Sleep Aid: Cherry Juice Concentrate Increases Melatonin Levels

Cherry concentrate may help to sleep better
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Researchers have discovered that concentrated cheery juice acts as a natural sleep aid by increasing the melatonin levels in the body. Melatonin is an important sleep hormone that helps the body regulate its natural sleep and wake cycles. The researchers conclude that drinking a cherry juice concentrate daily will act as a natural sleep aid that will result in restful sleep for many who have difficulty sleeping.

Researchers from the School of Life Sciences at Northumbria University have published a recent paper in the European Journal of Nutrition their findings that a concentrated tart cheery juice beverage has sleep inducing properties. Their findings were the result of a study that looked at the effects of tart cherries on the body’s ability to recover following exercise.

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Dr. Glyn Howatson, an exercise physiologist and lead author of the study said that, “We were initially interested in the application of tart cherries in recovery from strenuous exercise. Sleep forms a critical component in that recovery process, which is often forgotten. These results show that tart cherry juice concentrate can be used to facilitate sleep in healthy adults and, excitingly, has the potential to be applied as a natural intervention, not only to athletes, but to other populations with insomnia and general disturbed sleep from shift work or jet lag.”

In the study, 20 participants were given a 30 ml drink consisting of either a tart cherry juice or a placebo juice control twice a day for seven days. During the trial the participants wore sleep monitors that kept track of their sleep patterns and were asked to maintain a daily record on their perception of how well they slept. Following the 7-day trial, urine sample were collected and assessed for levels of the sleep hormone melatonin.

What the researchers found was that sleep monitors recorded an increase of approximately 15 additional minutes in bed with 25 minutes more of total sleep for participants who drank the tart cherry juice in comparison to the placebo control group. Furthermore, that the cherry juice drinking participants had 15% to 16% more melatonin in their urine than the placebo control group did. The daily journals of the cheery juice drinking group reflected less daytime napping compared to the placebo group as well.

According to co-author Dr. Jason Ellis, director of the Center for Sleep Research at Northumbria University, “…What makes these findings exciting is that the melatonin contained in tart cherry juice concentrate is sufficient to elicit a healthy sleep response. What’s more, these results provide us with more evidence surrounding the relationship between how we sleep and what we consume.”
Source: Northumbria University News http://www.northumbria.ac.uk/browse/ne/uninews/cherryjuice

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