The People's Perspective on Medicine

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.

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. .
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
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Tips for beating insomnia: foods to avoid, foods that help, herbal remedies, sleeping pills. Newly revised (November 2016), our online guide (too long to print) includes drugs that may cause insomnia. Learn about the latest medication, Belsomra.

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How much is 18.85 g of pitted, freeze-dried cherries? And how much is 30 ml or one fluid ounce? Is one dose or two doses a cup of cherry juice? Most of us (Americans, that is) don’t have these kinds of measuring apparatus in our kitchens. In order for these articles to be useful, we need quantity conversions.

One fluid ounce is one ounce (1 oz.) on a regular American measuring cup since our measuring cups ARE fluid ounces (vs. weight ounces).

Don’t know about g which is grams I assume…

I love tart cherry juice and am glad to know it helps insomnia which I have often.

Another question: I would like to know how to cure Blepharitis naturally.

I have been told by two eye doctors that you can’t cure Blepharitis, but I keep mine under control by washing my eyelids with a clean piece of terry cloth every morning when I get up. Usually, I just use hot water, but if that proves inadequate, I use baby shampoo for a day or two. Usually, even my eye doctor can’t see the flakes, etc.

About the blepharitis, eye lid scrubs with baby shampoo daily, and warm
wet compresses helped me.

I also found out I was allergic to beeswax, and sodium laurel sulfate, which is in all soaps. I switched to face soap without SLS, and mascara without beeswax, and my eye lids cleared up.

Good luck!

Somewhere in past “People’s” newsletters, I thought I read the tart cherry juice was a good treatment for painful joints. Since my hip pain was keeping me up more frequently, I bought a jar and started drinking about 4 ounces at night before bed. Amazingly, the first night went by with no pain whatsoever! Now I drink the juice nearly every night and the results are quite consistent. Thank you, Graedons!

I use melatonin and I find that less is more.

Be careful when ordering cherry juice online. The one I got was not all Montmorency cherry juice. The juice concentrate listed first on the label was Morello tart cherry juice. Montmorency was listed second. Ingredients listed first on a label make up the largest part of a product. The juice concentrate is a product of USA and POLAND according to the label. Distributed by a company in Michigan, where I believe Montmorency cherries are available. I took it for granted that the concentrate would be all Montmorency. My mistake. I will be more careful next time.

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