With herbal teas, natural supplements and linen sprays, the sheer variety of sleep aid options on the market is an astonishing reminder of how difficult it can be to get a good night's rest. Natural sleep remedies have become increasingly popular given the common downsides of pharmaceutical sleeping pills, including morning grogginess, headaches, and even digestive problems. This is where we drum-roll one of our favourite natural sleep-inducing ingredients, Sour cherries.
Also known as tart cherries, they are different to the delicious cherries you enjoy straight from the box. They are generally too sour to eat alone so are often used in baking or for their therapeutic sleep-promoting effects. Sour cherries are rich in many nutrients that support a good sleep, including tryptophan and anthocyanins. These compounds help the body produce melatonin and lengthen its effects. Although, what is most impressive about Sour cherries is they are one of few foods naturally high in melatonin.
Melatonin is a sleep-promoting hormone produced at night which prepares your body clock for sleep. As morning comes, melatonin levels drop back down, promoting energy and preparing the body and mind for the day ahead. Melatonin levels are 10 times higher in the middle of the night than in the middle of the day.
Many factors can interrupt the rhythmic release of melatonin, resulting in restless sleep. Common contributors to poor sleep hygiene include blue light exposure and night-shift work, where there’s an inconsistent pattern of sleep and light exposure. Click here to read more about how blue light effects melatonin and our sleep-wake cycle.
Sour Cherries in Sleep Studies
Clinical studies have shown that supplementing with Sour cherry can increase melatonin levels and help improve sleep quality and duration. Research has shown that Sour cherry supplementation can be even more effective at reducing insomnia than valerian and actual melatonin supplements.
Sour cherry comes in many forms, from capsule and powder supplements to juices. Some varieties of Sour cherry juice contain added sugars, which can counteract the sleep-promoting effects of Sour cherry. Try an unsweetened juice, or consider a dietary supplement formulated with fresh fruit extract for best results.