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Insomnia? Pucker Up for Tart Cherry Juice and Snooze

by Sandy Todd Webster on May 16, 2014


A small study from Louisiana State University suggests that 8 ounces of Montmorency tart cherry juice ingested twice daily may help older-adult insomniacs sleep better at night.

The researchers, who presented their findings at the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting in San Diego at the end of April, showed that older-adult subjects with insomnia who drank tart cherry juice both morning and evening over a 2-week period increased their sleep time by nearly 90 minutes.

Study Details

  • In a randomized crossover clinical trial, seven older adults (average age, 68) with insomnia consumed 8 ounces of tart cherry juice twice daily for 2 weeks and then, following a 2-week washout period, consumed a placebo beverage twice daily for a second 2-week period.
  • Subjects’ sleep was studied in a controlled setting, using overnight polysomnography to evaluate sleep efficiency, such as onset and duration of sleep.
  • Participants completed questionnaires related to sleep, fatigue, depression and anxiety.
  • Researchers conducted blood work on each participant.
  • When subjects drank the Montmorency tart cherry juice in the morning and evening, they were able to sleep more than an hour longer each night (averaging 84 minutes) than they did when taking the placebo, and sleep also tended to be more efficient.

The scientists pointed out in a press release that Montmorency tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. While previous research has suggested that tart cherry juice has sleep-enhancing benefits, these study authors wanted to understand if the benefits were due to the melatonin content or to another component in the juice.

They believe the ruby-red pigments in the juice, known as proanthocyanidins, which are abundant in Montmorency tart cherries, also play a role. In the study, tart cherry juice helped to increase the availability of tryptophan, an essential amino acid and a serotonin precursor that helps with sleep.

Tart cherry juice contains about 130 calories per 8 ounces, so if you decide to add this regimen to your diet, be sure to account for the extra 260 liquid calories per day.


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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.