There is just something about sitting down on the couch at night, turning on your favorite Netflix show and having a delicious snack. Not all bedtime snacks are created equal when it comes to health and nutrition. But what if you could have a snack that is healthy, nutritious and might even help you get a good night’s sleep?

We have great news! A banana before bed is a great way to end a long day. They’re small, convenient and packed with vitamins and nutrients that promote a wide variety of health benefits. Let’s talk about the benefits of eating bananas, as well as some other foods you should (and should not) eat before heading off to Snoozeville.  

Why You Should Eat A Banana Before Bed

There is an extensive list of banana benefits, but we’re going to cover some of the main benefits of eating a banana before bed. 

Reduces Muscle Cramps

Bananas are full of potassium. According to The American Heart Association, one banana has around 422 milligrams (mg) of potassium, eight to 12% of the recommended daily value. Potassium deficiency often causes muscle spasms and cramps that can hinder a good night’s sleep. Eating a banana before bed might give you the boost of potassium you need to eliminate those painful nighttime muscle cramps. 

Reduces Blood Pressure

Another benefit of potassium is that it helps to naturally regulate blood pressure. If your body contains too much sodium, your kidneys will work overtime to store extra water, and as a result, blood pressure will rise. Potassium plays a balancing act by reducing the negative effects of the sodium and the water stored in the kidneys. Foods that are high in potassium, like bananas, are a great way to work toward lowering your blood pressure. 

Reduces Anxiety and Stress

Stress and anxiety reduction is one of the many benefits of eating bananas. Along with potassium, bananas are also chocked full of magnesium. A medium-sized banana contains 8% of the daily recommended values for magnesium. Deficiencies in magnesium are associated with an increase in cortisol production. Guess what too much cortisol production can create? Heightened stress and anxiety. Magnesium has been coined as “the original chill pill” for its stress and anxiety-reducing effects, and reduced stress and anxiety can help us get better sleep.

Reduces Insomnia

Your brain and body do a lot of work to help you get a good night’s sleep. The brain produces neurotransmitters, called Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), to help slow your brain waves, calm your body and stay in a peaceful slumber. Magnesium, found abundantly in bananas, increases GABA production, which aid’s in good sleep. 

Reduces Restless Leg Syndrome Symptoms

If you have Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), a deficiency in potassium and magnesium is a recipe for sleep deprivation. Studies show magnesium supplementation in RLS patients, who are deficient in magnesium, makes a measurable difference in RLS symptoms. Since a potassium deficiency can cause muscle spasms and cramps, RLS patients may experience an increase in unpleasant nighttime symptoms. How to get both magnesium and potassium, you ask? A banana before bed. 

Increases Serotonin and Melatonin

The pineal gland in your brain works hard to produce and release melatonin into your body to regulate your sleep/wake cycle. But for that melatonin production to happen, you also need serotonin. Good news! Bananas contain up to 26% of the daily recommended value for vitamin B6, which aids in serotonin production. Snacking on a banana before bed can promote serotonin and melatonin manufacturing and help you have a restful slumber. 

What Other Foods Are Good To Eat Before Bed? 

Maybe bananas just aren’t your thing, but you’d like to make other good bedtime snack choices. We’ve got you covered with some other good foods to eat before bed when you feel like you need a snack. 

Tart Cherries

Studies show that tart cherries, which contain vitamin B2 or Riboflavin, are an effective treatment for insomnia. But even if you don’t have insomnia, tart cherries can help you get a great night’s sleep thanks to the B2 but also anti-inflammatory benefits. 

Hot cereal

We are talking about cereals that are whole grain, not many of the sugar-filled cereals you may love. Whole grain cereals and oatmeal are not just great sources of fiber, they actually contain melatonin. A nice serving of a warmed up bowl of whole-grain cereal before bed can send you into la-la land with ease. 


Like that warm cereal we just discussed, milk also contains melatonin and can be very filling. Warm your milk to add even more sleep aid to your bedtime snack. 

Trail Mix

Nuts, dried fruit and seeds can be a great snack before bed. Look for pistachios, walnuts, sunflower seeds, goji berries and cranberries, all of which contain melatonin. Add pumpkin seeds and almonds to that list to get an extra boost of magnesium and tryptophan that will also help you sleep well. 

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a good source of calcium, and calcium is essential to your body’s melatonin production. It will also help strengthen your bones. A serving of Greek yogurt before bed can send you down the path to a good night’s sleep. 

Foods To Avoid Prior To Sleeping

This might be bad news to some folks, but there are some foods that should be avoided as a nighttime snack before bed. We’ll cover a few of them. 

Spicy Foods

As you go into a nice sleep, your heart rate and your body temperature decrease. But if you eat a spicy snack before bed, the spices can cause your heart rate and body temperature to increase, the exact opposite of what should be happening at bedtime. Let’s not even get into the heartburn often caused by spicy foods and how that won’t bode well for a good night’s rest. 


High-fat and acidic foods are best avoided as bedtime snacks. Two of the main ingredients in pizza are cheese, which is high in fat, and tomatoes, which are high in acid. Need we say more?

Sugary Treats

You’ve got your warm milk, and now you want some cookies, right? Think again. We know this is a tough one, but high sugar foods have been proven to decrease deep sleep and increased the frequency of waking up throughout the night. If you want a solid night’s sleep, leave the cookies for Santa. 

Red Meat

For many, red meat digests more slowly than other foods. Scarf down a hamburger before bed, and you may end up tossing and turning throughout the night with acid reflux or heartburn as your body works hard to digest the food. Some cuts of red meat are also quite high in fat, and high-fat foods have proven to be a poor choice for a late-night snack. 


Celery fits into an interesting category because while it’s a healthy vegetable, it is made up of about 95% water. Having too much water before bed can result in more frequent waking up and trips to the bathroom. Leave your celery eating for the daytime only. 

Final Thoughts

If you came here wondering if bananas are good for you, and if a banana before bed is a good idea, now you know. Bananas are convenient and full of vitamins and nutrients that are essential to a good night’s sleep. There are a variety of benefits of eating bananas, whether during the day or before your slumber. 

If you’re not a banana eater, there are many other foods that provide great bedtime benefits, but there are also foods you should avoid at least two to three hours before bed. Healthy sleep is an essential piece of a healthy life. 


Are bananas a good late-night snack?

Yes. Bananas are full of potassium, magnesium and essential B vitamins that aid in your body’s sleep cycle. They are also small and convenient to have around to grab for a quick snack. 

What is the best thing to eat before bed?

If you’re a bedtime snacker, we recommend foods like bananas, almonds, milk, greek yogurt, trail mix or tart cherries. All of these foods offer sleep benefits.

Do bananas before bed cause nightmares?

Because bananas contain melatonin, they can be attributed to vivid dreams or nightmares. This is likely only to happen in people who are already producing enough melatonin naturally or are supplementing with melatonin. Too much melatonin can cause sleep disruptions, like nightmares. 

Can eating bananas at night make me gain weight?

There is no conclusive evidence that bananas will cause weight gain or weight loss. If you have already eaten your body’s needed calories that day, eating a bedtime snack, regardless of what it is, could contribute to weight gain.