Does Tart Cherry Juice Help You Sleep?

Medically reviewed by
 Brittany Ford, RHN

Brittany Ford, RHN

Brittany Ford is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist with multiple years of expertise. Since becoming registered in 2019, Brittany has committed herself to helping individuals achieve optimal well-being through a holistic…

By Geoff McKinnen Certified Sleep Coach

Last Updated On April 1st, 2024
Does Tart Cherry Juice Help You Sleep?

Key Takeaways

  • Tart Cherry Juice and Sleep Improvement: Tart cherry juice, derived from Montmorency cherries, is rich in natural bioactive substances, including melatonin and tryptophan. These compounds play a significant role in promoting better sleep by regulating the body’s sleep-wake cycle and inducing feelings of calmness.
  • Scientific Backing for Sleep Benefits: Numerous research studies have demonstrated the potential of tart cherry juice as a sleep aid. Some studies have shown that adults who consumed tart cherry juice concentrate experienced increased sleep time and efficiency. Individuals with insomnia also reported modest improvements in sleep quality and duration after incorporating tart cherry juice into their routine.
  • Adding Tart Cherry Juice to Bedtime Routine: You can drink the juice on its own, blend it into smoothies, mix it with herbal teas, drizzle it over yogurt, or take it as a supplement. Consistency is key, and consuming the juice about an hour to two hours before bedtime is recommended to allow the melatonin to take effect. However, individuals should exercise caution, especially if they have allergies to certain fruits or are on specific medications.

Tart cherry juice is made from sour or Montmorency cherries, which contain natural bioactive substances. Though the nutrient-rich profile of tart cherries provides a variety of health benefits, it has been gaining popularity as a sleep aid.

Research suggests that tart cherry juice may help people with improved sleep. Learn more about the science behind tart cherry juice and its role in promoting better sleep.

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What is Tart Cherry Juice?

Tart cherry juice is a nutrient-rich beverage derived from tart cherries, which are also known as sour cherries.

These small, brightly-colored fruits originated from Central and Eastern Europe but have since made their way into the hearts and kitchens of people worldwide, not just for their tangy-sweet flavor but also for their impressive nutritional composition.

Loaded with vital elements Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source like vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, and potassium, tart cherries also boast a significant amount of anthocyanins, a class of antioxidants known for their anti-inflammatory properties.

The journey from tart cherry fruit to juice involves a process of harvesting, washing, and pressing the cherries to extract their juice, which is then pasteurized to ensure its freshness and longevity.

But what truly sets tart cherry juice apart from other fruit beverages and sweet cherries Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source are the key components it harbors. It contains Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone, and tryptophan, an essential amino acid that transforms into serotonin and subsequently into melatonin, promoting a night of restful sleep.

How Tart Cherry Juice Can Help You Sleep?

Montmorency tart cherry juice has been gaining recognition as a potential sleep aid, and this is largely due to the unique blend of compounds it contains. The science behind it revolves around our body’s internal clock or circadian rhythm. This rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates our sleep-wake cycle, repeating roughly every 24 hours.

While it’s influenced by external elements like light and temperature, certain hormones and compounds in our body can also play a significant role. Among these compounds are melatonin and tryptophan, both of which are found in tart cherries.

Melatonin is a hormone tied to our sleep-wake cycle, often referred to as the “sleep hormone”. As evening falls, our body’s melatonin levels increase, signaling that it’s time to go to sleep. Interestingly, tart cherries are one of the few natural food sources of melatonin, and tart cherry juice consumption can increase melatonin levels in your body, potentially helping to improve sleep quality.

Then we have tryptophan, an essential amino acid, which helps the body produce me. Once it enters the body, tryptophan can be converted into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that’s key to mood regulation and promoting a sense of calm. Serotonin can then be converted into melatonin, further supporting the sleep-promoting effects of tart cherry juice.

A number of research studies back these claims. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source adults who drank tart cherry juice concentrate experienced significant increases in their sleep time and efficiency.

Another study in Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source the American Journal of Therapeutics showed that individuals suffering from insomnia experienced modest improvements in their sleep quality and duration after consuming tart cherry juice.

How Much Tart Cherry Juice Should I Drink?

When it comes to drinking tart cherry juice for sleep, quality matters as much as quantity. Choosing a juice without added sugar is the way to go. Why? Well, too much sugar in your diet can cause a host of problems, including how sugar affects your sleep.

But what if you find the tartness too puckering for your palate? No worries! You can still reap the benefits by taking tart cherry extract in pill form.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements, safety isn’t a concern if you stick to up to 16 ounces of tart cherry juice daily. Alternatively, you could opt for 480 milligrams of tart cherry extract capsules. You can maintain this regimen for up to two weeks.

Additional Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice

Beyond sleep, tart cherry juice has plenty more to offer. It’s a nutritional all-star with a wide range of health benefits.

  • Got muscle pain after a workout? Tart cherry juice might help. It’s known to reduce muscle soreness reduce muscle soreness Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source and speed up recovery. So, think of it as your gym buddy.
  • Struggling with arthritis? The juice’s anti-inflammatory properties can help ease Verified Source ScienceDirect One of the largest hubs for research studies and has published over 12 million different trusted resources. View source your joint pain. It’s like a natural painkiller with a sweet twist.
  • Concerned about heart health? Tart cherry juice is on your side. Studies suggest it can help lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol. It’s like having a tiny cardiologist in your glass.
  • Want a youthful glow? The antioxidants in tart cherry juice fight off Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source aging signs. Drink up for a radiant skin boost.
  • Looking to boost your immunity? Tart cherry juice is packed with vitamin C, which can help strengthen Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source your immune system. It’s like your personal health shield.
  • Want to control your weight? The juice can help increase your metabolism, making weight management easier. Consider it your secret weight-loss weapon.
  • Eager to make sure your heart stays in good health? Tart cherry juice is rich in Verified Source ScienceDirect Offers well-researched articles on all areas of health, and every post is peer-reviewed by a team of medical experts. View source polyphenolic compounds, such as proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, and flavonols, which act as potent antioxidants. These compounds play a crucial role Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source in inhibiting the progression of cardiovascular diseases and protecting against oxidative stress, which is associated with the development of atherosclerosis.

Besides these benefits, tart cherry juice also works as an anti-carcinogen to help prevent cancer.

When Is the Best Time to Take Tart Cherry Juice?

Timing is everything when it comes to reaping the sleep benefits of tart cherry juice. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to consume the juice close to bedtime to help regulate your sleep-wake cycle. But how close exactly?

No need to worry about pulling a glass out of a mini fridge in the bedroom before you slide under the covers. Many sleep experts recommend consuming tart cherry juice twice a day – once in the morning and again in the evening.

In the evening, aim to drink tart cherry juice about an hour to two hours before bedtime. This allows ample time for the melatonin found in the juice to kick in and begin to induce that sleepy feeling.

If you’re taking tart cherry extract capsules, follow the instructions provided on the packaging, but generally, they can also be taken an hour or two before you plan to sleep.

Be cautious about consuming too much liquid before bed, whether it’s water or tart cherry juice. Ideally you finish your glass of juice about 60-90 minutes before bedtime, to avoid waking up frequently to use the bathroom throughout the night.

How to Add Tart Cherry Juice to Your Nightly Routine?

Adding tart cherry juice blend into your nightly routine is easier than you might think. Here are a few simple ways to make this tangy beverage a regular part of your path to better sleep, along with reaping cherries’ other health benefits. Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source

  • Sip it Solo: The simplest way is to drink tart cherry juice on its own. About an hour before your planned bedtime, pour yourself a glass. Savour the tartness as your nightcap, signaling your body it’s time to wind down.
  • Blend it into a Smoothie: If the tart flavor is too intense for you, blend tart cherry juice with your favorite fruits like bananas or berries, some Greek yogurt, and a handful of spinach for a nutrient-packed bedtime smoothie.
  • Make a Herbal Tea Mix: Warm liquids can be soothing before bed. Try adding a splash of tart cherry juice to a cup of chamomile or lavender tea for a sleep-promoting concoction.
  • Drizzle Over Yogurt: If you prefer a light snack before hitting the hay, pour some tart cherry juice over a bowl of plain, low-fat yogurt. You can add a sprinkle of granola for extra crunch.
  • Take a Supplement: If you’re not a fan of the juice, tart cherry extract capsules are a convenient alternative. Simply take the recommended dosage with a glass of water before bed.

When adding a new element to your routine, consistency is key. Stick with tart cherry juice/extract capsule for a few weeks, and you might find yourself waking up refreshed and ready to take a leap.

What Else Can I Drink for Sleep?

There are several other beverages that may promote better sleep besides tart cherry juice. If the drink isn’t right for you, consider trying one of the following.

Herbal Tea

Certain herbal teas have calming and soothing properties that can aid in sleep. Chamomile tea, valerian root tea, passionflower tea, and lavender tea are known for their potential sleep-enhancing effects. Drink caffeine-free instead of decaffeinated teas, as the process of removing caffeine is not absolute and will leave a few trace amounts. We recommend having your tea for sleep at a lukewarm temperature, neither too hot nor too cold.

