Does Tart Cherry Juice Really Improve Sleep Quality?
Categories: Health Tart Cherry Juice 
Published: May 02, 2023
Author: Joanne Kaldy
US News
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Does Tart Cherry Juice Really Improve Sleep Quality?

If you are up at night because you can’t sleep, you have a lot of company.

As many as 70 million Americans have problems getting a good night's sleep, according to a review of research published by the Institute of Medicine Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research.

There is no one solution for better sleep. There are medications, lifestyle changes, herbal products, apps that play sounds designed to promote sleep and more. Now add tart cherry juice to the list, as some researchers suggest that drinking this can help promote better sleep.

Why Is Sleep Sometimes Elusive?

There are some common sleep disorders that people may suffer from. With insomnia, for example, someone can’t get to sleep, or they wake up and can’t get back to sleep. Many people also experience sleep apnea, which involves breathing that stops and starts. Severe sleep apnea can put people at risk of heart attacks, heart failure and stroke. Other sleep disorders include narcolepsy, excessive daytime sleepiness and restless leg syndrome, where legs move or shake at night, causing sleeplessness.

There are many other reasons people have trouble sleeping. Stress and anxiety are big contributors, as are too much caffeine or alcohol, an uncomfortable bed or a bedroom where there is too might light or noise.

Poor sleep hygiene can also cause sleep disturbances. This may look like taking daytime naps, falling asleep in front of the TV or exposing yourself to negative stimuli, such as watching a scary movie or listening to upsetting news right before bed.

If you are having sleep problems, Dr. David Smith, a geriatrician and president of Geriatric Consultants in Brownwood, Texas, suggests the first step to better slumber is improving sleep hygiene. Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol in the evenings, don’t exercise right before you go to bed, turn off the TV at least an hour before bedtime and use your bed only for sleeping.

Before you try other products or interventions, check with your physician. They may be able to help you identify the best, safest strategies to address your sleep disorders.

The Potential Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice

“There are more than 100 varieties of cherries, each containing nutrients like vitamin C and potassium,” explains Michael Breus, founder of

There are two kinds of cherries, sweet and tart. Tart cherry juice is extracted from a special kind of cherry called Montmorency. These cherries produce a juice that is more sour than sweet but rich in antioxidants. In recent years, some people have touted tart cherry juice as a “superfood” because it has nutrients that can help reduce some inflammation and improve sleep.

In truth, tart cherry juice actually may have a variety of benefits. For instance, a 2019 study published in Nutrients suggests that tart cherry juice can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in older adults. Other research published in the Journal of Food Studies suggests a connection between tart cherry choice and some relief from osteoarthritis. At least one American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study showed a connection between consuming tart cherry juice and reduced blood pressure.

Tart cherry juice contains tryptophan and melatonin. Tryptophan, most famously found in turkey, helps you produce melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that your body secretes that causes you to feel sleepy. As a result, Breus says, consuming tart cherries may help people stay asleep longer. He notes that tart cherry juice also may help you fall asleep more quickly and wake up less frequently during the night.

You need about 250-425 milligrams of tryptophan for a good night’s sleep, though one serving of tart cherry juice only contains 9 milligrams of tryptophan. There is a small amount of melatonin in tart cherry juice, according to a pilot study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics in 2018. An 8-ounce cup of this only contains about 0.135 micrograms of melatonin, just a fraction of the 0.5 to 5 milligrams recommended for good sleep. Therefore, while tart cherry juice might help with sleep, it likely will be just part of a successful effort to improve sleep.

If you don’t like the taste of tart cherry juice, you can try pills, capsules or gummies made with cherry extract in the evening.

According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, you can safely drink up to 16 ounces of tart cherry juice or ingest 480 milligrams of tart cherry extract pills, capsules or gummies once daily.

Tart cherry juice enhances a normal body function, the production of melatonin, which “makes it more appealing than narcotizing yourself with a sleeping pill,” Smith says.

He further notes that benzodiazepines – a class of depressant drugs often used to treat insomnia as well as conditions like anxiety and seizures – and other sedative-hypnotics, such as zolpidem and triazolam, generally are designed for short-term use; they have properties that make them less effective the longer you take them. Nonetheless, people get dependent on them, and when they go through withdrawal, they get insomnia, Smith explains.

Potential Risks of Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice may interact with some medications, such as those used to manage blood pressure and cholesterol. Additionally, you should avoid this juice if you are allergic to cherries.

It's never a good idea to add sugar to your diet, so consider looking for juice without added sugars. Even then, a cup of tart cherry juice still has about 32.8 grams of sugar in it. People with diabetes should consider capsules or pills if their physician suggests that drinking juice or taking gummies means consuming more sugar than they should.

“Don’t think about ‘spiking’ your cherry juice with alcohol,” Smith says. “Alcohol will help initiate sleep, but when it metabolizes, it is a stimulant for wakefulness.” So, you may fall asleep quickly but then wake up and have trouble falling back to sleep.

However, when your physician determines it to be safe for you, tart cherry juice “might dovetail nicely in conjunction with good sleep hygiene,” Smith said.

Dr. Abhinav Singh, medical director of the Indiana Sleep Center in Greenwood, Indiana, adds, “People who have occasional difficulty with falling asleep benefit from this if they also have a good sleep and wind-down ritual.” However, he also notes that “large studies are not available to demonstrate effect on improving sleep objectively with tart cherry juice.”



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