According to two new studies, people who drink tart cherry juice experience much better sleep quality.

In the first study carried out at the University of Extremadura, researchers tested 30 people, of whom ten were between 20 and 30 years old, ten were aged 35 to 55 years and the remaining ten were aged 65 to 85 years.

Study researchers randomly divided the subjects into two groups, who were given either a tart cherry juice drink or a placebo with cherry flavor twice a day.

Study subjects who drank cherry juice experienced much better sleep quality as measured by sleep efficiency, awakenings and total sleep time. Not only that, older subjects experienced better overall improvements in sleep quality than the younger ones.

Another study carried out jointly by scientists from the US, UK and South Africa followed 20 healthy men and women with an average age of 27 years.

One half of this group was randomly assigned to drink tart cherry juice concentrate (made from tart Montmorency cherries) and the other half drank a placebo for seven days.

The group that consumed the tart cherry juice concentrate slept an average of 34 minutes more each night and had a 5-6% increase in sleep efficiency - measured as time spent asleep as a proportion of time in bed.

Interestingly, melatonin levels among the tart cherry group were seen to increase significantly within 48 hours of consumption, while the placebo group did not show this increase.

In other words, tart cherry juice concentrate is a source of melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality - and might help people who experience sleep disturbances.

In fact, earlier research has shown that Montmorency cherries contain melatonin, up to 13.5 nanograms per gram of cherries. This is typically more than the melatonin levels found in the bloodstream.

Another factor may be the phytochemical content of tart cherries, which has been shown to contribute to decreasing oxidative stress and inflammation following strenuous exercise. Some health experts believe that these antioxidant and/or anti-inflammatory properties may be responsible for better sleep quality as well.

So why not boost your overall health and improve your sleep quality by drinking cherry juice.

Source: Cherries: Nature’s Natural Sleep Aid.