During this time of year we find ourselves busier than ever – whether it’s entertaining during holiday parties, playing host to out-of-town visitors, or shopping ‘til we drop for every last gift on the list – we can become exhausted and in need of sleep to replenish our energy and maintain our overall health.
We’re in luck! Scientific studies continue to emerge that show the benefits of tart cherry juice and its effect on sleep quality as well as duration.
Most recently, researchers at Northumbria University, whose findings were published in the European Journal of Nutrition, conducted a study where 20 participants were given two 30ml servings of the juice for seven days - once when they woke up and another before bed. The results were longer sleep time, less daytime napping and up to a 6 per cent increase in sleep efficiency. People who drank two glasses of tart cherry juice also had increased ‘sleep efficiency’ - the ratio of time spent in bed to time spent sleeping. They slept an average of 39 minutes longer.
Researcher Jason Ellis said, “When darkness falls, the body produces melatonin to signal it is time to sleep. The juice provides an additional service to what we already have to strengthen the internal signal of the body clock.
“It would definitely be beneficial to people with jet lag or coming off shift work -anywhere your internal clock has been fighting the external world.”
Why tart cherries? The Montmorency cherry (a type of tart cherry) naturally contains the hormone, melatonin, which is critical in regulating sleep-wake cycles. With the consumption of tart cherries, the body’s level of this powerful antioxidant increased significantly and thus affected sleep patterns in a gentle and natural way.