This post has been quality checked in line with our Editorial and Research Policy.

Does Kiwi Help You Sleep? (Medical Doctor’s Verdict)

Darshan Shingala Profile Picture.
  • This article has been written and medically reviewed by Dr. Darshan Shingala (M.D, MPH) – a qualified and practicing medical doctor – for maximum factual accuracy and reliability.

You may have heard that eating kiwi can help you sleep.

But is there any scientific evidence to support this claim?

There is some scientific evidence suggesting that consuming kiwi can aid with better sleep by reducing inflammation in the body, reducing oxidative stress, improving sleep onset and duration, and boosting melatonin production – the hormone that triggers sleep.

So how should you consume kiwi to help improve your sleep?

To improve sleep, eat one or two fresh kiwi fruits an hour before bedtime – the fruits can be consumed as they are or mixed into a smoothie with other foods that can help aid with sleep such as bananas, almond milk, and chamomile.

But are there any reasons to avoid consuming kiwi fruits?

The consumption of kiwi should be avoided if you are allergic to kiwis, bananas, avocados, or latex; if you have a personal or family history of kidney stones; have oral inflammation; are taking antiplatelet or anticoagulant medications, or are undergoing angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor therapy.

In the rest of this article, I have used my professional knowledge as a practicing medical doctor and my research skills to explain in more detail how kiwi can help you sleep better, how to take kiwi for better sleep, and when to avoid consuming kiwi.

However, no part of this article should be considered as an appropriate substitute for medical advice or dietary guidance provided by your own doctor or another licensed professional.

Related: click here to find out if chamomile tea can help you sleep better.

3 Ways Kiwi Helps You Sleep Better

The Benefits Of Eating Kiwi Fruit Before Bed

Below is a more detailed explanation as to how kiwi can help you sleep better:

1: Kiwi Reduces Inflammation in the Body

Kiwi can improve your sleep quality by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, as substantiated by several scientific studies.

Kiwi is a nutrient-rich fruit that contains very high levels of vitamin C and vitamin K, and a moderate amount of vitamin E.

It has approximately 61 calories in a serving of 3.5 oz (100 grams), and due to its rich nutrient profile and potent antioxidant properties, kiwi is often classified as a “superfood”.

Based on several scientific studies, we know that an antioxidant-rich diet can improve the quality of sleep because of a potential association between uncompensated oxidative stress, and sleep disturbances [1, 2].

A cross-sectional study conducted in 2015 found that sleep is vital for achieving optimal cardiometabolic health.

The study explored the potential role of inflammation, oxidative stress, and antioxidants in the underlying biological pathways which may influence sleep quality and cardiometabolic health [1,11].

Emerging data from recent scientific studies suggests that the antioxidants found in kiwi can also help in lowering the hyperactivity of blood platelets, balancing the plasma lipid levels, and maintaining blood pressure.

Therefore, we can say that kiwi can aid in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, improve heart health by modifying many risk factors associated with various health diseases, and improve the quality of sleep [3].

In addition to being loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, kiwi is also high in fiber and potassium content.

A few studies have found that the consumption of kiwi can help in reducing the severity and duration of symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection by increasing the concentrations of vitamin C, α-tocopherol, lutein/zeaxanthin, and erythrocyte folate in blood plasma, and reducing the levels of plasma lipid peroxidation [4,5].

2: Kiwi May Improve Sleep Onset and Duration

Based on the data obtained from recent research, studies indicate that the consumption of kiwi may help to improve the onset of sleep, prolong the duration of sleep time, and enhance the quality of sleep – especially in adults.

For instance, a clinical study was conducted in 2011 involving 24 adults in the age group of 20 to 55 years who were experiencing sleep disturbances.

The participants were asked to consume two kiwis each day, approximately 1 hour prior to going to bed, for a period of four weeks.

The research team gathered data from the study participants by having them maintain a sleep diary, implementing a standard sleep quality questionnaire, and using wristwatches in order to measure the quality and quantity of their sleep.

The findings of the study were very interesting – it was observed that after consuming kiwi on a daily basis for four weeks, the participants fell asleep more quickly and obtained sounder sleep.

The participants also reported that the overall quality of their sleep had improved substantially [6].

3: Kiwi Contains Serotonin – The Precursor to Melatonin

Taking into consideration that serotonin influences our sleep cycle and kiwi has a high content of serotonin, kiwi would be an appropriate choice of fruit to be consumed before going to bed in order to enhance one’s sleep.

