The underrated fruit doesn’t get the love it deserves.
Yes, it’s the better-tasting cherry (we love a little zing), but it’s also loaded with nutrients. These nutrients make it especially beneficial for the average person. Like apple cider vinegar, this may be something you want to work into your daily life.
Why? Well, because it can help with something we all hold dear to our hearts — SLEEP. That’s right: nutritionists connect this dark red beauty with better sleep. But that’s a little vague, right?
Vague, yes, but still true. In fact, science supports these babies and makes a case for their role in daily life.
Let’s take a look at some of the evidence.
Tart Cherries and Improved Sleep
They can help increase melatonin levels.
This body chemical is sometimes confused with melanin, which is a skin pigment. They’re not related, so there’s your FYI — don’t be that person. Instead, this molecule helps regulate sleep. How so? Well, your body produces an increased amount of this towards your bedtime. Production helps lull you down and eventually, knocks you out for the night.
So, if your eyes feel a little heavier as the sun goes down, now you know why. Melatonin helps control your circadian rhythm. No, that’s not a Fortnite dance the kids are doing; it’s the process that your body uses to rest. Think of it as your internal clock that usually follows the day cycle. The sun goes down and you’re ready to catch some z’s, the sun comes up and you’re ready to go.
At least, that’s how things are supposed to work. Yet, many of us still lay awake at the wee hours of the night. Then we drag our knuckles throughout the morning like a zombie looking for brains. Instead, we’re not looking for brains, we’re hoping for our pillows.
That’s where supplements come in. Many look to pills and potions to help them remedy bedtimes issues. For those who would like a more natural supplement, that’s where tart cherries come in. Medical studies have shown this cherry can help increase melatonin-production. In fact, one European Journal of Nutrition study showed measurable changes.
The double-blind study followed 20 volunteers over 7 days. Participants drank either tart cherry juice concentrate or a placebo. Researchers collected urine samples, testing for signs of the molecule.
And what did they find? Surprise, surprise: the cherry drinkers melatonin-content increased, while the placebo showed no change. What does the increase mean?
That brings us to our next point…
Cherry concentrate can help boost sleep efficiency.
Again, it sounds vague, but it’s still true. The European study didn’t just tally chemical-ranges, it accounted for sleep quality too. Volunteers answered sleep quality questionnaires and special sensors monitored actual sleep. Both methods showed the same thing — people slept better with daily doses of the concentrate. More accurately, they slept for longer hours in this case.
Researchers in Spain found a similar correlation in a 2013 study. Ages for this placebo-controlled study ranged from 20 to 85-years-old. Across all these ages, participants showed measured success. Those who drank tart cherry concentrate daily showed reported better sleep. Their activity patterns exemplified this: less sudden awakenings during sleep and more shut-eye.
The report also focused on sleep latency, which means how long it takes to fall asleep. Can you guess what happened? Yup, participants reported (and data showed) falling asleep quicker during their trial. Falling asleep easier and less instances of randomly waking up at 3 AM? Count us in.
This sour fruit’s potential effectiveness has many in the health world. That brings us to our next point.
It may able to help those with sleep disorders in the future.
If the tart cherry can benefit the average person’s sleep cycle, can it help those with sleep disorders? Signs are looking positive, but lack extensive research. Research might be far and few between, but there’s still hope.
The American Journal of Therapeutics recently published a pilot study focusing on patients with insomnia. Researchers hoped the fruit could one day be a natural alternative to sleep-inducing drugs. So, is that what they found?
Unfortunately, the correlation could not go that far. But, those who ingested a cherry concentrate daily (as opposed to the placebo) found improvement. Their monitored sleep time increased by a little over an hour and thirty minutes (83 minutes). We know every minute counts, so that’s pretty cool.
Interestingly enough, researchers also noted an increase in tryptophan-availability. This chemical helps your body produce the mood-enhancing neurotransmitter serotonin. This makes sense because serotonin is also associated with melatonin. Think about it like this: how many times has your night’s rest (or lack thereof) affected your mood the next day?
A Very Cherry Recipe
Enticed? Of course you are. Here’s a fun little way to get some cherry-love in your life. Use our Organic Tart Cherry Extract to create this refreshing recipe.
Tart Cherry Red Wine Spritzer
Wine and cherries are two of our favorite things, so naturally we love this recipe by Running to the Kitchen. Add seltzer in the mix and a rosemary for garnish, and you got yourself a holiday drink (or any time, really).
Looking for more tasty drinks? Check more recipes here.