We all want better sleep, and science has come a long way in telling us how to get it. There are supplements, vitamins, sleep positions, meditation, and so much more that promises the ever-elusive great night of rest. We’ve almost heard of it all, but there’s something that really struck us. There’s research out there that suggests that tart cherry juice could assist in an amazing night of sleep. We interviewed RobinWest, Cheribundi‘s sleep expert and the lead Team Physician for the Washington Nationals to learn more about how tart cherry juice can possibly get us to sleep a little better and a little faster. Keep reading to learn more!
Can Cherry Juice Help Make Your Overall Sleep Better?
1) What benefits does tart cherry juice bring to your PM routine?
With high amounts of melatonin, studies have shown that tart cherry juice can help with increased sleep time and overall sleep efficiency. Melatonin, which is produced naturally in your body by your brain’s pineal gland, partially controls your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Tart cherries contain both melatonin and tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid used in the production of serotonin and melatonin. Since both serotonin or the “happy hormone” and melatonin are important in sleep, the tryptophan in tart cherries can also aid in increased sleep time and efficiency.
2) What are the best ways to wind down before bed?
Establish a restful nighttime routine about an hour before bedtime (bath, tea, quiet, reading)
Avoid using your phone or computer for an hour before your bedtime
Avoid a heavy, large meal for 2 to 3 hours before bedtime
3) How do you find good-quality sleep that’s best for you?
Everyone needs different amounts of sleep. Try to establish a sleep-wake routine that is consistent. Keep your bedroom dark and cool at night, and turn the lights on and open the window shades immediately when you awake to help your body adjust to the sleep wake cycle. Make sure that you have a comfortable arrangement with regards to sleepwear, pillows, bedding, room temperature, and try to avoid sleep interruptions if possible (snoring partner, pets in bed, loud noises.) You can try ear plugs to help decrease the sleep interruptions.
4) What are some habits someone can do to help them sleep throughout the night successfully?
Developing a consistent sleep/wake schedule and going to bed and waking up around the same time every day, including weekends
Turning on the light first thing in the morning, so your body understands it’s time to be awake
Sleeping in a cool, dark room
Avoiding late night exercise
Avoid drinking coffee in the late afternoon or evening
Avoid using your phone or computer in bed
Avoid heavy meals right before bed
Try wearing ear plugs to decrease the sleep interruptions.
Incorporate a daily dose of tart cherry juice to increase natural melatonin levels
5) What are the nutritional benefits of tart cherry juice that specifically assist with sleep?
Tart cherries not only have melatonin and tryptophan, but they are also high in anthocyanins, which are colored water-soluble pigments found in plants. Anthocyanins belong to a class of compounds called flavonoids that have antioxidant effects, meaning that they fight unstable molecules, called free radicals. These free radicals damage cells and increase the risks of certain diseases. Anthocyanins have been shown to possess antidiabetic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-obesity effects, as well as aid in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. By providing an anti-inflammatory effect, along with its natural melatonin and tryptophan, tart cherry juice can aid in sleep by helping to relieve pain, post-workout aches, and by increasing sleep time and efficiency.
6) How often should you incorporate tart cherry juice into your daily routine?
Since tart cherry juice has anti-inflammatory properties (anthocyanins), sleep benefits (melatonin/tryptophan), and natural sugars with a low glycemic index, tart cherry juice can be used as a fuel and recovery drink before, during and after exercise. It can also be used in the evening 2-3 hours before bedtime to aid in sleep efficiency and duration.
7) Does it matter what time of day you take tart cherry juice to get the best REM?
Melatonin naturally peaks in the dark in the middle of the night and is linked to the sleep and wake cycle. It take a few hours for exogenous melatonin to take effect, so the timing of cherry juice intake will be variable depending on your normal bedtime. It is recommended that tart cherry juice is taken 2 to 3 hours before bedtime for the best effect on sleep duration.