Kiwi’s high concentration of serotonin has been determined using a highly specific radioenzymatic assay, and can be quantified as approximately 5.8 +/- 0.9 micrograms per gram of weight [7].

We know from the scientific literature that serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in regulating moods, sleep-wake cycle, appetite, temperature, and gastrointestinal motility.

In the pineal gland, serotonin is acetylated and then methylated to yield melatonin, so we know that serotonin is the precursor of the melatonin hormone.

Some studies have found that kiwi fruit also promotes the upregulation of melatonin, which is why kiwi may have added sleep-inducing properties [8,9].

Melatonin is a light-sensitive hormone, which means that it is produced in the pineal gland in the absence of light; for example, at night time to prepare the body to be in a sleep-ready state.

Click here to learn more about melatonin and how to take it.

3 Ways to Take Kiwi to Sleep Better

Here are 3 ways to take kiwi to sleep better:

1: Swap Sugary Desserts for a Fruit Salad with Kiwi

Consuming sugary desserts at night after you have had your dinner can disrupt your sleep cycle by causing an unnecessary sugar spike in your blood.

In response to the rising blood sugar levels, the beta cells of the pancreas release a peptide hormone called insulin which helps the body to break down the sugar molecules and convert them into energy.

However, if this metabolic process occurs at night when the body needs to rest, one may end up feeling overstimulated due to the excess boost of unrequired energy.

Based on this underlying physiological mechanism, many studies have concluded that consuming excessive sugar at night can increase restlessness, and contribute to nighttime wakefulness [10].

Hence, if you are struggling with your sleep, I would recommend that you try to limit your sugar intake, especially late in the evenings.

A good way to achieve this is to exchange your dessert for a fruit bowl, which can be consumed post-dinner to curb your sugar cravings.

Although fruits do contain some form of sugar, they are also rich sources of vitamins, minerals, micronutrients, and fibers.

You can prepare a fruit bowl by mixing fruits that tend to induce sleep, such as cherry, orange, pineapple, and fig.

Taking into account the nutritive value of kiwi, I would say that eating one to two medium-sized kiwis before going to bed may assist you in falling asleep faster, and staying asleep for longer hours during the night.

I would also suggest that you include your favorite fruits in the fruit bowl to enhance the overall flavor profile. 

2: Drink a Bedtime Kiwi Smoothie

If your sleep struggles are combined with your midnight snacking habit, then a healthy bedtime green smoothie might be the solution for you.

You can curb your midnight cravings by consuming healthy, sleep-inducing ingredients blended in to a smoothie, either before going to bed or if you tend to feel hungry late at night.

Although there are many smoothie recipes available online, I often suggest that my patients modify the recipe a little, and skip adding any artificial sweeteners or sugars to their smoothies.

Instead, I recommend that they use naturally sweet ingredients such as kiwis and bananas to sweeten their smoothies.

In addition to that, you may also choose to include other healthy ingredients such as chamomile and almond milk in your smoothie, in order to enhance the nutrient profile of the drink.

Dark and green leafy veggies such as kale are good sources of calcium and magnesium.

Minerals such as calcium and magnesium help us to relax and feel rested.

If you would like to change up the recipe to suit your taste, you can opt for other similar options such as spinach, collard greens or arugula instead of kale.

Choosing almond milk as the base for the smoothie can offer you several health and sleep-related benefits.

For instance, almond milk is very nutrient-dense, and it contains many sleep-promoting hormones and minerals, such as tryptophan, melatonin, and magnesium.

Almond milk is also a good choice for those who prefer consuming dairy-free, plant-based, and vegan milk alternatives.

If you are looking for other dairy-free milk options, you can consider using oat milk, soya milk, or coconut milk in your smoothie to achieve similar health benefits.

Adding fruits like banana and kiwi to your smoothie will not only make your drink naturally sweet, but you can also enjoy the creaminess which they add to the texture of the smoothie.

Fruits like bananas and kiwi are very rich in micronutrients, essential elements, and fibers.

In addition to this, they also have calming properties which are helpful in reducing inflammation in the body, enhancing gastrointestinal motility, and also inducing sleep.

3: Choose Fresh, Ripe Kiwis

Fresh, ripe, and properly stored kiwis will provide the best health benefits.

When buying kiwi, it is usually suggested that you should choose those which appear to be more plump and fragrant, as they tend to be riper and sweeter than those which are hard and look unripe.

Unripe kiwis usually have a sour flavor, and they leave an astringent aftertaste in the mouth.

