You may be familiar with tart cherries if you like to cook. Tart cherries (also known as sour cherries) are used in dishes like pies, preserves, soups, cakes, tarts, sauces, mixed cocktails, and more. But did you know that these tasty fruits might also help you get a better night’s rest?
Studies show that tart cherry juice can help you to sleep longer and better.
What are tart cherries?
Two of the most common varieties of tart cherries are Montmorency and Balaton, which often come from Michigan. They are more sour than sweet cherries like Rainier, Bing, and Lambert cherries. They also are believed to have higher antioxidant contents than sweet cherries, giving them the potential to have stronger health benefits.
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Tart cherries are rich in antioxidants
Tart cherries are rich sources of antioxidants, in particular anthocyanins, which are responsible for the purple pigmentation of these fruits. They possess a strong antioxidant capacity as well as anti-inflammatory qualities, making them disease-fighting tools. Tart cherry juice concentrate, specifically, seems to have the highest antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities compared to frozen, canned, or dried cherries.
Tart cherry juice: sleep enhancer
Tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, the sleep-promoting hormone. After eating tart cherries, melatonin levels rise significantly in test subjects. And studies show that this increase in melatonin translates into improved sleep.
In one study, 20 participants were given either placebo or 30 ml of concentrated tart cherry juice within 30 minutes of waking and 30 minutes before bed each day. The cherry group saw significant increases in time spent in bed, total sleep time, and total sleep efficiency. People who drank cherry juice slept an average of 39 minutes longer than those drinking placebo.
In another study, people with insomnia drank two 8-ounce servings of tart cherry juice in the morning and the same before bed for two weeks. Scores for insomnia severity were significantly reduced after supplementation.
Participants also woke up fewer times during the night after drinking tart cherry juice. The authors concluded that tart cherry juice helps adults with insomnia. It should be noted that this study was funded by CherryPharm, Inc, a company that makes tart cherry juice.
More tart cherry uses
Because of these effects on sleep and insomnia, sour cherries have also been touted as a good, all-natural remedy for jet lag, to be used on long travel days where you have to change time zones.
Tart cherries may benefit other conditions as well. There are claims that tart cherries may help with gout symptoms, and there is also some evidence that they may help with recovery after exercise.[2,4]
Try tart cherries as an all-natural insomnia remedy
If you suffer from insomnia and feel like you’ve tried everything, give the tart cherry juice sleep solution a try. Tart cherry juice may be the easiest and most convenient option; you’d have to eat a whole lot of fresh cherries to equal a few ounces of juice.
Drink a cup about an hour before you head to bed, or else twice a day (one in the morning and one before bed). Look for a high quality tart cherry juice (without added sugars) or tart cherry juice concentrate at your local health food store, and follow the recommendations on the bottle.
For more information on fighting insomnia, browse our collection of blogs. Get started with these three:
- 3 Natural Remedies for Insomnia: Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep
- Tackle What Causes Insomnia With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Home Sleep Remedies: How the Color of Light Affects Your Sleep
Share your experience
Have you ever used tart cherries for medicinal purposes? Did they help you sleep? Do you eat them whole or drink the juice? Share your experience with tart cherries in the comments section below.