The People's Perspective on Medicine

Will Raisins Help You Sleep More Soundly?

Some readers report that eating raisins at bedtime helps them avoid frequent nighttime urination. We have not seen any research to confirm or explain this.

Would you like to sleep more soundly? Many readers complain that they need to rise to urinate several times a night. Then they frequently have trouble getting back to sleep. Several years ago, one person wrote to tell us about a serendipitous discovery that eating raisins at bedtime reduced the frequency of nighttime urination. Since then, we have heard from others who have tried this improbable-sounding remedy.

Will You Sleep More Soundly After a Bedtime Snack of Raisins?

Q. I must thank you for writing about raisins to get a wonderful night’s sleep. I really cannot believe this gift! Your newsletter has helped me educate myself on many topics. Raisins to sleep through the night work like a miracle.

A. Other readers report that a handful of raisins before bedtime reduces the number of trips they have to make to the bathroom during the night. We have no idea why this remedy might work, but we are pleased to learn it has been helpful for so many. So far as we know, the type of raisin does not matter. People have reported success with both dark and golden raisins.

Other Readers Report That Raisins Help Them Sleep More Soundly:

Q. I read about eating raisins before bed to reduce nighttime urination and I love this idea. It worked the first night I tried it. Instead of visiting the bathroom every hour all night long, I made half as many visits to the bathroom.

Last night I ate about a cup of raisins and the results were astounding. I got up only once in the middle of the night. I had no side effects either except a good night’s sleep!

A. We have not been able to find any scientific reason that this remedy would reduce nighttime urination. You’re not the only one to benefit, though.

Another reader wrote:

“I have noticed the same effect (sleeping through the night) for the last two years while taking gin-soaked raisins. I had assumed that the gin-soaked raisins lessened the aches and pains that usually woke me up when I turned over during sleep. I take my raisins each morning when I arise.”

Raisins are not for everyone. They are high in calories and sugar, so a cup of raisins could well be too much for some people. Others would find that such a large dose of raisins would cause flatulence or diarrhea. In addition, raisins don’t address all the reasons for nighttime waking.

One person shared this experience:

“I have had the same results. I read in your newsletter about 1 1/2 or 2 months ago about the raisins and started to use them. I have COPD so I wake during the night but I no longer have to go to the bathroom during the night. I only eat one of the small mini boxes but that suffices.”

For more ideas on how to overcome insomnia, we suggest our eGuide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep. This online resource is available in the Health Guides section of www.PeoplesPharmacy.com

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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After reading about the raisins I purchased a pack of those little 1 oz boxes. Right away I went from getting up 2 times a night to never getting up in the night. I eat one 1oz little box before bed (and before brushing my teeth) and that has solved the frequency problem.

I kill 2 birds with one stone: I take the gin-soaked raisins for their anti-inflammatory properties and this has worked wonderfully for my formerly-aching knees. No, they don’t hurt anymore! You’re supposed to take “9 raisins per day” with the gin-soaked raisins, but this is impossible because they’re so delicious! So I take about 15 raisins, just before bed, and now I have to get up to pee MUCH less often, usually not at all.
Like I said, 2 birds with one stone. No pain and no pee. Fabulous. Thanks, PP!

My 92-year-old mother was complaining about frequent night-time trips to the bathroom. She uses a walker and is a fall risk anyway, so we were interested in anything that would help. I read about the raisins and encouraged her to try them but she was skeptical. A few weeks back she ran out of raisins and forgot to tell me. When I found out and got some more, the next day she called to tell me how well they worked. She now eats a handful of raisins around 10:00PM each night.

Hello from Ft Worth TX. . . Eating a banana has made a difference and although I still get up, it is very small a mount. Seems that it is the potassium, so maybe two would help more (it didn’t).Remember reading from the person who noted that the bladder can loose muscle and their is nothing you can do about that . . ..OR IS THERE????

No one mentioned it, but I suspect that they are substituting the Hot tea, or hot chocolate night time drink with the raisins.

I get relief from eating only 15 raisins at bedtime so I don’t get too much sugar or elevated triglycerides. Whatever works!

I eat a small bowl of ice cream and sleep through the night.

Works for me too. I mentioned this to two friends and they were anxious to run out and buy some. I’m waiting to hear their results.

This is a good idea about raisins before bed….but as a diabetic one cup of raisins could mean disaster in morning with high sugar. Please advise.

One cup is a lot of raisins. Several readers have found that a lower dose works as well. Try just a few before brushing your teeth and see how many you need. This is a personal experiment (N of 1), if you choose to follow through.

Works for me. To sleep earlier and more soundly. Happy accident just ’cause I love raisins!

I have found that it works, but with fewer restrictions: 15 raisins work as well as a handful for me, ant eating them anytime after dinner works as well as taking them at bedtime–perhaps a bit better for my teeth, since I can get more “wash out” before brushing at bedtime.

If frequent nighttime urination is related to chronic kidney disease, it would be prudent to avoid eating raisins. Raisins are high in potassium, and some people with kidney disease have problems with potassium levels that are too high.
Always talk with your doctor or nurse and your dietician about this if you have chronic kidney disease.

I believe raisins, which provide magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium, are helping to restore electrolyte balance. Being deficient in electrolytes results in higher urine output. I started drinking reverse osmosis water, thinking I was helping my body by ingesting fewer toxins. After two years, turns out I deprived myself of essential electrolytes and was suffering from significant fatigue. I now take liquid electrolytes and have more energy and sleep better. Vitamin B12 lozenges also help as I am over 50.

Pumpkin seed oil has worked like a charm for me. And I read about it on People’s Pharmacy! I take two capsules a day, and they worked pretty much immediately. I order them online. No side effects. They also help with urge incontinence.

I have to opposite effects of raisins. They irritate my bladder and give me a sense of urgency and frequency. Not for me.

Could it be that raisins rehydrate w body fluids thus reducing, temporarily, the need to get rid of fluids also making digestion easier w softened raisins. Then as digestion process continues the fluids not needed pass normally, kind of like a stool softener works….

I tried the raisin thing. It didn’t do anything. Now I’m eating pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil. It’s been miraculous. I’ve gone from waking up every 1 1/2 to 2 hours to sleeping 4 to 6 hours without waking, in just a few weeks. The studies I’ve read say that I should keep improving for about six months.

Eating before bed? Does it mean I have to brush my teeth again?

Very interesting. Just a reminder to those with pets. Grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs and cats, an unidentified substance can cause kidney damage and kidney failure resulting in permanent kidney damage or even death. The severity is unpredictable, with some animals reacting to only a few grapes/raisins, others surviving larger amounts (with immediate veterinary intervention). So if you own a pet, be sure to keep grapes and raisins inaccessible to them.

It would be interesting also to examine if raisins will cause less frequenturia in daytime [less often need to urinate]

Possible posted my commentary by mistake under cough remedy instead of under raisins??

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