Do you have trouble falling asleep or wake up and have difficulty falling back to sleep? Do we sound like one of the ubiquitous TV ads pitching all manner of pharmaceutical sleep aids? Well, time to wake up — or nod off — to kiwis, which may help you rest a lot easier, deeper, and longer, with added health benefits to boot!

Don’t get us wrong, prescribed and even OTC sleep medications can be effective — but they often come with hefty price tags, side effects, and risk of dependence. Think a tasty tropical nighttime treat could provide similar sleepy-time support? Before you tell us to “dream on,” look at the evidence: When 24 volunteers were told to eat two kiwis one hour before bedtime for four weeks, they ended up sleeping up to 15% longer — and falling asleep 41% faster than compared to baseline (non-kiwi-consuming days before and after the study period).

More research is needed to determine what makes kiwi so scrumptiously soporific, but there’s little doubt these fuzzy wonders are “extra strength” when it comes to nutrition: The recommended “two at bedtime” will also provide you 190% vitamin C, 75% vitamin K, 20% fiber, 14% potassium, for a mere 92 calories.  Plus kiwis are loaded with powerful enzymes — actinidin — which Dole Nutrition Lab researchers found to be concentrated in the tangy green flesh. With such a nutrient lineup, little surprise that preliminary science is uncovering other potential kiwi benefits, including a reduction in blood fats and possibly lower blood clot risk, significant relief for chronic constipation sufferers, and even  reduced asthma symptoms. Our favorite way of enjoying kiwis — aside from sliced fresh?  Frozen kiwis and bananas turned into an easy, delicious, nutritious ice cream-like treat with Yonanas®, as demonstrated here.

Published April 1, 2013