Cherry Juice Could Affect Your Insomnia

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July 12, 2010

If you are one of over 40 million Americans suffering from insomnia, there may be some help for you in the form of cherry juice. A pilot study conducted by a team of University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester and VA Center of Canandaigua researchers found that cherry juice blend could have modest but beneficial effects on sleep in older adults with insomnia. Although the researchers cautioned that the effects cherry juice has on insomnia are considerably less than those for evidence-based treatments of insomnia such as hypnotic agents and cognitive-behavioral therapies for insomnia, the findings open the gateway to exploring the benefits of cherry juice for insomniacs. Russel J. Reiter, Ph.D, a biomedical scientist at the University of Texas Health Science Center and one of the world's leading authorities on melatonin, says while melatonin supplement pills have been heavily promoted as a sleep aid, foods such as cherries — available year-round as dried, frozen and juice — may be a better alternative for boosting the body's own supply of melatonin. "When consumed regularly, tart cherries may help regulate the body's natural sleep cycle and increase sleep efficiency, including decreasing the time it takes to fall asleep," says Reiter. "And, because cherries are so rich in other antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, you get other important health benefits." The study's 15 participants drank 8 ounces of a tart cherry juice beverage in the morning and evening for 2 weeks and experienced significant reductions in reported insomnia severity - compared to when they were drinking the juice. The researchers suspect tart cherries' natural benefits could be due in part to their relatively high content of melatonin — a natural antioxidant in cherries with established ability to help moderate the body's sleep-wake cycle. Produced naturally by the body in small amounts, melatonin plays a role in inducing sleepiness at night and wakefulness during the day. Learn more about insomnia.