Insomnia not only takes the fun out of going to bed, but it can also affect your mood, energy levels, work performance and relationships.
Luckily, there is a way to put an end to those sleepless nights. A study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics suggests that drinking a cup of tart cherry juice twice a day promotes better sleep.
For their experiment, researchers at Louisiana State University asked eight participants older than 50 and suffering from chronic insomnia to drink either 240 mL of tart cherry juice (one in the morning and another before bed) or a placebo juice over the course of two weeks. After a two-week washout, the participants were crossed over to whichever of the two drinks they did not take in the first testing period and took those for another two weeks.
After each testing period, the participants went to the lab for overnight polysomnography, where the researchers studied them while they were sleeping. The participants' sleep time increased by an average of 84 minutes after taking the tart cherry juice. Their sleep efficiency, which is defined as the percentage of time spent asleep while in bed, also improved.
The researchers also found that a proanthocyanidin in tart cherry juice called procyanidin B2 increases tryptophan availability and reduces inflammation. Tryptophan is an amino acid found commonly in protein-rich foods like poultry, seafood and egg. Known as a natural hypnotic, it was previously found to increase melatonin and serotonin levels in the body. Both hormones play a role in regulating sleep. (Related: The brain-boosting potential of tart cherry juice.)
Plenty of other studies show that tart cherry juice can promote better sleep. In an article published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers concluded that tart cherry juice is just as effective at reducing insomnia severity (minutes awake after sleep onset) than melatonin and valerian, an herb also known as "Nature's valium."
Another study, which was published in the European Journal of Nutrition, reported that supplementing with tart cherry juice increases melatonin levels and improves sleep quality and duration.
Tart cherry juice also helps with other conditions that can make sleep elusive. The anthocyanins in tart cherries can reduce chronic inflammation that can lead to arthritis. This condition causes symptoms like chronic joint pain and stiffness that can keep you awake at night.
Tart cherry juice is generally well-tolerated by the body. But take note that drinking large amounts daily can increase your sugar intake. People with diabetes and arthritis are advised to drink cherry juice in moderation.
In sum, cherry juice is a refreshing drink packed with beneficial compounds that help reduce inflammation, increase the production of sleep-inducing hormones and relieve pain. Get a good night's sleep by adding tart cherry juice to your diet.
Learn more about the health benefits of cherries and other fruits at Fruits.news.