If you have issues sleeping at night, you aren’t alone. Sleep problems are at all-time highs in today’s society. Your sleeping position, stress and even more serious problems, such as underlying sleep disorders can all interrupt your sleep. Sleep apnea and insomnia are common sleep disorders that are known to negatively impact how well and how much we sleep at night.
In some cases, bad sleep can be easily remedied. A simple changing of your sleeping position can allow you to sleep better. Stress relief methods may also help. One of the most recent remedies for sleep problems involves drinking tart cherry juice. Researchers have found that tart cherry juice may have the power to cure insomnia in some people. Their research showed that ingesting tart cherry juice increases the amount of melatonin in the body, while improving overall sleep efficiency.
What Does the Science Say?
Although people who sell tart cherry juice as a sleep aid are quick to tout its benefits, the science is more measured in its praise. The science doesn’t completely debunk the idea, but the benefits seem to be very limited. First, in a 2010 study, researchers compared cherry juice to a placebo in a two-week crossover trial. They found that cherry juice was better than nothing for many aspects of sleep. It showed significant improvements for how quickly people fell asleep, how well they stayed asleep, their total sleep time, and sleep efficiency. However, researchers noted that the “Effect sizes were moderate and in some cases negligible.” And in comparison to placebo, cherry juice only improved the speed of falling asleep.
A 2012 study showed more promise. In this study, cherry juice improved patients’ melatonin levels. It also improved several sleep characteristics, including time in bed, total sleep time, and sleep efficiency. All benefits were statistically significant over placebo.
A 2013 study expanded on these results. Using a Jerte valley cherry product, researchers improved several aspects of sleep, including speed of falling asleep, number of wakenings, true sleep time, and nighttime activity. However, this study didn’t use a placebo for control.
The most recent study, from 2018, again shows more potential. But the study is small, smaller than any previous study, focused on just 11 initial subjects with insomnia. However, the study eliminated three subjects with sleep apnea, giving us data from just eight patients. However, these patients did see some significant benefits. They saw improved sleep time by an average of 84 minutes. In addition, they showed improved sleep efficiency.
All of these studies show promise, but none of them give conclusive proof that cherry juice actually helps people sleep.
Treatment Not Meant for All Patients
With no solid evidence to support it, tart cherry juice isn’t recommended for general sleep problems. The most recent study of tart cherry juice rejected patients with sleep apnea–this sleep condition is too serious to delay treatment while trying a dubious remedy. We recommend that, instead of trying tart cherry juice, people should talk to their doctor and get a sleep test to detect serious sleep problems. Once serious sleep problems have been eliminated, you can try a home remedy like tart cherry juice.
If at-home and alternative remedies do not fix your sleep problems, now is the time to learn more about sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. For more information contact Dr. Roubal’s office at (402) 493-4175 today.