Are oranges okay to eat before bed?
In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “are oranges okay to eat before bed?” and discuss the risks and benefits of eating oranges before bed..
Are oranges okay to eat before bed?
Yes, oranges are okay to eat before bed. Oranges are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants (3). Eating foods rich in antioxidants can have a positive effect on sleep quality (2).
However, there are some drawbacks of eating oranges or any food before bed. In addition, due to the high amounts of fibers in this fruit, it can cause undesirable gastrointestinal symptoms in sensitive individuals.
What are the benefits of eating oranges before bed?
The benefits of eating oranges before bed is the high antioxidant property of oranges. Oranges have several phytochemicals that act as antioxidants, such as flavonols and vitamin C (3).
According to studies, the ingestion of a considerable quantity of antioxidants before bedtime can reduce the negative effects of the reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are one of the factors reducing the sleep quality (2).
Oxidative compounds impair the proper function of neurotransmitters in the body which could explain many sleep disorders, according to studies.
In addition, oranges contain folic acid, a B vitamin essential for cellular replication (5). One of the possible causes of insomnia is the deficiency of folic acid (2).
It is known that the B vitamins have positive effects on sleep promotion due to their role on the production of serotonin and melatonin (1).
Therefore, by the consumption of oranges it is possible to have the benefits of folate intake which are beneficial for improving sleep quality.
What are the risks of eating oranges before bed?
The possible drawbacks of eating oranges at night are related to the negative effects of eating habits prior to sleep and to the fruit composition itself (4). Overall, studies suggest that consuming calories in the evening are associated with a higher body mass index.
A study among young students reported that those who ate within 3 h of bedtime were more likely to experience nocturnal awakenings (27.8%) than those who ate more than 3 h before bedtime (19.2%) (1).
According to the scientific literature, avoiding meals close to bedtime may improve sleep quality. It is thought that meals close to sleep time contribute to poor sleep quality through gastrointestinal discomfort, heartburn, and reflux (1).
On the other hand, studies showed that the digestion of fruits containing pectin, such as kiwi and orange takes about 1 h to be completed (2).
Because of the high water content in oranges, numerous visits to the bathroom may be necessary, which may lead to restless nights, sleep deprivation, and weariness the next day. According to studies, eating close to sleep predicts a higher total daily caloric intake in healthy adults, potentially increasing the risk of weight gain (1).
Oranges contain a high amount of sugar and fibers, which may cause gastrointestinal discomfort, such as abdominal cramps, flatulence and bloating, due to the fermentation of these fibers (4). The discomfort may have negative effects on sleep quality.
In addition, oranges contain fructose, which is a FODMAP. FODMAPs are fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols that are poorly absorbed by the intestines, affecting the gastrointestinal tract.
When these substances are fermented by intestinal bacteria, they cause changes in gas and fluid levels in the gut, leading to increased water content and contributing to the common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) such as abdominal pain, bloating, altered bowel habits, and excessive flatus.
People suffering from IBS should avoid oranges, especially at night (6).
Can you drink orange juice before bed?
Yes, you can drink orange juice before bed and orange juice can also favor your sleep quality. However, it is better to drink fresh pressed orange juice.
Processed orange juice may not have the same amount of vitamins and antioxidant properties of fresh pressed orange juice, as processed juices undergo thermal treatments that destroy vitamins, especially thermally unstable vitamins, such as vitamin C and folic acid.
The amount of these vitamins also decreases during storage of orange and orange juice (7). Therefore, to have the beneficial effects of orange on sleep quality you should drink fresh orange juice.
What should you avoid before going to sleep?
Before going to sleep you should avoid caffeine-containing foods and beverages, such as coffee, black tea and chocolate.
It is also not recommended to drink a great quantity of liquids, as to prevent night awaking to bladder emptying. Alcoholic beverages may also reduce thes sleep quality (1).
Meals containing high-calorie and high-fat meals should also not be consumed within 60 min of sleep, as they are related to decreased sleep efficiency.
Instead, choose meals that contain antioxidants and vitamins, especially vitamin B and tryptophan, which are related to improved sleep quality.
Other FAQs about Oranges that you may be interested in.
In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “are oranges okay to eat before bed?” and discussed the risks and benefits of eating oranges before bed.
- Chung, Nikola, et al. Does the Proximity of Meals to Bedtime Influence the Sleep of Young Adults? A Cross-Sectional Survey of University Students. Int J Environ Res Public Health, 2020, 17.
- Lin, Hsiao-Han, et al. Effect of kiwifruit consumption on sleep quality in adults with sleep problems. Asia Pacific j clin nutr, 2011, 20, 169-174..
- Suntar, Ipek, et al. An overview on Citrus aurantium L.: Its functions as food ingredient and therapeutic agent. Oxid med cell longevity, 2018.
- Dennis-Wall, Jennifer C., et al. A beverage containing orange pomace improves laxation and modulates the microbiome in healthy adults: a randomised, blinded, controlled trial. J Funct Food, 2019, 60, 103438.
- Öhrvik, Veronica, and Cornelia Witthöft. Orange juice is a good folate source in respect to folate content and stability during storage and simulated digestion. Euro j nutr, 2008, 47, 92-98.
- Barrett, Jacqueline S. How to institute the low‐FODMAP diet. J gastroenterol hepatol, 2017, 32, 8-10.
- Sánchez-Moreno, Concepción, et al. Vitamin C, provitamin A carotenoids, and other carotenoids in high-pressurized orange juice during refrigerated storage. J Agric Food Chem, 2003, 51, 647-653.