A glass of this natural juice might help combat insomnia and sleep deprivation.
Credit: Photo by: Westend61

Dealing with sleep irregularities or insomnia can sometimes feel like a battle that never ends. Navigating the options of sleep aids and hypnotics can be difficult, overwhelming, and downright scary when you consider the potential of addiction or unwanted side effects. But a research team at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center recently discovered a natural sleep aid that may help you get more shut-eye.

A new study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics found that a glass of tart cherry juice in the morning and again in the evening helped men and women over 50 sleep longer. 

The pilot study recruited participants who were screened for sleep issues, and then the team at LSU divided them into two groups – one group routinely drank eight ounces of Montmorency tart cherry, which is full of a flavonoid called procyanidin, while the other group was given a placebo juice that didn't contain procyanidin. The group of individuals who consumed the procyanidin gained an average of 84 minutes of sleep each night, while those who drank the placebo juice didn't report getting any more sleep.

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Montmorency tart cherries are one of the most common varieties of cherries in the U.S. and are available year-round, and often are regaled for their antioxidant properties. But Jamie Vespa, MS, RD, says that tart cherry juice is also an excellent source of anthocyanins which help the body naturally fight inflammation. It’s consistently referred to in sports medicine as a method of recovery for athletes looking for natural anti-inflammatory aid, Vespa says.

If you’re looking for a natural way to normalize your sleep schedule and make sure you’re catching as much shut-eye as possible, tart cherry juice seems to be a healthy and affordable resource. Don’t be afraid of high sugar counts in the natural juice – enjoying a small serving in the morning and evening before bedtime could be the key to uninterrupted rest, and in moderation, cherry juice is a smart nutrition choice.