Warm Milk

A classic remedy, warm milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that can help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. To spice it up, literally, try golden milk. Golden milk is made with turmeric and warm milk, often combined with other spices like black pepper and cinnamon. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce sleep disturbances.

Warm Water with Lemon

Simple warm water with a wedge of lemon can be a soothing and calming drink before bedtime.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does tart cherry juice contribute to better sleep?

Tart cherry juice is a potent beverage that contains melatonin and tryptophan. These compounds aid sleep by regulating our sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin, also found in sweet cherries, is part of the body’s processes in preparing for bedtime. Meanwhile, tryptophan aids the body produce melatonin, thereby enhancing sleep efficiency.

How much tart cherry juice should I consume daily for sleep benefits?

The suggested daily intake of tart cherry juice for sleep benefits is up to 16 ounces. This tart cherry juice beverage, while promoting better sleep, also helps manage uric acid levels in the body, often beneficial for individuals suffering from certain health conditions. However, you don’t want to have too much cherry juice right before bed, as this can wake you up in the night with the urge to use the restroom.

How can I add tart cherry juice to my nightly routine?

Incorporating tart cherry juice into your nightly routine can be simple. You can enjoy it solo, blend into a smoothie, add to herbal tea, or drizzle over yogurt. Regular intake of this juice can help combat sleep disorders, though make sure you speak with your doctor about your treatment plan first. Be aware also that tart cherry juice contains sugar. So consume in moderation to avoid upsetting blood sugar levels.

There are many cherry juices out there that are loaded with excess sugar and carbohydrates. These ones will spike your blood sugar and inevitably lead to a sugar crash shortly after. To avoid this negative impact on your blood glucose levels, look for 100% pure tart cherry juice, with no other ingredients added. Aiming to drink organic juice is also a great idea if you can find it.

If you’re pre-diabetic, diabetic or concerned about your sugar consumption in general, opt for cherry supplements instead of drinking the juice every night.

Is tart cherry juice better than a melatonin supplement for sleep?

Both tart cherry juice and melatonin supplements have been associated with improved sleep quality, but they work differently. Tart cherry juice contains natural melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. It may help some individuals with mild sleep issues, especially when consumed regularly. On the other hand, melatonin supplements provide a synthetic form of the hormone and are often used for more severe sleep disturbances.

A supplement can also deliver more melatonin than what tart cherries naturally have. The effectiveness of tart cherry juice or melatonin supplements can vary from person to person, and neither is the right solution for everyone. It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional to determine the best option based on individual sleep needs and health conditions, along with getting advice on how to avoid things like melatonin overdose.

Who should not drink tart cherry juice for better sleep?

While tart cherry juice is generally considered safe, certain individuals should exercise caution or avoid it. People with known allergies to cherries or other fruits in the Rosaceae family should not consume tart cherry juice. This includes apples, pears, peaches, apricots, plums, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, quinces, and even almonds as the seeds of a tree that is part of the Rosaceae family.

Additionally, individuals with diabetes or those on a low-carbohydrate diet should be mindful of the juice’s natural sugar content.  Moreover, some medications could interact with cherries. Always consult a healthcare provider before incorporating tart cherry juice into your sleep routine, especially if you are pregnant or nursing.


Tart cherry juice is gaining recognition as a natural sleep aid due to its unique blend of sleep-regulating compounds: melatonin, and tryptophan. Melatonin helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle, and tart cherries are one of the few sources of this hormone in nature, potentially improving sleep quality. Tryptophan, found in tart cherries, converts into serotonin, promoting calmness and supporting the sleep-promoting effects of the juice.

Beyond improving sleep, tart cherry juice offers other health advantages, such as reducing muscle soreness, alleviating joint pain, improving heart health, promoting radiant skin, boosting immunity, aiding in weight management, and acting as an anti-carcinogen.

Incorporating tart cherry juice into the nightly routine is simple. It can be consumed on its own as a nightcap during an at-home spa night, blended into other dishes and drinks, or taken as a supplement. Consistency is essential to experience the full benefits of tart cherry juice, making it a delicious and nutritious addition to a holistic approach to overall well-being.

About the author

Geoff McKinnen is a writer focusing mainly on the healthcare industry and has written articles on everything from foods to help you lose weight to the connection between Alzheimer’s and sleep. Geoff’s passionate about helping readers improve their well-being to lead happier lives. Outside of work, Geoff enjoys cycling and hiking and believes that by leading a healthy lifestyle, he can help others do the same.

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