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 cherries as juice or extract could help.
Trying Multiple Natural Remedies for Better Sleep:
Q. I was a terrible insomniac all my life. Then a couple years ago I started getting more sleep with a combination of melatonin, tryptophan and homeopathics. Adding a few tablespoons of tart cherry extract before bed and increasing magnesium in my daily supplement regimen really helped. So did a couple of “adaptogens.” These compounds fight stress and suppress the release of cortisol, the “fight-or-flight” hormone. Ashwagandha, maca, Rhodiola and holy basil (Tulsi) are all natural adaptogens.
After all those little tweaks, I now sleep very soundly! I’ve stopped all my old sleep stuff except for an occasional melatonin. I’m so glad that my lifelong insomnia is now a distant memory.
A. Thank you for sharing your success and how to overcome insomnia. There is research to support the use of tart cherry juice or extract for better sleep (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Aug. 18, 2022; European Journal of Nutrition, Dec. 2012). There is also evidence that some of the herbal adaptogens you mention can be helpful for insomnia (Current Neuropharmacology, Sept. 14, 2021).
Will Tart Cherry Juice Help You Overcome Insomnia?
Many people have heard that tart cherry juice could help them sleep better. They’d like more details.
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 eGuide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.