Sleep-Promoting Banana Bedtime Smoothie [Dietitian Approved]
Do you have trouble sleeping at night? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world struggle to get the sleep they need. Poor sleep is a common menopause symptom, but women of a certain age are not the only ones who suffer from sleep difficulties.
One way to help improve your sleep is by eating (or drinking!) foods that promote sleep before you go to bed.
We often think about smoothies as morning foods, but a bedtime smoothie made with the right ingredients will help promote relaxation and encourage sound sleep.
This blog post will provide you with a recipe for a banana bedtime smoothie and the reasons why the ingredients promote better sleep. So, what are you waiting for? Start enjoying better sleep tonight!
Why do the Ingredients Work?
Let’s start with how the ingredients in this banana bedtime smoothie work.
This delicious and healthy food naturally contains a hormone called melatonin that regulates sleep. Your body makes this hormone and releases it at night.
No doubt you have heard about melatonin supplements before. Well, almonds provide a natural way to get melatonin.
What’s more, a one-ounce serving of almonds has 77mg of magnesium and 76g of calcium, minerals that promote the muscle relaxation that you need to sleep.
Plus, these delicious nuts are low in sugar and have healthy fats that can promote a feeling of satiety through the night and help to stabilize your sugar. Low blood sugar at night can wake you up.
Since it is made from almonds, it’s not a surprise that almond milk is high in sleep-boosting nutrients, including melatonin and magnesium.
You could also substitute almond milk for cow’s milk. For generations, many have had a drink of warm milk before bed to help them sleep. The nutrients in milk include potassium and magnesium to help with muscle and nerve relaxation, which is exactly what you need to fall asleep.
Also, the protein in milk can also help stabilize your blood sugar at night.
Bananas have vitamin B6, which is important for your body to make melatonin. It is also involved in the production of the happy hormone, serotonin. It gives you a boost and helps to take away anxiety and depression, both of which can keep you up at night.
This amazing fruit is a little higher in sugar than other fruits, which keeps some people from eating them. However, the fiber in bananas slows down the release of sugar, making it very different from added sugar.
As a bonus, the naturally sweet taste of bananas is enough to provide the pleasant flavor we are looking for in a smoothie without having to add any sugar.
Add more flavor and sleep-promoting nutrients to your bedtime smoothie with dates. Like bananas, this dried fruit contains a good amount of B6 to help your body convert tryptophan to serotonin.
Dates also have potassium, another mineral that’s important for a good night’s sleep.
So, as you can see, simple ingredients chosen carefully can go a long way!
Ingredients to Avoid
Who doesn’t love chocolate? But unfortunately, chocolate is a no-no for bedtime because it contains caffeine. Of course, caffeine will stimulate your brain, which will make it more difficult to drift off to sleep.
Dark chocolate, in particular, can also increase your heart rate and thereby cause sleeplessness.
Finally, chocolate typically contains a large amount of sugar.
A diet high in sweets, sugary beverages, and refined carbohydrates is linked with poor sleep quality, so refined sugar in all its forms is best avoided for your bedtime smoothie.
This is worsened if the sugary drinks are high in caffeine too.
Dinner for Better Sleep
If a bedtime smoothie is a snack, then we need to talk about dinner!
How Much You Eat Matters
When you’re planning a bedtime smoothie, a smaller dinner (500-600 calories) is ideal since bigger meals will probably take longer to digest. Slow digestion can make it more difficult to fall asleep and sleep well.
What You Drink is Important
Be mindful about what you drink with your evening meal; avoid caffeine, alcohol, and drink with a high sugar content. Also, skip dessert or have a very small serving.
The Food Groups on Your Plate
Now, let’s focus on what food to fill your plate with in order to promote a good night’s sleep. Harvard’s healthy eating plate is a perfect guide for what to put on your plate:
- Vegetables and fruits on 1/2 of your plate
- Lean protein on 1/4 of your plate
- Healthy carbohydrates on 1/4 of your plate
- Add some healthy fat to your dinner
Be sure to have dinner at least two or three hours before you plan to go to sleep. It’s fine to have a small snack before bedtime.
Banana Bedtime Smoothie Recipe
Banana Bedtime Smoothie Recipe
- 1 banana
- 1 tbsp almonds
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp almond extract
- In a blender, combine all the ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Dr. Su-Nui Escobar, a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist in Miami, FL, is dedicated to empowering women in perimenopause and menopause to live healthier, more satisfying lives.
With a doctorate in clinical nutrition from the University of North Florida, she has expertise in menopause and weight loss, including the unique challenges faced by those on weight loss medications.
Su-Nui’s passion for her field is evident in her previous role as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson.