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Overcoming Insomnia with Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherries are rich in melatonin. A cup of cherry juice from concentrate twice a day may help people overcome insomnia.
Overcoming Insomnia with Tart Cherry Juice
Cherries on the Tree – A cluster of red Montmorency Michigan cherries on the tree.

Do you often toss and turn for hours? Wouldn’t it be great to have a remedy that could help you overcome insomnia, preferably without next-day drowsiness or other undesirable side effects? Some scientists think tart cherry juice could be the answer.

Will Tart Cherry Juice Help You Overcome Insomnia?

Q. Is tart cherry juice useful to overcome insomnia? If so, what is an appropriate daily amount, presumably taken at bedtime? I’ve heard and read everything from 1 to 16 ounces!

Studies of Tart Cherry Juice for Sleep:

A. In one study, tart cherry juice improved sleep time and quality. Researchers gave a dose of 30 ml (roughly one fluid ounce) of Montmorency cherry concentrate when subjects woke and another 30 ml of concentrate half an hour before the evening meal (European Journal of Nutrition, Dec., 2012). This was diluted to taste in 200 ml or so of water. Thus, volunteers drank about a cup of reconstituted cherry juice.

Another study used a Spanish product containing 18.85 g of pitted, freeze-dried cherries per dose (Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, June, 2013).  This too was diluted in water and and the participants drank it twice daily, at lunch and dinner. Those who consumed the cherry product slept better than those who got the placebo.

A recent review found that kiwi fruit as well as tart cherries are able to promote sleep. This could be a big help for those who struggle to overcome insomnia (Advances in Nutrition, Sept. 15, 2016).

What You Might Not Know About Cherries and Melatonin:

Tart cherries are a good source of melatonin, which might explain why both studies found cherry juice helpful in promoting sleep. You will find more information on melatonin and other nondrug approaches to insomnia in our Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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