Does this sound familiar?
You’re sleeping soundly, enjoying the bliss of an amazing dream (which may or may not be flying like superman…) and suddenly you’re woken by the sensation of your bladder feeling as if it’s about to burst…
Yep, it’s the worst feeling in the world!
I know this has happened to me… and I hate it.
So I decided to go on a mission to take back my hours which are meant for sleep, NOT bathroom breaks.
Here’s what I found:
The first thing that I discovered when embarking on my mission was the name of the problem I’d been facing - Nocturia.
Nocturia is described by the International Continence Society as waking up one or more times throughout the night to urinate.
Once I knew the problem I was facing, I decided to do some research in order to find a solution.
What I found was a shocking answer to my problem… Raisins.
The first thing that popped up in my googling adventure was this article by medical anthropologist, Terry Graedon - which says that many people have tried eating a handful of raisins before laying down to catch some z’s, and have had massive amounts of success in reducing the number of bathroom trips that were being taken in the dead of the night.
After seeing the success that other people were having with this method, I decided to dig deeper and see if raisins could really be the solution to my problem. I wrote everything I found useful below so that others with the same problem I’ve been having can also see if this method will benefit them.
Sleep benefits provided by raisins
It turns out a good reason to eat raisins is that they contain naturally occurring melatonin (the hormone released by the pineal gland of the brain that regulates the sleep-wake cycle). This matters because Melatonin works together with your circadian rhythms to ensure you’re getting all 8 hours of sleep that your body and mind need to repair itself, that way you can get up in the morning on time with enough time to shower and eat a healthy breakfast before you start your day.
Finding out about that piece of information was almost enough for me to start using raisins as a remedy for my Nocturia instantly… sometimes I could definitely use some Melatonin to let me know I’m tired, so I’ll FINALLY turn off “Family Feud” and go to sleep.
You can find more information about melatonin in this article on Healthline.
Another reason raisins may help you sleep better is that they contain antioxidants - substances which prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals; This is great because without antioxidants in your body there’d be nothing to battle the oxidative stress that can build up in your body.
If you don’t include some good sources of antioxidants in your diet then your body has no way to fight off the oxidative stress you accumulate in everyday life. Some really bad things can happen if oxidative stress is allowed to build up for too long because it can seriously disturb your sleep and can present adverse effects to our health such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even cancer. Eating foods with antioxidants not only helps reduce the likelihood of such risks, but also helps to promote the mental calmness which initiates a deep and restful sleep.
You can find more information about Antioxidants in this article on MedicalNewsToday.
How do added sugars affect our sleep?
My biggest question so far leading up to this topic was,
“Won’t raisins just keep me up due to their high sugar content?”
I bet you’re probably having similar thoughts so, allow me to share with you what I found that answered this question.
I don’t know about you, but when I was younger my parents always got onto me if I tried to eat sugar to close to bedtime, they’d say,
“You’ll be bouncing off the walls for hours if you eat those Skittles!”
Were our parental figures right to stop us from eating our sugary treats before bedtime though?
Yes and no, It’s sort of a double-edged sword.
Depending on what sugary food you’re eating and how much of it you’re taking in, you could be doing more harm to yourself than you are helping yourself.
If you’re inhaling Kit Kats left and right an hour before you go to sleep, odds are you’ll probably be up later than you’d like to be and quite possibly with stomach pains caused by indigestion.
However, if you eat a handful of raisins an hour before bedtime you won’t have the same experience. Instead of a prolonged bedtime and indigestion to top it off, you’ll sleep as deeply as an anchor thrown into the Marina Trench.
The reason for this is the type of sugars that are used in these two very different sugary snacks. You see, Kit Kats contain added sugars, which are sugar carbohydrates added to foods and beverages during their production. Added sugars are not good for you as they contain little to no real nutritional value and almost instantly after consuming something like candy, soda or pastries, your blood pressure spikes and gives you high levels of energy which can prevent you from falling asleep.
Find more information about added sugars on the American Heart Association’s website.
On the other hand fruits such as raisins, strawberries and peaches contain natural sugars, which are naturally occurring in fruit and dairy products in the form of fructose. Natural sugars will also give you energy, but not nearly as quickly as added sugars will, which means that there’s no instant sugar high and more notably, no insane sugar crash.
So yes, you’re parental figures were somewhat right about taking in sugar before bedtime. Taking in too much sugar before sleeping can have negative effects on your sleep schedule, though they also weren’t 100% correct either. If you eat in moderation and you’re choosing the right sources of sugar such as vine dried grapes, they’ll actually help you get a deeper and more refreshing sleep.
