Do you have trouble falling asleep? Many people do. Some folks overcome their insomnia with prescription medication, but the side effects discourage many from taking drugs like zolpidem (Ambien) or eszopiclone (Lunesta). People often take OTC sleeping pills such as Sominex or Tylenol PM, but these medicines are not intended for long-term use. (You can learn why in our Show 1067 with Lisa Gill of Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs.) Could a simple beverage help you get to sleep?
Tart Cherry Juice as a Sleep Aid:
Q. I have found a wonderful sleep aid. I am 94 and was having sleep problems until I found something that really works for me.
I drink about a half cup of pure tart cherry juice every night before bedtime. Even after getting up to visit the bathroom, I go right back to sleep.
Using Tart Cherry Juice to Get to Sleep:
A. Thanks for the testimonial. Drinking tart cherry juice has been shown to improve sleep quality, perhaps because Montmorency (tart) cherries contain melatonin (European Journal of Nutrition, Dec. 2012). We would worry about someone your age taking melatonin pills because, like sleeping pills, they can increase the risk for fracture (Age and Ageing, Nov. 2016).
Tart cherry juice seems unlikely to cause dizziness or grogginess, however, because the dose of melatonin is quite low. We are not aware of other side effects from cherries. You may have hit upon the best sleep aid for you.
Readers who are interested in tart cherry juice and other natural ways to get to sleep may wish to consult our newly revised Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep. This information is provided as an online resource, as it is too long to print and mail. If you buy it, you will be emailed a link just for you that allows you to visit it whenever you wish, as many times as you like. You will be able to read it on any device that you have connected to the internet. Be sure to check your email for the link and keep it where you can find it easily.