Cherries, particularly sour or Montmorency cherries, have been demonstrated to provide a variety of health benefits. The juice of sour cherries, also known as tart cherry juice, can help fight inflammation, reduce muscle soreness, and boost your immune system.
Research suggests tart cherry juice may also help people sleep . Learn more about how tart cherry juice improves sleep, how much you should consume if you want to try this natural health aid, and other health benefits of tart cherry juice.
Can Tart Cherry Juice Help You Sleep?
One-third of Americans report not sleeping enough each night. Tart cherry juice may be able to help. Studies suggest that consuming tart cherry juice leads to better and longer sleep.
Tart cherry juice’s positive effect on sleep may be due to tryptophan and melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep hormone secreted at certain times of day to help the body transition to sleep. Tryptophan helps the body produce melatonin.
Every 100 grams of tart cherries contain about 9 milligrams of tryptophan . Each day, people require about 250 to 425 milligrams of tryptophan. In sleep research of tryptophan supplements, experts have people take tryptophan before bed . Similarly, drinking tart cherry juice may be most effective for sleep when it is consumed in the evening. Drinking a glass of tart cherry juice after a meal of sleep-supporting foods may provide added benefit.
Tart cherries also contain melatonin, and there is evidence to show that drinking tart cherry juice increases melatonin available in the body and can promote better sleep quality.
How Much Tart Cherry Juice Should I Drink?
If you are considering tart cherry juice for sleep, it is best to opt for juice without added sugar, so you do not inadvertently add too much sugar to your diet. If the sour taste of the cherry juice does not suit your preferences, you can also buy tart cherry extract as a supplement in pill form.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements reports there are no safety concerns associated with drinking up to 16 ounces of tart cherry juice or taking 480 milligrams of tart cherry extract capsules once per day for up to two weeks.
Additional Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice
Drinking tart cherry juice may provide additional benefits beyond improved sleep, such as:
- Improved Muscle Recovery: The antioxidants present in tart cherry juice have been shown to reduce muscle damage in athletes . Additionally, consuming tart cherry juice or tart cherry capsules before exercise improves athletic performance and reduces muscle pain.
- Reduced Pain: Tart cherry juice may be able to reduce pain in instances other than athletic recovery, too. Studies of people with arthritis found that consuming tart cherry juice reduced arthritis-related pain and stiffness, as well as improved biological markers associated with arthritis.
- Reduced Blood Pressure: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that nearly half of adult Americans have high blood pressure . Tart cherry juice may help lower blood pressure, however more research needs to be done.
- Improved Memory and Brain Health: The antioxidant properties of tart cherry juice might also help keep your brain healthy and protect against degeneration. One study found that older adults with dementia who drank about 6 ounces of tart cherry juice for 12 weeks showed improvement in short- and long-term memory .
- Cancer Prevention: Tart cherry juice might also help prevent cancer. A study of mice found that tart cherry juice could reduce cancer cell growth . In a similar study, the amount and size of tumors were reduced in mice given tart cherry juice. More research is needed to see if tart cherry juice can also help fight cancer in humans.
How to Incorporate Cherry Juice Into Your Sleep Routine
Maintaining a healthy sleep routine promotes a good night’s sleep. Following the same schedule every night can help your body downshift from the day and prepare for sleep.
You may want to consider adding tart cherry juice to your bedtime routine. Try drinking a glass about an hour before bed to prevent having to use the restroom during the night. Pairing tart cherry juice with your evening book or bath may help you wind down.
If the taste prevents you from drinking tart cherry juice nightly, you may prefer the capsules. Putting the supplement on your nightstand or next to your couch can serve as a helpful reminder to take them. Or, you can set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to take the supplement before bed.