Can Bananas REALLY Help Babies Sleep?

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Written by Gina Wagg BA, Dip.

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Since the viral banana sleep hack for babies, many have tried it themselves. But what does science have to say?

Bananas can help make babies and children sleep better and longer. This is because banana is an excellent source of magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that helps increase melatonin levels, improve sleep efficiency, and combat insomnia and short sleep.

Bananas sound like excellent foods for babies in this respect, but are there any risks? Learn more below!

Can Bananas Help Baby Sleep?

This question was raised ever since a mom on TikTok uploaded her “hack” for making her toddler sleep through the night. And yes, her secret was a banana. She gives her child a banana before going to bed and she claims that her baby sleeps well through the night. 

So, can bananas help put babies to a restful sleep at night? Perhaps.

According to a study, magnesium can help increase the levels of melatonin, the sleep hormone, and decrease cortisol, the stress hormone. This results in a better quality of sleep, as indicated by markers such as sleep time, sleep efficiency, sleep onset, and early awakening, among others (source: Nutrients). 

bananas sliced

Another study shows that magnesium also has a positive effect on the management of insomnia according to similar markers as above (source: Journal of Research in Medical Sciences) as well as with short sleep cycles (source: Nutrients).  

However, these numerous studies use magnesium supplements and not dietary magnesium or magnesium taken from the diet, and the subjects were not all children. Still, these results seem to support the effects of magnesium on promoting healthy sleep habits.

Bananas contain magnesium. A medium size banana has approximately 31.9 mg of magnesium (source: USDA). This may not be a lot for kids, but remember, they have smaller bodies, which means that the magnesium in one piece of a banana could be enough to take effect.

Moreover, children tend to absorb nutrients from food faster than adults because they have a greater need for growth and development (source: Revere Health). And this could explain why babies can fall asleep after eating a banana.  

This remains a theory until scientific studies focusing solely on bananas and infant sleep have been conducted.

Are Bananas Bad for Babies at Night?

Bananas have actually been used in traditional medicine for a long time. Eating one before sleep can raise the production of melatonin to optimum levels during the night (source: Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry).

There is no current literature on bananas causing problems when eaten at night except when eaten in excess. Bananas have sugars and starches that can decay teeth when eaten too much and not brushing the teeth before bed.

Baby Eating Banana Outside

According to dentists, tooth decay can start as soon as the baby’s teeth come out. Feeding babies bananas and brushing their teeth before bed can lead to decay and pain. This can be prevented by brushing their teeth after eating. 

You can use a smear of toothpaste intended for children according to their age for babies to toddlers up to 3 years of age, and a pea-sized amount for 3 to 6-year-olds. Gently brush their teeth after eating a banana (source: NHS). 

If you’re asking, what about the sugar in bananas causing hyperactivity instead of inducing sleep? 

According to 16 studies on sugar and its hyperactivity effect, sugar has no effect on the behavior and cognitive function of children (source: Australian Academy of Science). 

We hope this article answers your questions about feeding bananas to babies to make them sleep better and longer. Overall, there’s not enough proof yet that a banana will make your baby sleep, but there’s no harm in them enjoying a banana before bed at an age-appropriate time.