Cheap, easy to find, and a favourite fruit of many, you can’t go wrong with eating apples. They’re not just tasty too. Eating an apple before bed can help you sleep and give you a number of health benefits as well. We explain how, next.
Eating apples before bed: The surprising sleep aid
Although eaten around the globe for centuries, it’s only recently that we’re discovering that eating an apple before bed may actually benefit sleep.
That’s because apples are a source of tryptophan – an essential amino acid that we don’t produce naturally, and which we must obtain through diet. Supplementing with this amino acid appears to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep as tryptophan helps your body produce an important sleep hormone called melatonin.
Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle, and is so important to our sleep health that often individuals who are struggling to sleep – or have been diagnosed with insomnia – are prescribed melatonin. Therefore eating apples before bed could be a great way to top up your natural melatonin levels at the right time and help you sleep.
Tryptophan also helps your body produce serotonin – a hormone that helps with our mood, well-being and happiness. Serotonin has a role to play in inducing sleep, and is needed in order for the body to produce that all-important sleep hormone – melatonin!
It doesn’t end there either. Apples are also a source of folate – also known as Vitamin B9 – which tends to be low in individuals that suffer from insomnia and sleep disorders. So topping up folate levels by eating apples could help sleep quality.
Although there is one caveat. Apples can be quite high in natural sugar content, so be sure not to eat too many in the evening or you could end up with unwanted weight gain.
Eating an apple before bed could help sleep quality and onset due to the presence of tryptophan – which helps produce the sleep hormone melatonin – as well as folate. All of which have been shown to have a positive effect on sleep.
What are the HEALTH benefits of eating an apple before bed?
This remarkable fruit is also an anti-inflammatory, and is loaded with antioxidants. Both are crucial to keeping your health in check, and can even reverse damage done to your body.
The anti-inflammatory nature of apples has been studied before, and is important to note as 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 apples or walnuts – is a no-brainer.
Indeed, there appears to be evidence that daily consumption of apples can lead to lower cholesterol levels and lower inflammation levels.
Apples are also a great source of 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 (which can cause harm) and antioxidants – that imbalance 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 apples or grapes – should be a priority.
The science has been backed up too. Consumption of apples appears to inhibit cancer cell proliferation and could help fight Alzheimer’s disease. Whilst one apple a day has even been seen to reduce stroke mortality by 27% and ischemic heart disease mortality risk by 25%.
Apples have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. Because of that, several studies have shown apples to have a positive effect on health, potentially protect against disease, and boost the immune system.
Apple for sleep and overall health: Incorporating it into your diet
Apples can be found in shops and supermarkets around the world. They are delicious and can be eaten in their natural form, and so are easy to incorporate into your diet.
For sleep benefits, eating an apple alongside a sleep superfood like pineapple in the evening will suffice.
Eating apples before bed: What about side effects?
If you don’t have an apple allergy then moderate consumption of apples shouldn’t cause any side effects. However eating apples in excess could lead to side effects like bloating, gas, diarrhoea, and weight gain.
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.