Cherry juice is an anti-oxidant blast that can not only help you up your fruit intake - it may also help the quantity and quality of sleep, or ‘sleep efficiency’. Researchers at Northumbria University found that Montmorency cherry juice increases levels of melatonin in the body.
As such, it could help tackle insomnia or jet lag. It could also help athletes recover from races and repair injuries.
For the study, 20 healthy volunteers drank a 30ml serving of either tart cherry juice or a placebo juice twice a day for seven days. The participants wore an actigraphy watch sensor which monitored their sleep. There was a significant increase in their urinary melatonin (15-16%) compared to the control group.
Dr Glyn Howatson, an exercise physiologist, said: “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.”
“Although melatonin is available over the counter in other countries, it is not freely available in the UK. What makes these findings exciting is that the melatonin contained in tart cherry juice is sufficient to elicit a healthy sleep response.
Their findings are published this week in the online edition of the European Journal of Nutrition.