Forget warm milk or wine. Tart cherry juice is a natural and very effective sleep aid.
An international team of researchers has concluded that adults who consume two glasses of tart cherry juice daily sleep notably longer and have significantly less non-sleep time in bed, compared with drinking a non-cherry fruit cocktail.
The study: The research took place at Northumbria University in New Castle, England. Twenty healthy adults were randomly assigned to drink either two servings of tart cherry juice concentrate diluted in water or a non-cherry fruit drink for seven consecutive days. One serving was consumed when they woke up, while the other was consumed before bed.
The results: Those who drank the cherry juice slept, on average, 39 minutes longer and enjoyed 6 percent less non-sleep time in bed, which is known as sleep efficiency.
Why is tart cherry juice a sleep aid? The researchers attribute the sleep benefits to the melatonin content of the tart cherries; melatonin is a powerful antioxidant critical for the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle. Each serving of the tart cherry juice concentrate was estimated to contain the equivalent of 90 to 100 tart cherries, providing a significant level of melatonin in the juice and ultimately in the bodies of the participants.
Previous research has supported the benefits of tart cherries as a sleep aid, a potentially wide-reaching benefit since nearly one-third of all Americans suffer from sleep disturbances affecting their health and wellbeing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While more research is necessary before medical professionals turn to cherries as a sole treatment for sleep disorders, the scientists conclude that tart cherry juice concentrate could be a viable "adjunct intervention for disturbed sleep across a number of scenarios."
The study findings were published in the European Journal of Nutrition.
--From the Editors at Netscape