Coffee shops all across America are breaking out their Pumpkin Spice, but we’re here to sing the unsung praises of another fall marvel that doesn’t get enough love—even though it’s at its peak in cool, crisp autumn air.
That’s right, folks, while you’ve been ooing and ahhing over orange goo in your coffee, the blushing apple waits quietly in a shadowy orchard, ready to be mulled into a cider or drowned in a red wine sangria, not realizing it’s a star in its own right.
The apple, whether glowing green or speckled pink, fades to the back of the line when the temperature drops. Always a pastry filling, never the tasteful porch accent. But for a few weeks out of the year, folks just about anywhere dig out that one weird dust-bunny-coated basket in the closet and collect the faithful fruit that not only keeps doctors away, but might improve your sleep.
The better bedtime snack There’s a myth out there that apples have the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, so you should avoid them at night. The reality is that the little boost to your step you may get after eating an apple comes from the naturally occurring sugars of the fruit—it contains 0mg of caffeine. If you’re looking to avoid sugar before bedtime, you might want to count the apple out, but there are a few other components that might actually make it the ideal late-night snack.
Apples are a great source of fiber which helps you sleep in a few ways. First, fiber-heavy snacks stave off hunger longer than other foods, meaning you won’t wake up in the middle of the night with a rumbling stomach. Fiber also helps your digestive system break down food slowly and absorb the nutritional content better—your digestion crawls to a halt while you sleep, so if you’re going to snack before bed, making better choices can really benefit your body overnight.
Swapping out your usual midnight snacks full of sugar and fat with an apple can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Foods with high carb and fat content have a tendency to spike your energy while they digest, meaning you’re sleep gets interrupted throughout the night. This disjointed sleep can also cause nightmares.
Apples are packed with sleep-supporting vitamins Apples provide your body with tons of sleep-supporting vitamins and antioxidants.
Vitamin B-6 Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B-6 is one of the star players when it comes to converting food into glucose (Your body’s energy source!) and metabolizing protein and fat from your diet. It also plays a part in creating serotonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep pattern. Vitamin B-6 deficiency has been linked to insomnia and depression, getting enough into your system can help you avoid these issues.
Vitamin C A few recent studies found that people who consumed lower amounts of vitamin C also slept less. Low vitamin C levels have been linked to restless leg syndrome and an increase in sleep disturbances. Maintaining a healthy level of vitamin C can also help with memory impairment and cognitive function.
Potassium Potassium is an essential electrolyte that allows for our cells to function properly. We can’t produce potassium on our own, so getting it from our diet is extremely important. Two things occur when your potassium balance is off-kilter: muscle spasms and heart irregularities. Low potassium levels can cause muscle spasms that interrupt your sleep and keep you up at night, as well as heart flutters and light-headed feelings. Both can keep you up at night and be dangerous, so keeping your potassium levels in check is vital.
Polyphenols Polyphenols are a group of antioxidants found in plants that help maintain your health. These keep you functioning in a variety of ways, but when it comes to sleep, their ability to help you burn fat and fall asleep faster.
Get out there and start gathering the bedtime snack you’ve been missing out on.