You are free to choose how ripe you would prefer your kiwis to be, but if you are suffering from an oral inflammation or any kind of mucosal irritation in the mouth, then I would suggest that it is better to choose ripe kiwis.

I would advise you to always buy fresh and good quality kiwis so that you can fully enjoy their health benefits.

It is also important to store the kiwi fruits properly if you do not intend to use them right away.

It is suggested that you should store them in a fruit basket, away from any direct exposure to sunlight, at room temperature.

If you wish to store them for a longer duration, you can also put them in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

If you consume fresh, organic, and good-quality fruits and vegetables, you will reap their maximum health benefits, including those related to sleep.

When to Avoid the Consumption of Kiwi

Although kiwi fruit has many advantageous health benefits, there are some situations in which I would advise you to exercise caution when consuming kiwi.

A few examples of when kiwi consumption must be avoided are illustrated below:

1: Allergy to Kiwi, Banana, Avocado, or Latex

Kiwi fruit has been recognized as a food allergen since 1980 for the adult population, and since 1990 for the pediatric population [12].

The most common symptoms experienced in cases of kiwi allergies are tingling, sore mouth, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, swelling of the tongue and lips, wheezing, cyanosis, and rashes or hives.

These symptoms may occur immediately, or within 30 minutes after the consumption of kiwi, and they can cause serious circulatory and respiratory problems.

Most people who are allergic to kiwi fruit also report being allergic to bananas, avocados, and latex [13,14].

Therefore, I would strongly advise you to avoid the consumption of kiwi if you have a known allergy to one of these, or have had an allergic reaction in the past.

In the event that you experience an allergic reaction, I would suggest that you call your doctor as quickly as possible.

While you wait, you can take an antihistamine drug such as Cetirizine, and if available, you can self-administer an adrenaline injection such as an EpiPen.

However, this information must not be considered as a substitute for professional advice from your doctor, and it is absolutely necessary that you visit your nearest medical facility in case of an allergic episode, and seek urgent clinical help as quickly as possible.

2: Personal or Family History of Kidney Stones

Reports derived from nutritional databases show that kiwi fruit has a high content of oxalates.

Therefore, it is best if people who are at risk of forming kidney stones try to avoid regular consumption of kiwi in order to limit their daily intake of oxalates.

The amount of total oxalates in golden kiwi ranges from 7.8 to 45 mg/100 g fresh weight, and the amount of total oxalates in green kiwi ranges from 12.7 to 84.3 mg/100 g fresh weight [14].

3: Oral Irritation or Inflammation

If you are suffering from any form of oral inflammation or irritation, I would suggest you avoid consuming kiwi until you recover fully from your condition, or until you seek professional advice from your doctor.

Studies have shown that the raphide crystals of calcium oxalate found in the idioblast cells of kiwi can cause a sense of irritation in the mouth when kiwi is ingested in the form of nectar and dried product [14].

4: Antiplatelet or Anticoagulant Medications

Studies indicate that kiwi produces a very potent antiplatelet effect [15].

A randomized controlled trial conducted in 2013 found that there was a 15% reduction in platelet aggregation activity among participants who were given kiwi as a part of the intervention [16].

Therefore, I would recommend that if you are currently taking any antiplatelet drugs or anticoagulant therapies, you must refrain from consuming kiwi, as doing so will lead to an increased probability of bruising and bleeding [16].

Some medications that are included in these drug groups are aspirin, clopidogrel, enoxaparin, heparin, and warfarin [16].

I advise caution when it comes to such food-drug interactions, and recommend talking to your health care provider to obtain more information regarding this.

Please be aware that making any changes to your prescription without the knowledge and prior approval of your doctor is strongly discouraged.

5: Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitor Therapy

Studies indicate that kiwi contains components that may have a potentially inhibitory effect on angiotensin-converting enzymes [15,17].

A randomized controlled trial conducted in 2013 found that there was an 11% reduction in angiotensin-converting enzyme activity among participants of the intervention group who were asked to consume three kiwis per day [16].

Thus, I would recommend that if you have been prescribed an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor drug therapy to manage your blood pressure, you should monitor your daily kiwi consumption, and keep it moderate.

This will prevent you from unnecessarily potentiating the effects of your therapy, as well as any unexpected multiplicative or additive food-drug interaction effects [17].

Some medications that are included in this drug group are benazepril, captopril, enalapril, fosinopril, lisinopril, moexipril, perindopril, quinapril, and ramipril [17].

I would like to emphasize that it is strictly not recommended to self-medicate and alter your prescription without a consultation with your doctor in advance.

