Teas have long been used to serve as aids for everything from better energy (matcha!) to digestive assistance (hello, ginger). Sleep has certainly been no exception. While you may have heard that a cup of lavender or chamomile tea help promote good sleep, there’s another, lesser-known tea linked to a more restful snooze: banana peel tea.
Typically, banana peels tend to go straight in the compost bin. But you can actually save the peels and brew them into a lightly sweet tea. (Sustainability, FTW!) Skeptical? I was too—until I started doing some research.
Essentially, bananas as a whole are linked to promoting good sleep. “Bananas are full of various sleep-promoting nutrients, specifically the natural muscle relaxants magnesium and potassium,” says registered dietitian Eliza Savage, RD. “They also contain an amino acid called tryptophan, which is a precursor for the sleep hormone, melatonin, and the mood-influencing neurotransmitter, serotonin.” So incorporating a banana into your dessert (or as your bedtime snack) could work in your favor when you turn the lights off later.
These sleep-promoting benefits may extend to the peel as well. “Based on some research reports, banana peels do have high concentrations of potassium and magnesium,” Savage says. But since eating a whole peel sounds…unappealing (sorry!), you can make tea out of the banana peel instead.
“To my knowledge, it is safe to brew tea using banana peels. However, I would recommend cleaning the banana peel thoroughly, and choosing an organic banana,” says Savage, to avoid ingesting any potential residual pesticides or herbicides.
To make banana peel tea, start with a ripe, organic banana. It doesn’t take much of the banana peel to get the positive effects of the tea; between a quarter and a half of the peel is enough. You may also choose to include a bit of the banana flesh for flavor as well.
Once you have the portion of the banana peel you’re using—and banana, if applicable—put it in a small saucepan and submerge them in water. Let the water boil, then reduce the heat let the tea brew for about ten minutes. Then remove the peel, pour the water into a mug, and enjoy.
Savage recommends also incorporating spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, or turmeric into your brew. “They complement the taste of the banana peel, but also promote relaxation and good sleep,” she says. If you do so, add them while the water and banana peel are brewing, or sprinkle them right into your mug at the end.
Next time you’re up counting sheep, check your kitchen to see if you have any bananas. With any luck (and a little hot water), you’ll be drifting off to dreamland in no time.