above-mentioned nutrients loaded bananas are also considered a perfect sleeping aid. It’s a perfect bedtime snack as it along with its various vitamin and mineral content can improve your sleep quality. It is achieved by bananas by reducing stress and anxiety, alleviating muscle cramps and regulating the sleep-wake cycle with serotonin and melatonin.
Therefore we are about to do a comprehensive study about bananas, its origin, its structure and how having a banana before sleep can help you sleep better.
In this article:
The Origin of bananas
Bananas are an elongated edible fruit that is technically considered a berry. It is produced by several kinds of herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa. In some places around the world the raw version of the banana known as “plantains” is used in cooking. Though the shape and the firmness and structure of the “plantains” remain the same the color of the “plantains” might be green, yellow or purple, or brown when ripe.
These fruits grow in clusters hanging from the plant. The Musa species are native to Indo-Malay and Australia and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. They are today grown in almost 135 countries basically for their fruit and also sometimes for their fiber. Though there is some plantation that also extracts Wine and beer out of the banana. India and China are the largest producers of bananas today and account for almost 41 percent of the total world production.
Worldwide the bananas are usually referred to as soft, sweet, or dessert bananas of the Cavendish group which are the main export of the banana-growing countries. The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant and the part of the banana plant above the ground is known as corm which grows to form a flower structure till it stops growing from where the pseudo-stem or the “banana heart” originates that develops the banana fruit. After the fruits are harvested from the plant it is then cut down to the corm which results in the formation of the next generation of the banana plants.
Originally bananas used to have a lot of big black seeds as they were found in nature but with proper genetic engineering and other cultivation practices the seeds have either disappeared or have shrunk to very miniature sizes. Though there are still some indigenous species that still have those seeds.
At the beginning of the 19th century bananas were suddenly very popular in the American and European continents. Taking advantage of this increased demand, several plantations sprang up in the Central American countries whose tropical weather was very favorable to the banana Plantation.
These plantations grew so much that they at one time controlled the economy and power structure of the whole countries and thus these plantation owners who were basically of American or European Origin influenced the fate of these countries with their huge wealth thus coining the name “Banana Republic”. Though such systems have faded down, the Caribbean countries are still the largest exporter of bananas to the American continent today.
How is the banana used?
Banana or plantains are one of the most staple and essential foods in many developing countries for millions of people. It is consumed as a simple snack that can be consumed at any time of the day while the green or the un-ripe version is cooked for food.
Most of the bananas are harvested by small cultivators in the Asian tropical countries for their consumption while the rest is sold in the market. There is some commercial cultivation that happens in China, India. While the most commercial cultivation of bananas happens in central America. Since Bananas are harvested year-round they are considered essential to food security.
So how does a banana before bed can help you sleep better?
To find out that answer we first need to analyze what are the hindrances to our sleep or what causes our sleeplessness or Insomnia.
Insomnia or sleeplessness is a very modern urban problem that stems from the reckless lifestyle that most urban dwellers follow. There are a wide variety of factors that are responsible for Insomnia the major among them are stress, chronic pain, heart failure, or the overuse of certain medication drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Though we are very much aware of what causes insomnia the cures to insomnia are very much unusual and depend a lot on lifestyle change rather than just having a lot of prescription medicines.
A very healthy daily routine with regular exercise and walking sessions, consuming less caffeine or nicotine at the end of the day, avoiding too much red meat at the end of the day along with having very proper sleep hygiene is the most immediate and effective solution to recover from insomnia. Though certain sleeping pills might make you sleep forcefully, the effectiveness and the safety of these pills are always a concern.
Apart from lifestyle changes, the quality of your sleep also depends a lot on the ambiance of the room that you would be sleeping in along with the type of bedroom accessories that you use to incite in your sleep such as bed, mattress, type of pillow. How soundproof the room is etc and if I feel they have served most of their purpose and are a little behind the style. Then updating your room decor by changing some of those accessories could also be a means through which your sleep quality improves.
After the simplest lifestyle change and change in your bedroom accessories then comes the food or beverage that you consume before sleep has a lot of impact on your sleep cycles. Commonly various misconceptions prevail in our society that a little alcohol or nicotine before sleep helps you sleep better which is very un-real and has no scientifically backed evidence.
