Tart Cherry Juice Proven to be an Effective Sleep Aid.

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On February 9, 2020

A study was published in the European Journal of Medicine at the end of October 2011 and showed that tart cherry juice can improve the quality of your sleep, your sleep duration, and help reduce the need for daytime napping. The research team found that adults who drank two 1 ounce servings of tart cherry juice per day experienced a demonstrable increase in sleep efficiency as well as a 39-minute increase in average sleep duration.

The study involved 20 participants who were followed for a total of 7 days.  Each day all participants were given a drink twice a day, the first when they woke up and the second before bed. Some participants received a drink comprised of 1 ounce of tart cherry juice and 1 pint of water while others received a non-cherry fruit drink.

The research team tracked the sleep habits of all participants over the course of the study to see if there was any change. Additionally, routine urinalysis was used to measure the amount of melatonin present for each participant and monitored for changes.

The team found that those participants who received the tart cherry juice napped less, slept longer, and spent more of their time in bed asleep. The participants who received the placebo drink had no change in their sleep habits.

Additionally, the tart cherry juice group showed increased levels of melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, indicating that drinking this juice boosts the body’s melatonin levels which may explain how tart cherry juice is an effective sleep aid. When the two groups switched places, the placebo group received the tart cherry juice and vice versa, the results were the same.

Other Health Benefits of Tart Cherries

While both cherries have a variety of phytochemicals contributing both color and antioxidant activity to the fruit, tart cherries contain more. For instance, both sweet and tart cherries are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Tart cherries also contain vitamin A. Here are some of the properties of these tart cherries.

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Strong antioxidants:

Montmorency cherries’ anthocyanins and other antioxidant compounds provide the consumer with up to 5000 – 8000 ORAC units per one-ounce serving, depending on the concentration. ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities in food, and 5000 – 8000 ORAC units equals the entire day’s recommendation of antioxidants for an average adult.

Pain relief:

The antioxidants in Montmorency cherries may help ease the pain of arthritis and osteoarthritis. In fact, anthocyanins specifically have been compared to ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen for their anti-inflammatory properties. They may also reduce the uric acid and the pain related to gout.

Post-exercise recovery: Recent studies have shown that Montmorency cherry consumption effectively reduces inflammation, muscle damage, and muscle soreness following bouts of exercise. It also accelerates exercise recovery.

The following are potential benefits of tart cherries that need further support outside of the laboratory.

On cardiovascular disease risk:

Tart cherries may reduce cardiovascular disease risk due to its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Animal studies have shown a reduction in unhealthy triglyceride levels, but more research in humans is needed.

Possible anti-cancer properties:

The antioxidant compounds found in tart cherries have been shown to reduce cancer growth and proliferation in cell cultures in laboratory studies. This has been demonstrated in human colon cancer cell lines, but more research is needed to establish effectiveness in humans outside of the lab.

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On diabetes:

Studies in animals have shown that cherries lower body weight and abdominal fat, which is the type of fat linked with increased heart disease risk, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. For now, we are waiting for the outcomes in human studies.

Cherries are a seasonal product, available in June and July, but in order to get all the benefits from tart cherries year round, you can purchase cherry juice and dried cherries, which have similar properties to fresh cherries. When purchasing tart cherry juice, aim for 100% juice and avoid juice from concentrate. Frozen cherries’ antioxidant content is somewhat lower than that of fresh cherries; canned cherries’ antioxidant content is lower still, but remains significant.

Tart cherry juice seems unlikely to cause dizziness or grogginess, however, because the dose of melatonin is quite low. We are not aware of other side effects from cherries. We all want a natural way to fall asleep so try this one tonight.

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