Fitting Raisins Into Your Nightly Routine
The next part of my mission to solve my nocturia issues was finding out the best way to work raisins into my nightly routine, like when I should eat them, how much I should eat, etc. So, I did some more research to find the best way to go about doing this.
How many raisins should I eat?
Something that popped up frequently during this mission was,
“Make sure you’re eating sugary foods in moderation before bedtime”. This really resonated with me, so I’ll touch on it once more.
You need to have moderation when you’re eating anything sugary before bedtime. Eating too much of anything sugary can have negative effects on your sleep, even foods like vine dried raisins. Being able to understand and practice moderation is a great life skill to have, so this could be a great chance to practice and hone your self-discipline!
A good amount of raisins would be 10-15 (roughly a handful). In all the success stories with this particular method of improving your sleep, I found that the person having problems sleeping benefitted the most when they didn’t eat too many, but also didn’t eat too few. So, you should start with 10-15 raisins, and adjust it according to what works for you.
As far as how you should eat them, there are plenty of options to choose from. After reading some different accounts of people who eat raisins regularly I put together a few different ways they eat raisins which include Soaking your raisins in water before eating them, in low-fat yogurt or even on a low-sugar cereal. If you do eat them by themselves, I’d recommend setting aside a predetermined portion, that way you don’t go overboard and accidentally eat the whole bag… I did that one time, long story short it was NOT a pleasant experience.
What will happen if I eat raisins daily?
Throughout the process of finding all of the information that I needed to put this article together, I found many different advantages besides sleeping more soundly. From helping you sleep better, to stabilizing your blood sugar - raisins can help you with many different problems…here’s a few of my favorite benefits!
Raisins can prevent/treat Anaemia:
If you’ve ever struggled with an iron deficiency then raisins can help you!
Raisins are a great source of iron, and can easily help you meet your daily iron needs. No more waking up to new bruises that you have no idea how they got there, you’ll also be able to say goodbye to that bruise that’s been on your arm for months… eat some raisins daily and you may be Anaemia free before you know it!
Raisins aid in digestion:
Eat your daily portion of raisins and you may be able to say goodbye to constant constipation that causes you to spend hours on the toilet.
Raisins contain soluble fibers that may aid your body in the digestion process. These soluble fibers can help your small intestines keep foods flowing effortlessly through which leads to better digestion.
Raisins can lower risk of factors that lead to heart disease:
With low levels of sodium and high levels of potassium, your blood vessels may thank you for helping them to relax. A study done by Postgraduate Medicine shows that regularly eating raisins may do wonders as far as preventing cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure.
Raisins may help fight cancer cells:
Raisins contain antioxidants, which help your body to battle free radicals and oxidative stress. This is crucial because both free radicals and oxidative stress are known risk factors of cancer, tumor growth and aging.
So adding more raisins to your diet may be beneficial in helping reduce your chances of cancer. This does require more confirming evidence before being regarded as fact though.
Those are just a few benefits of raisins that I really value, there’s still many more that are worth taking a look at!
Find a larger list of health benefits here.
The best kinds of raisins to eat before you sleep
Before I send you off to fight your own battle against sleepless nights, I’ve got one more chunk of information that I hope will help you. In order to get a memorably great night’s rest, you should eat these kinds of raisins to increase the likelihood of this method actually working for you.
While most raisins do include all of the benefits I’ve been telling you about, there are some kinds that are more effective than others.
Regular raisins are your best option for a goodnight’s sleep, raisins with reduced sugar, calories or carbs are even better for getting your z’s though.
Our sugar and carb free mini raisins are a great variation that can help you get a goodnight’s rest due to their complete lack of sugar. You can check them out on our website from this link.
A couple of flavors of raisins that make a great snack, but shouldn’t be eaten before bedtime are Peanut Butter raisins, Chocolate raisins, Watermelon raisins or any other flavors that may include additional sweeteners. These flavors could possibly have negative effects on your sleep so I’d suggest sticking with normal raisins before bed and enjoying the other flavors sometime throughout the day.
Here’s a little refresher of what we went over in the article:
- The many benefits provided by raisins for a deeper, more refreshing sleep.
- How sugars can be simultaneously good and bad before sleep.
- The best way to incorporate raisins into your nightly routine
- Benefits of eating raisins daily
- Kinds of raisins to eat before sleeping
Raisins are a great way to improve your sleep quality without needing to use pills or other less natural methods to help us sleep. When we have problems, nature always provides some kind of solution to help us out, we just have to take advantage of what we’re offered!
I’m going to give it a go, I trust the data and am excited to stop waking up each night to use the bathroom.
How about you? Do you think this method is worth trying?
Let me know below!