Such reports which are sponsored by the alcohol and tobacco company support their argument by saying that having a little amount of alcohol or nicotine before sleep calms your nerves and reduces stress by intoxicating you and letting your mind rest to find a night of peaceful sleep. But all their claims go bust and have no backing because alcohol has no stress-relieving properties and their charm works only as long as the people having it are intoxicated.
While nicotine is appeased as something that incites sleep or even helps you keep awake so it doesn’t do any help supporting the arguments in helping them sleep better. Both alcohol and nicotine mess with your sleep cycle and don’t let you sleep peacefully.
After clearing all these misconceptions we all look into the natural remedies that are rare but are a sure sleeping aid and have been in use for centuries with credible scientific backing. Herbs are also considered a great sleeping agent; they act as mild tranquilizers that help in calming anxious nerves and facilitating peaceful sleep.
Again some herb such as magnolia bark or magnolia pills is known to promote sleeping by inducing drowsiness and deep REM cycle. Though these drugs are natural and won’t boast of any side effects they may be a dangerous cocktail if it is used with any other drug. Therefore it is suggested that a physician is consulted before any such herbs are used to cure Sleeplessness.
Bananas are a natural remedy.
One of the natural remedies that are not that potent and wouldn’t need any doctor’s advice to consume is banana. Banana is a very common fruit that we consume every day and is a very unusual answer to the problem of insomnia. Though unusual there are facts and evidence that have established bananas as a sleep-inducing fruit. Here are some of those facts to clear its stand.
Banana is rich in potassium
Potassium is an important nutrient that supports several body functions. All these functions include muscle contractions, fluid balance, and transmission of nerve signals, and even chemical reactions.
Potassium helps you sleep peacefully by acting as a muscle relaxant thus making your body feel relaxed to sleep. Deficiency in potassium leads to muscle spasms. Muscle spasms make the sleepers restless at night while making the sleepers toss from one side of the bed to another. Bananas can be a reliable solution to such a problem by filling in for the potassium deficiency. An average banana has 422 mg of potassium therefore having a couple of two average-sized bananas as a snack before bed would improve the sleep quality of the people suffering from potassium deficiency.
Another major quality of potassium is that it is an important source for regulating blood pressure naturally. .The effects of sodium in the body are managed by potassium, which in turn reduces the pressure on the kidney to store water thus naturally lowering the blood pressure level in the body. Controlling the high blood pressure level in the body can lead to living a healthy heart and a healthy life. Proper intake of potassium also improves one`s cognitive function and cardiovascular health.
Banana is also rich in magnesium
Along with potassium, another important nutrient that is present in bananas is magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is directly linked to insomnia thus consumption of bananas just before bed keeps the flow of manganese in the body steady thus helping the sleeper have a peaceful sleep at night.
Manganese aids in reducing stress and anxiety level in the body thus laying the foundations of peaceful sleep. Magnesium also helps in improving bone mass while regulating the muscle function of the body. The restless or disturbed night could be the result of a low magnesium level.
The symptoms of mild anxiety and stress are reduced in the body by intake of magnesium as it affects the hypothalamus that controls the adrenal and pituitary glands which in turn works to reduce the above symptoms of stress and anxiety. Magnesium maintains the GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric acid) in the body.GABA levels in the bodywork as a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep by slowing brain waves and thereafter calming the body. Magnesium thus lightens insomnia by ensuring a healthy flow of GABA in the body.
Restless leg syndrome(RLS) is a sleep disorder that results in an uncontrollable need to move legs often resulting in a tingling or itching sensation in the body. Consumption of an appropriate amount of magnesium through bananas will be an effective way out of curing such symptoms and leading to a peaceful night of sleep.
Vitamin B6 in bananas
Bananas also contain another important nutrient in the body known as Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 in the body which can be yielded from bananas can help to cover the amino acid tryptophan to serotonin. So why serotonin and what’s the purpose? you may ask.
Well, Serotonin is the neurotransmitter in the human body that controls the melatonin level in the body. Melatonin regulates your sleep clock in your body telling you when to fall asleep in the evening. Therefore lack of Melatonin in the body makes it difficult for people to sleep. Therefore eating a banana before sleep will regulate the sleep cycle in the body thus allowing you a peaceful natural sleep.
So what if, if not banana?