Conclusion: Kiwi is a Natural Sleep Aid

The kiwi fruit can be a great way to naturally improve your sleep as long as you don’t have any of the contraindications listed in the last section.

Up next: how to sleep better whilst taking cymbalta.


Sources and References

1: Everson CA, Laatsch CD, Hogg N. Antioxidant defense responses to sleep loss and sleep recovery. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2005;288(2):R374-R383. doi:10.1152/ajpregu.00565.2004

2: Atrooz F, Salim S. Sleep deprivation, oxidative stress and inflammation. Adv Protein Chem Struct Biol. 2020;119:309-336. doi:10.1016/bs.apcsb.2019.03.001

3: Duttaroy AK. Cardioprotective properties of kiwifruit. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2013;68:273-282. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-394294-4.00015-8

4: Hunter DC, Skinner MA, Wolber FM, et al. Consumption of gold kiwifruit reduces severity and duration of selected upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and increases plasma vitamin C concentration in healthy older adults. Br J Nutr. 2012;108(7):1235-1245. doi:10.1017/S0007114511006659

5: Chang WH, Liu JF. Effects of kiwifruit consumption on serum lipid profiles and antioxidative status in hyperlipidemic subjects. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2009;60(8):709-716. doi:10.3109/09637480802063517

6: Lin HH, Tsai PS, Fang SC, Liu JF. Effect of kiwifruit consumption on sleep quality in adults with sleep problems. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2011;20(2):169-174.

7: Feldman JM, Lee EM. Serotonin content of foods: effect on urinary excretion of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid. Am J Clin Nutr. 1985;42(4):639-643. doi:10.1093/ajcn/42.4.639

8: Doherty R, Madigan S, Warrington G, Ellis J. Sleep and Nutrition Interactions: Implications for Athletes. Nutrients. 2019;11(4):822. Published 2019 Apr 11. doi:10.3390/nu11040822

9: St-Onge MP, Mikic A, Pietrolungo CE. Effects of Diet on Sleep Quality. Adv Nutr. 2016;7(5):938-949. Published 2016 Sep 15. doi:10.3945/an.116.012336

10: Katagiri R, Asakura K, Kobayashi S, Suga H, Sasaki S. Low intake of vegetables, high intake of confectionary, and unhealthy eating habits are associated with poor sleep quality among middle-aged female Japanese workers. J Occup Health. 2014;56(5):359-368. doi:10.1539/joh.14-0051-oa

11: Kanagasabai T, Ardern CI. Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, and Antioxidants Contribute to Selected Sleep Quality and Cardiometabolic Health Relationships: A Cross-Sectional Study. Mediators Inflamm. 2015;2015:824589. doi:10.1155/2015/824589

12: West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Kiwi Allergy Document, NHS, UK, Accessed online on 09 October 2021 via https://www.wsh.nhs.uk/CMS-Documents/Patient-leaflets/PaediatricDepartment/6430-1-Kiwi-fruit-allergy.pdf

13: Anaphylaxis Campaign, Kiwifruit Allergy: The Facts, Anaphylaxic.org UK, Accessed online on 09 October 2021 via https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/userfiles/files/kiwi%20allergy%20factsheet.pdf

14: Perera C.O., Hallett I.C., Nguyen T.T., Charles J.C. Calcium oxalate crystals: The irritant factor in kiwifruit. J. Food Sci. 1990;55:1066–1069. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2621.1990.tb01599.x.

15: Dizdarevic LL, Biswas D, Uddin MD, et al. Inhibitory effects of kiwifruit extract on human platelet aggregation and plasma angiotensin-converting enzyme activity. Platelets. 2014;25(8):567-575. doi:10.3109/09537104.2013.852658

16: Karlsen A, Svendsen M, Seljeflot I, et al. Kiwifruit decreases blood pressure and whole-blood platelet aggregation in male smokers. J Hum Hypertens. 2012;27(2):126-130. doi:10.1038/jhh.2011.116

17: Błaszczak W, Latocha P, Jeż M, Wiczkowski W. The impact of high-pressure processing on the polyphenol profile and anti-glycaemic, anti-hypertensive and anti-cholinergic activities of extracts obtained from kiwiberry (Actinidia arguta) fruits. Food Chemistry. 2021;343:128421. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.128421

Medical Disclaimer

No part of this article or website offers medical or diet advice – always consult with a qualified professional for such guidance.

Image Attribution and Licencing

Main image: ‘Kiwi’ by iSailorr (Getty Images) – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.

Leave a comment