Drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice an hour before you go to bed may help you sleep for longer, a scientific review concludes.
In a trial on insomniacs, researchers found swigging the tasty drink prior to hitting the sack extends sleep by 84 minutes.
Analysis revealed the cherry juice stopped the build-up of brain chemicals that are linked to poor sleep, and slashed inflammation – a risk factor for insomnia.
The findings offer hope of a natural sleeping aid, as many sufferers are reluctant to try drugs to induce a good night’s rest.
In a trial on insomniacs, researchers found swigging the tasty drink prior to hitting the sack extends sleep by 84 minutes
Insomnia has been worryingly linked to cancer, diabetes, dementia, heart disease, stroke and depression in recent years. It is estimated a third of adults suffer from occasional bouts of insomnia.
The new Louisiana State University study, which was part-funded by the Cherry Marketing Institute, was based on results from eight insomniacs.
How was the study carried out?
Each participant struggled to sleep at least three times a week. They had blood tests taken and were asked to take a questionnaire about their insomnia.
They were randomly assigned to either the cherry juice group, or given a placebo that looked and tasted similar. Each drink was 240ml.
Montmorency tart cherry juice contains procyanidin and anthocyanins. The placebo, made of distilled water, fructose and lemon powder, did not.
Volunteers were asked to drink the juice twice a day, once in the morning and once in the hours running up to their bedtime.
CHERRY JUICE IS AS GOOD AS DRUGS…
Drinking cherry juice is as good as taking drugs at reducing blood pressure, researchers found in May.
People who drank 60ml of cherry concentrate, diluted with water, saw their blood pressure drop by 7 per cent within three hours.
This was enough to slash the risk of a stroke by 38 per cent or heart disease by 23 per cent.
Patients who take blood pressure medication see a similar impact, scientists at Northumbria University said.
The research team, whose work is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tested 15 people who were displaying early signs of high blood pressure.
After two weeks, the questionnaires were repeated and the groups switched over, according to the study published in American Journal of Therapeutics.
What else did they find?
Sleep efficiency was shown to increase in those who drank the cherry juice twice a day, but no other significant differences were recorded.
Lead researcher Professor Jack Losso said: ‘Insomnia is quite common among older adults and it can lead to a range of health issues if left untreated.
‘However, many people are hesitant to resort to medications to help them sleep. That’s why natural sleep remedies are increasingly of interest and in demand.’
How does it help?
After analysing blood samples, researchers found cherry juice reduced levels of kynurenine – which numerous studies have shown to contribute to sleep disturbances.
It also increased the amount of tryptophan in the blood, an amino acid that helps to induce sleepiness.
Further testing showed it inhibited the production of indoleanmine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) – which can slow down the release of tryptophan.
And scientists found it stopped the build-up of PGE2, a biomarker of inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to sleep problems in recent years.
Montmorency tart cherries can be bought dried, frozen, canned or juiced. They are the most common variety grown in the US.
REVEALED: THE 5 WAYS TO OPTIMISE YOUR SLEEP
By Victoria Woodhall for Get The Gloss
The hour before you go to sleep and the hour after you wake up are key to the quality of your sleep, says personal trainer Max Lowery.
He is the creator of the 2 Meal Day, a self-confessed light sleeper and a man who has made it a mission to discover the secrets of good quality shuteye.
He has researched sleep patterns and our body’s circadian rhythms, to find the best way of tapping into our natural energy without needing caffeine.
It’s a philosophy he shares with clients on his website 2mealday.com and YouTube channel.
His top five tips are:
Pick a constant waking time. ‘By waking up at the same time every single morning, you’re encouraging body to be in a light sleep phase when you first wake up.
Pick a constant bed time. Choose when to go bed so that it is always seven-and-a-half hours before your waking time. Keep both consistent.
Develop a pre and post bedtime routine. ‘The hour before you go to bed and hour after you wake up is just as important as sleep itself,’ Mr Lowery advises.
Optimise your sleeping environment. Empty your room of TVs or any kind of gadget that could distract your sleep, Mr Lowery says. Keep windows slightly open to allow a supply of fresh oxygen, use black out blinds to reduce light in the room, and wear ear plugs.
Supplements. Mr Lowery advises to experiment to help make a ‘big difference over a long period of time’.
This piece was reproduced with the permission of Get The Gloss.