Can tart cherry juice help you sleep?

In the never-ending pursuit of better sleep, many people have turned to unconventional methods such as mouth tape, which has been trending for months on social media, and even hotel rooms designed for an ideal sleeping experience.

Now, TikTok users have switched to the “sleeping girl mocktail” and they’re insisting it’s the magic potion for a good night’s rest.

Dubbed “sleeping girls’ mocktales” on the app, the trending bedtime drink has more than 124 million views.

The concoction, which consists of magnesium, prebiotic soda and, the key ingredient, tart cherry juice, first exploded when wellness influencer Gracie Norton said it gave her the best sleep of his life.

Tart cherry juice is often touted for its positive impact on sleep, but how true are these claims?

CNBC Make It sat down with Azizi Seixas, an expert in sleep science and circadian rhythms at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, to help decipher fact from fiction about the effectiveness of cherry juice. tangy as a soporific.

The truth is, “it’s very complex, but I’m going to make it pretty simple,” Seixas says. “There’s been some evidence that it does, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.”

Tart cherry juice has many health benefits, and sleep may be one of them. That’s because it contains tryptophan, an amino acid that can trigger the production of melatonin, which induces sleep, says Seixas.

Many of us who suffer from sleep deprivation don’t suffer from it because of underproduction of melatonin, it’s mainly because of all these different lifestyle obstacles like stress (and) poor feed.

Azizi Seixas

Expert in sleep and circadian sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

But that’s not the only reason tart cherry juice may have a positive effect on sleep, he says. Tart cherry juice may improve sleep in several indirect ways based on its other potential health benefits, such as:

  • Weightloss: People with “a more average body mass index generally don’t have sleep problems” in the same way as overweight people, says Seixas. Those with a higher than average BMI are more likely to develop breathing disorders that can lead to sleep apnea, he adds.
  • Stress recovery: Exercise can help induce sleep, he notes, and people probably sleep better when their muscles hurt less.
  • Stress reduction: “Several studies have shown that people who are emotionally distressed, or who are going through a very stressful day, or who have a very stressful event just before bedtime, may have difficulty falling asleep (and) staying asleep as well” , explains Seixas.
  • Hydration: Feeling hydrated is “key to ensuring a good night’s sleep,” he notes.

Tart Cherry Juice Will Only Improve Your Sleep If You’re Deficient In Natural Melatonin

If the question is “who should drink tart cherry juice to sleep,” Seixas says it should be people who aren’t able to produce enough melatonin, which doesn’t apply to most people with with sleep problems.

“A lot of us who suffer from sleep deprivation, don’t suffer from it because of the underproduction of melatonin, it’s mainly because of all these different lifestyle obstacles like stress (and) poor diet,” he says.

Generally, our bodies produce the necessary amount of melatonin, Seixas notes: “I don’t think we should be taking high levels of (melatonin). Usually (it) should be no more than three milligrams.”

Unless you’re one of the few people who can’t naturally produce enough melatonin, drinking tart cherry juice before bed probably won’t help you sleep better.

Lisaamc | Istock | Getty Images

Drinking tart cherry juice for sleep has downsides

Seixas says it’s important for people to keep in mind that tart cherry juice is high in sugar, which can have the opposite effect on sleep if you drink it too close to bedtime.

For people who are pre-diabetic or diabetic, “it can dramatically raise your glucose levels,” which can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep and have health consequences, he notes.

To avoid this, you should aim to drink tart cherry juice at least two hours before bed, says Seixas.

“Whatever spike in glucose you get, (the weather) would allow your body to produce the levels of insulin needed to bring the spike down, so your glucose levels normalize by the time you go to bed” , which takes about two hours, he adds. .

According to Seixas, tart cherry juices can also be very acidic, which can “impact your tooth enamel” and have adverse effects on people with acid reflux or at risk of developing it.

With all of this in mind, Seixas’ main concern is, “People aren’t addressing the causes of their insomnia (and) the sleep deprivation they’re experiencing. And they might try using this quick fix of tart cherry juice.”

“It might be helpful,” he says, “but it shouldn’t be seen as a primary long-term solution.”

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