Eating anything shortly before going to bed can lead to difficulties falling asleep and may disturb your sleep throughout the night. While this is true of most foods, rich, heavy, spicy and fatty foods may be more detrimental to your sleep than others. Containing a number of sleep-promoting vitamins and minerals, polyphenol antioxidants and almost no fat, apples might be just what you need to fix your late-night hunger pangs
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Vitamins and Minerals
Apples are a good source of vitamin C and can supply you with vitamin B6 and potassium, both of which may promote proper sleep. Vitamin C can help decrease blood pressure, improve your breathing and lower your blood sugar, helping you to relax and breathe properly as you sleep. Potassium serves as an electrolyte by conducting electrical signals through your body, helping to maintain a regular heart beat and conducting nerve transmissions that promote relaxation and sleep. Vitamin B6 can reduce stress and help you sleep by promoting the release of the mood-elevating neurotransmitter serotonin. In addition, it is essential to breaking down fats and using energy, potentially helping you to burn fat as you sleep.
Polyphenols in apples are a type of antioxidant mainly found in their skins. As such, apple juice and other apple products made without the skins may not have the same polyphenol content as whole apples. Quercetin is one of these chemicals, which helps to regulate the breakdown of carbohydrates and lower blood sugar. This prevents large spikes in blood sugar by allowing your body to slowly process foods, helping you to avoid late-night surges in energy. Phlorizin is another blood sugar-regulating polyphenol, helping to control your blood glucose levels while you sleep.
Fiber and Water
Approximately 86 percent of the edible portion of an average, medium-sized apple's 182 g is water. A medium-sized apple also contains approximately 15 percent of your daily fiber, providing necessary bulk to keep you full as you sleep. The insoluble fiber in an apple also helps to retain its water in your intestines. This prevents washroom breaks through the night and aids digestion. The soluble fiber in apples, on the other hand, is broken down by your body and can help to lower blood cholesterol levels, making for better circulation and sleep over time.
Calories, Carbs and Fat
Apples contain almost no fat and are low in calories, with a medium-sized apple adding only 95 calories to your daily intake. While apples contain almost 10 percent of your daily carbs, this carbohydrate content arises mainly from simple sugars and fiber. The blood sugar-regulating properties of apples slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream, helping you to avoid energy surges as you sleep. Coupled with their high fiber content, this slow breakdown of simple sugars makes apples a fine snack for filling yourself up before sleeping and remaining full throughout the night.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory
- "Today Health"; Eat Your Way to a Good Night’s Sleep; Joy Bauer; February 2008
- "Nutrition Journal"; Apple Phytochemicals and Their Health Benefits; Jeanelle Boyer and Rui H. Liu; May 2004
- "Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews"; Phlorizin: A Review; Joel R. L. Ehrenkranz et al.; January-February 2005
- "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Ingestion of a Tea Rich in Catechins Leads to a Reduction in Body Fat and Malondialdehyde-Modified LDL in Men; Tomonori Nagao et al.; January 2005
- University of Illinois Extension: Apple Nutrition
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Potassium