They’re delicious, available around the world, and are packed with nutrients. But did you know that eating a kiwi before bed can help you sleep? We explain exactly why, but also show you how eating kiwi has health benefits that stretch far past bedtime.
Kiwi for sleep: The fruit as a sleep aid
Packed with flavour and nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin E, eating kiwi is never a bad idea. Furthermore, eating kiwi before bed has powerful benefits for individuals who struggle to sleep.
For one, Kiwi has melatonin – a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Individuals who are struggling to sleep, or have been diagnosed with insomnia, are often prescribed melatonin. However this hormone – which the body also produces naturally – can be found in kiwi.
It’s also rich in folate – also known as Vitamin B9. This essential vitamin is low in individuals that suffer from insomnia and sleep disorders, so topping up folate levels by eating kiwi could directly help sleep quality. A conclusion that appears to have been confirmed in a study involving students with chronic insomnia.
Kiwi also has serotonin – a hormone that helps with our mood, well-being and happiness. Serotonin also has a role to play in inducing sleep, and is needed in order for the body to produce melatonin. For that reason, a study done on women who had self-reported sleep problems showed that eating kiwi ‘significantly increased’ total sleep time and sleep efficiency. It went on to conclude that eating kiwi ‘may improve sleep onset, duration, and efficiency in adults with self-reported sleep disturbances’.
Kiwi has melatonin, serotonin, and folate – all three are important in the sleep process. Subsequently studies have shown that eating kiwi appears to help insomnia, sleep time, and sleep onset.
The other health benefits of eating a kiwi before bed
This remarkable berry is also an anti-inflammatory, and is rich in antioxidants. Both are crucial to keeping your health in check, and can even reverse damage done to your body.
With its anti-inflammatory properties, Kiwi can play a role in boosting your immune system. That’s because many major diseases like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and Alzheimer’s are often linked to chronic inflammation. Therefore incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet – like Kiwi – is a no-brainer.
In fact a research paper looking at eight previous studies came to the conclusion that eating kiwi ‘may be associated with direct and indirect anticancer effects’. That is, eating kiwi before bed could actually protect you from cancer.
Another study, which looked at the results of eating two kiwis a day, concluded that markers of metabolic and cardiovascular health were improved due to consuming the fruit.
Kiwi is also rich in antioxidants. That’s important as antioxidants appear to have a direct effect on sleep quality, as they support the immune system and help promote restfulness at night.
Antioxidant foods also help protect your body and can even reverse damage that has been done by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress comes about when there’s an imbalance between free radical molecules and antioxidants, which then causes illness and tissue damage. The result can be the development of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and many others. Therefore eating antioxidant foods – like Kiwi or garlic – should be a priority.
The effect of eating kiwi on oxidative stress has been shown, with one study concluding that consumption of kiwi appeared to ‘alleviate cognitive deficits’ caused by oxidative stress. Eating a kiwi before bed could therefore help in staving off diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Kiwi has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. Because of that, numerous studies have shown kiwi to have a positive effect on health, and even to possess anti-cancer properties.
Kiwi for sleep: Incorporating it into your diet
Thankfully kiwi is tasty and full of flavour so can be easily eaten in its natural form. For its sleep benefits you can eat kiwi around 30 minutes before bed.
There are many other ways to incorporate kiwi into your diet too. Adding sliced kiwi to a fruit salad, or including it in a smoothie, are both easy quick ways to get the health benefits of this superfood.
Topping a yoghurt with kiwi is also a tasty way to include it within your existing diet. Add some cinnamon – which is also a sleep superfood as we’ve written about before – for maximum benefits.
Kiwi for sleep: Any side effects?
Eating kiwi in moderation is unlikely to cause any side effects, although in rare cases some people are allergic to the fruit. Consuming kiwi in excess may cause an upset stomach, and diarrhoea.
As always, we recommend consulting with your doctor if undertaking a diet change, or if you have concerns about how a specific food may interact with any preexisting conditions or medicines.