As we search for better sleep solutions, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of information and advice. But there is one natural remedy that has gained attention in recent years: tart cherry juice. According to some studies, consuming tart cherry juice may help improve the quality and duration of sleep. However, with so many products on the market, it’s important to separate fact from fiction.
The Science Behind Tart Cherry Juice and Sleep
Tart cherries are a rich source of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin is naturally produced in the body, but levels can be disrupted by factors such as stress, caffeine, and exposure to light. By consuming tart cherry juice, which contains melatonin, some people may be able to regulate their sleep-wake cycles and improve their overall sleep quality.
One study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, found that consuming tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks increased sleep time by an average of 84 minutes per night in participants with insomnia. Another study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, found that consuming tart cherry juice improved sleep quality in older adults.
However, it’s important to note that not all studies have found a significant improvement in sleep with tart cherry juice consumption. More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of tart cherry juice as a sleep aid and to identify the optimal dose and timing.
Choosing the Right Tart Cherry Juice
Not all tart cherry juice products are created equal. Some brands may contain added sugars or other additives, which can negate any potential sleep benefits. It’s important to choose a tart cherry juice that is 100% pure and unsweetened.
Additionally, it’s important to consider the concentration of melatonin in the tart cherry juice. While there is no standard dose of melatonin for sleep, most studies have used doses ranging from 0.1 to 10 mg. Tart cherry juice typically contains less than 0.1 mg of melatonin per serving, so it may be necessary to drink multiple servings to achieve a therapeutic dose.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
While tart cherry juice is generally considered safe for most people, there are some potential risks and side effects to be aware of. Some people may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, such as bloating or diarrhea, after consuming tart cherry juice. Additionally, tart cherry juice may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and medications for high blood pressure.
It’s important to talk to a healthcare provider before starting to consume tart cherry juice or any other new sleep aid. They can help determine if it’s safe for an individual’s specific health situation.
Other Sleep-Friendly Foods and Lifestyle Changes
While tart cherry juice may be a helpful addition to a sleep-promoting diet, it’s important to remember that no single food or drink can guarantee better sleep on its own. A balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods, such as whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables, can help promote overall health and wellness, including better sleep.
Additionally, lifestyle changes such as establishing a regular sleep schedule, limiting caffeine and alcohol intake, and reducing screen time before bed can also contribute to better sleep.
While tart cherry juice may hold promise as a natural sleep aid, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness and the optimal dose. Choosing a 100% pure and unsweetened product, as well as talking to a healthcare provider before starting to consume tart cherry juice, can help minimize potential risks and side effects.
Ultimately, achieving better sleep requires a multifaceted approach that includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, and good sleep habits. Tart cherry juice may be one tool in this toolkit, but it’s not a magic cure-all.
Here are some scientific publications that support the potential benefits of tart cherry juice for sleep:
Pigeon, W. R., Carr, M., Gorman, C., & Perlis, M. L. (2010). Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on the sleep of older adults with insomnia: a pilot study. Journal of medicinal food, 13(3), 579-583.
Howatson, G., Bell, P. G., Tallent, J., Middleton, B., McHugh, M. P., & Ellis, J. (2012). Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. European journal of nutrition, 51(8), 909-916.
Losso, J. N., Finley, J. W., Karki, N., Liu, A. G., Prudente, A., Tipton, R., … & Greenway, F. L. (2018). Pilot study of the tart cherry juice for the treatment of insomnia and investigation of mechanisms. American Journal of Therapeutics, 25(2), e194-e201.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/data_statistics.html.
These publications provide evidence for the potential benefits of tart cherry juice for sleep and the importance of continued research to fully understand the optimal dose and timing of consumption.
Our Top Picks for Tart Cherry Juice Brands
There are several brands of tart cherry juice available on the market, ranging in price and quality. It’s important to choose a product that is 100% pure and unsweetened to maximize potential sleep benefits.
One popular brand is Lakewood Organic Tart Cherry Juice, which is USDA certified organic and contains no added sugars or preservatives. A 32-ounce bottle typically costs around $10.
Another option is Country Spoon Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice, which is also 100% pure and unsweetened. A 32-ounce bottle of this brand typically costs around $20.
For those looking for a more budget-friendly option, Knudsen Just Tart Cherry Juice is a good choice. While it does contain a small amount of added sugar, it is still 100% juice and contains no preservatives. A 32-ounce bottle typically costs around $6.
Other brands include Dynamic Health Organic Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate, Cheribundi Tart Cherry Juice, and FruitFast Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate.