The solution to sleep you seek may appear in the form of a particular kind of cherry.
A new trend of drinking tart cherry juice before bed has been hailed on social media as a cure for insomnia in both adults and children.
In a video that has almost 2 million views, TikTok user @missalanablack said he never woke up in the middle of the night after trying the drink for the first time.
“How come you didn’t know about cherry juice sooner?” she said in the video. “I’ve taken so many supplements to help me fall asleep and stay asleep…all I needed was cherry juice.”
The hashtag #tartcherryjuice currently has over 33 million views on TikTok, with users declaring the drink works as a natural sleep aid.
But is there any merit to this claim? TODAY.com spoke with an expert to learn the sweetness and sourness of this viral TikTok sensation.
Can tart cherry juice help you sleep?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, tart cherries contain melatonin and tryptophan, both of which help you sleep because they increase the amount of melatonin in your body. An amino acid involved in the production of melatonin.
“Based on the fact that it contains tryptophan, it makes sense that[tart cherry juice]would improve sleep,” sleep consultant Kelly Murray tells TODAY.com.
Tart cherries help you fall asleep faster and sleep longer, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Studies on the effects of tart cherry juice on sleep also support this claim.
A 2012 study of 20 healthy adult volunteers found that drinking 1 ounce of tart cherry juice concentrate 30 minutes before dinner for 7 days changed sleep patterns. I checked if it did. The tart cherry juice drink “significantly increased” melatonin levels compared to baseline and placebo groups, and increased sleep duration and sleep efficiency (the percentage of time a person spent in bed sleeping).
“What researchers found was that those who consumed the tart cherry juice had higher levels of melatonin, which is interesting,” said an instructor in the Department of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School. One Dr. Rebecca Robbins told TODAY.com.
Another 2018 study of eight participants over the age of 50 with chronic insomnia found that they drank about 1 cup (240 milliliters) of tart cherry juice in the morning and another 1 to 2 hours before bedtime. Those who drank the cup for two weeks found that they slept more. By 84 minutes.
Is tart cherry juice the same as melatonin?
Tart cherries contain melatonin and can boost the body’s production of melatonin, but tart cherries are not the same as melatonin hormones or melatonin dietary supplements.
According to the National Institutes of Health, melatonin itself is “a hormone produced by the brain in response to darkness.” Melatonin dietary supplements are usually taken orally and can be made from animal, microbial, or synthetic sources.
Sour cherries, which are known to fight inflammation and boost the immune system, may have the same effects as melatonin, says a registered dietitian dietician and author of Read It Before You Eat It: Making You From Label to Table. Bonnie Taub-Dix, author of . TODAY.com.
That said, I am concerned about one ingredient in tart cherry juice not found in melatonin supplements, specifically the high concentration of sugar that can adversely affect blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Should I try tart cherry juice for sleep?
Experts agree that tart cherry juice is worth trying as a natural sleep aid, but only after checking with your doctor.
If you’re drinking tart cherry juice, Taub-Dix advises choosing a brand with no added sugar. The Cleveland Clinic also suggested specifically trying Montmorency cherries.
Taub-Dix adds that drinking tart cherry juice alone can raise blood sugar levels faster than when combined with other foods. Therefore, it is recommended to combine it with other sleep-inducing foods such as cheese, tryptophan-rich foods, or almonds. lots of melatonin.
“Drinking juice with cheese or almonds can help reduce blood sugar spikes, so not only can it help calm the effects of juice on blood sugar levels, but it can also improve your ability to fall asleep.” ‘ she says.
Robbins says that if you’re experiencing mild sleep problems and are open to natural remedies, you might want to consider drinking tart cherry juice, but it’s part of the picture of healthy sleep habits. I add that it should.
“Especially if you’re looking to replace tart cherry juice with alcohol or other sleep-disrupting substances, it can be considered part of a healthy routine,” says Robbins. “I think it’s a really good choice, especially in that case.”
But drinking tart cherry juice isn’t a panacea, she says.
Instead, you should consult your healthcare provider for more sustainable long-term solutions, Robbins advises.
Is tart cherry juice a good sleep aid for children?
Despite claims by some TikTok users, experts tell TODAY.com they are warning parents not to give their kids a bottle of tart cherry juice before bed. .
The sugar in tart cherry juice gives kids (and adults) a burst of energy and an adrenaline rush before they go to sleep.
“I don’t think I’d use that tactic on my kids,” she says.
If your child is struggling with sleep problems, Murray also suggests modifying their behavior rather than letting them drink tart cherry juice. , she adds, is important to encourage independence.
What are other sleep strategies?
People often think of sleep in oversimplified terms, but there’s more to sleep than just lying in bed, Robbins says.
A nighttime routine is an important part of our ability to wake up and enter deep sleep where we can feel rejuvenated, she adds. What surrounds and affects our sleep is not always widely known. ”
Robbins recommends sleep-improving strategies such as avoiding blue-light-emitting screens near bedtime, not eating at least 90 minutes before bed, and practicing mindfulness practices.
Experts think it’s good that TikTok users are talking about their sleep habits, but it’s important to remember that some trends may not be based on science.
“By following the recommendations online, we can avoid problems,” says Robbins.