Cherry juice can help insomniacs sleep

By Paige Parrinelli • Published: September 4th, 2014
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Two glasses of tart cherry juice a day may help keep insomnia away.

A new study presented on April 28 at an annual meeting of the American Society of Nutrition showed that drinking Montmorency (mont-mor-REN-see) tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks helped increase sleep time by an average of 84 minutes among older adults suffering from insomnia.

The study was conducted by researchers at Louisiana State University with adults ages 65 and older. For the study, seven adults with insomnia drank eight ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks. This was followed by a two-week period sans cherry juice, and then a two-week period where a placebo drink was consumed instead.

Besides having an average of 84 minutes of more sleep, researchers found that subjects also had more efficient sleep when they drank cherry juice.

Researchers believe that this effect on sleep is due to the combination of melatonin, tryptophan (trip-TO-fan) and proanthocyanidins (pro-an-thow-sigh-an-uh-dins) found in Montmorency tart cherries. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Tryptophan is an amino acid that also helps with sleep. Proanthocyanidins are red pigments naturally found in cherries, and they help keep tryptophan from breaking down. This is important because the chemical breakdown of tryptophan is a predictor of insomnia.

Adding two daily glasses of cherry juice to their diets may be a way for older adults suffering from insomnia to lessen the amount of sleep medication they use. Sleep medication can increase the likelihood of falling in older individuals, which can lead to broken limbs or even early death.

By using safe and natural treatments such as cherry juice to help relieve the symptoms of insomnia, older individuals can sip their way to happier and safer sleep.