Olive oil is widely recognized for its versatility. It has a wide range of uses, from cooking to dressing salads and being used in the cosmetic industry to make creams, body lotions, and soaps. It is also widely used in the pharmaceutical industry because of its numerous health benefits; some communities even use it as fuel for traditional lamps.
Olive oil has been around for quite a while, dating back to the 8th Millenium BC.
However, as effective and beneficial as olive oil is, is it okay to take olive oil before bed? And what effects will it have on your sleeping habits and body?
This article will answer those questions.
But First: What is Olive Oil?
Olive oil is a fatty liquid oil obtained by pressing whole olive fruits. It is mainly made up of monosaturated acids and contains about 83% oleic acid and small amounts of linolenic and palmitic acids. Olive oil is also rich in Vitamin E and K.
Olive oil contains various nutrients which have nutritional and beneficial properties when taken. Most of these benefits are a result of its primary contents.
Depending on the concentration of monosaturated acids present, there are various cultivars of olive oil.
In terms of flavor, taste, and health benefits, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) with a maximum of 0.8% acidity is regarded as one of the best varieties.
Olive Oil Before Bed: What’s the Effects?
The acids in olive oil are mainly monosaturated, and they have many effects on the body.
There is no specific research on whether drinking olive oil before bed is a good idea or not. But we can consider the effects of taking olive oil before bed based on its primary constituents’ effects on the body.
1. Feeling of Fullness
People living in the Mediterranean are one of the most significant users of olive oil. They use it in many of their food preparations, and there have been claims that it gives one the sensation of being full. So you don’t feel hungry even if you’ve not eaten much.
This can inadvertently improve sleep quality. One of the most common reasons for temporary insomnia is overeating and having indigestion.
This is because when you eat late or overeat at night, your body will have to start undergoing digestion. This can be an uncomfortable experience when trying to get some sleep; which is why only light meals are recommended before bed.
However, since taking olive oil induces a feeling of fullness, you will not have to overeat before bed, thus, sparing your body from going through the stress of digestion.
It may also help you lose weight, as you feel full sooner and so don’t need to eat as much.
Apart from this, olive oil also aids digestion. Thus, taking it some minutes before bed will cause your meals to digest faster, and the earlier your food digests, the sooner you feel comfortable enough to go to bed.
2. Elimination of Free Radicals
Olive oil is a natural antioxidant agent. It helps to remove free radicals in the body, which may cause you to feel uncomfortable and tense.
You can help rid yourself of all these radicals by taking olive oil before bed, leaving you in a calm and relaxed state—which is an ideal state for sleeping.
However, because of the high-fat content in olive oil and laxative properties of the oil, taking excess of it can cause mild to moderate diarrhea.
That can hinder sleep of course. So if taking olive oil before bed, make sure it is never in excess.
4. Balancing Sugar Level
Olive oil, especially EVOO, helps to balance blood sugar level, especially if those levels are above average. Among other things, high blood sugar levels can actually increase your heart rate and these activities will likely keep one awake.
However, since olive oil can help to bring down blood sugar levels, it can also cause a reduction in activity, inadvertently helping to induce sleep.
Now that we’ve looked at the possible effects olive oil might have on the body when taken before bed, let’s go check out some of the proven effects it has on the body.
5. Digestive Health
Apart from giving one a state of fullness, olive oil is good for the digestive system. It actually serves as a lubricant – easing the passage of food and waste.
It also reduces the production of gastric acid excess, which can cause nausea, bloating, heartburn, and abdominal pains.
Based on this, taking olive oil some hours before you go to bed could help prevent these symptoms, leaving you feeling light and poised for sleep.
Proven Effects of Olive Oil on the Body
1. Powerful Antioxidant
We mentioned earlier that olive oil has antioxidation properties.
While the major components in olive oil are monosaturated fats, it also contains a moderate amount of antioxidants like tocopherol, B-carotene, lutein, squalene, and others.
These protect the body on a cellular level, fight inflammation, and protect oxidation of the blood cholesterol level.
2. Strong Anti-inflammatory Agent
EVOO, the cultivar of olive oil that contains phenolic compounds, has been proven to have strong inflammatory effects.
The health benefits of these are numerous.
Many chronic diseases like cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and so on result from uncontrollable inflammation of particular body cells.
Olive oil has potent antioxidants like Oleocanthal which also have strong inflammatory effects.
A particular study concluded that
The primary fatty acid in olive oil, oleic acid, can reduce inflammatory markers and also inhibit some genes and proteins that cause inflammation.
3. Cardiovascular Health
Some studies show that people in the Mediterranean who include a lot of olive oil in their diet have a lower chance of having cardiovascular health-related issues.
Monosaturated fat, of which oleic acid is part, was confirmed by The American Heart Association to reduce the risk of heart disease.
4. Healthy Skin and Hair
Two essential vitamins in maintaining the body, skin, and hair are abundant in olive oil. Those are Vitamin E and Vitamin K.
Using standard olive oil will give you healthy skin, but using the more healthy option – EVOO – is even better for your skin.
This is the reason many cosmetic products have olive oil as their base.
Olive Oil Before Bed: Our Final Thoughts
The uses and benefits of olive oil are numerous and amazing, and on top of that, olive oil might actually be beneficial for sleeping.
However, these claims, except the indicated proven ones, do not have sufficient research backing yet. Therefore, before you start using it for anything, it is advised you make adequate research and also consult with your health practitioner.