What if you are allergic to such a pleasant fruit as a banana? Yes, some people can also have an allergic reaction to bananas. Itching of the mouth and throat, itchy rashes (hives, Urticaria). Skin or mucosal swelling can all be related to allergic reactions to bananas. In some rare cases narrowing of the throat, wheezing, and even collapse can be a disastrous result of a banana allergy. In most cases, the symptoms begin within seconds or minutes of eating this” yellow forbidden fruit”.
Since, because of allergy, some people are unable to access the benefits of bananas, various other options can replace bananas with similar or a little variation in results.
- Deficiency in melatonin and vitamin C can also be resolved by tart cherries of which it is a source. Drinking a small amount of tart cherry juice at least an hour or two before bed can aid you in sleeping better.
- Among all the herbs that are mentioned above which needed a doctor’s consultation before its regular consumption chamomile tea is an exception. Apigenin in Chamomile tea which is an antioxidant promotes sleep by binding to sleep-inducing receptors in the brain. Chamomile is also responsible for lowering the blood sugar level in the body and avoiding acid reflux in case of a heavy diet.
- Potassium can be sourced naturally other than bananas through sweet potatoes and beans which can reduce your stress and help you better.
- Hot milk before sleep often promotes healthy sleep options for milk containing tryptophan which helps in inducing sleep. Milk combined with banana (if you are not allergic) can also be a great source of peaceful sleep.
- Papaya and even regular potatoes are also food rich in potassium which you can consider having in the before sleep meal.
Food to avoid before sleep
After accumulating enough information about all the foods that promote a peaceful sleep, here is a list of all the foods that you must avoid if you want to sleep better.
Alcohol as we have already established before impacts our REM cycles and might wake you up in the middle of the night after the intoxicating effects stop.
Caffeine is a great stimulant that stimulates the brain, promotes wakefulness. Therefore it is the best morning beverage and one of the worst sleeping beverages. To ensure deep restful sleep each night it is very important to avoid caffeine at least 4 to 6 hours before bed. Caffeine in coffee is responsible for blocking adenosine production in the body.
Adenosine is a naturally occurring element in the body that builds up the body throughout the day and induces sleepiness at night. Just one cup of coffee can block this building process and result in sleeplessness. Caffeine is also a regular in many soda and energy drinks labels thus try and avoid those drinks with dinner before sleep. Even dark chocolates are also promoted as a sweet treat that promotes sleep. But it is also a fact that dark chocolates also contain trace amounts of caffeine that could disrupt your sleep.
Meal before sleep should be a lighter one as they can help you sleep easily without any hurdles. However, eating a sumptuous rich meal before sleep could result in severe acid reflexes, heartburn, and other digestive problems. Instead lighter sleep-inducing snacks could help you sleep peacefully.
A snack before sleep might be a very natural carving of the body but you must choose some quality food from the list above to induce sleep rather than having any junk food that disrupts your sleeping pattern. Simple chamomile tea with banana is a perfect combo that not only contains your mid-night cravings but will also aid in a peaceful uninterrupted sleep.
So finally it can be thus concluded that bananas are the most unique fruit that is available to us. Its unique shape and color are so universal that it can be recognized as a juicy fruit that is very easy to access and is juicy.
Originating in the tropics of Indo-Malay and Australia these fruits have come a long way with various genetic research to be the kind of seedless fruit that we have known today. Bananas are very easy to harvest in the tropics needing very little attention and thus are very essential for food security. One fact of banana that was not widely known before is that its contribution is to let people consuming it get a good night’s sleep.
Banana has a wide variety of nutrients that helps people having it have a good night’s sleep. Bananas are an ideal sleeping agent as they are devoid of any side effects that might incur from having sleeping pills or other elements that people mistakenly think of as sleep aids.
Bananas are a natural sleeping agent that has trace amounts of potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6 that can cure serious sleeping disorders such as muscle spasm, RLS while also keeping the blood pressure under control while inducing a relaxed muscle that will help you sleep better.
The manganese found in the banana on the other hand secretes melatonin and serotonin that helps the mind calm down making the mind anti-stressed and relaxed at the same time thus inducing a peaceful sleeping pattern.
Apart from all these, you would also need a good ambiance to sleep in that would include a room with less noise, a good foundation bed with a proper mattress that adjusts to every contour of your body thus inducing a proper restful sleep. All these factors work together with bananas thus making banana a natural fruit that can replace your sleeping pills naturally without any serious side-effects.