At the end of a long day, we all just want to rest in peace (afterlife, included). But a restful slumber is not always guaranteed. Reading, meditating, breathing exercises are all reasonable bedtime rituals to help you doze off, but consider a tasty remedy: cherries, the "nightcap" of fruits.
The latest research study conducted by Louisiana State University revealed that Montmorency tart cherry juice can help you get some extra hours of shut-eye. About 84 minutes extra, to be precise, reports HuffPost.
Cherries contain melatonin, a hormone produced in the body that regulates sleep and wakefulness, so it's no wonder the fleshy drupe is such a fascination for sleep researchers and insomniacs.
Insomnia occurs more among older adults and it can lead to health issues if left untreated, Jack Lasso, lead researcher, explained in a press release. Despite the health risks, many insomniacs still hesitate to use medicinal treatment, the professor noted. Sufferers look to natural remedies instead.
The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was published in the American Journal of Therapeutics and the study participants were all at least 50 years old and diagnosed with chronic insomnia (defined as trouble sleeping at least three nights per week). Subjects were given either a cherry-like placebo or Montmorency tart cherry juice to consume on a 14-day schedule, morning and night.
After two weeks, subjects were evaluated with a polysomnographic sleep study and questionnaires. Subjects were switched over to the tart cherry juice or placebo group after a two-week washout period, after which the two-week testing period was repeated.
The results of the study found Montmorency tart cherry juice significantly extended sleep time by 84 minutes. Given how few participants involved, the research is considered a pilot study for forming hypotheses for potential human clinical trials. Researchers did find that procyanidin (a major compound in Montmorency tart cherries) effectively inhibited hormones linked to poor sleep.
Now if you find yourself tossing and turning at night, consider opting for cherry juice over a whiskey nightcap; but if you'd rather go for the latter, at least make it an Old-Fashioned with a cherry garnish.