Tart Cherry Juice: Can It Really Help You Sleep Better?

  • Tart cherries contain more melatonin than other types of cherries, making them a powerful aid in sleep efficiency.
  • Increased sleep efficiency—no matter the reason behind it—can provide individuals with more energy during daylight hours.
  • If you want to add tart cherry juice to your daily routine, look for a product that doesn't include added sugar.
The Weird Health Reason You Should Be Drinking Tart Cherry Juice
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A quick TikTok scroll emphasizes the latest trend in sleep health: drinking tart cherry juice.

Video creators and wellness consumers across the app are raving about the juice’s sleep benefits. The hashtag #tartcherryjuice has more than 40 million views, with users claiming the drink can help both adults and children fall asleep faster and wake up rested.

Insomnia and restlessness are widespread issues, as many people find themselves lacking in sleep quantity, sleep quality, or both—so this hack could serve as excellent news for the health and wellness space. But is it true? Can drinking tart cherry juice before bed really make for a most restful night’s sleep—or will it just leave a sour taste in your mouth?

Tart Cherry Juice and Sleep Efficiency

All cherries contain melatonin, a chemical widely known to induce sleepiness and prevent insomnia. Tart cherries—sometimes known as Montmorency cherries or sour cherries—have notably higher levels of melatonin than other cherry varieties. Additionally, they support the maintenance of tryptophan.

“The [tart] cherries contain a chemical that inhibits the degradation of tryptophan, an amino acid that is associated with [aiding] sleep,” Frank Greenway, MD, chief medical officer at Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, told Health.

Melatonin and tryptophan work hand-in-hand to promote sleep health. Melatonin is synthesized from tryptophan, so it can be assumed that an increase in tryptophan indicates an increase in melatonin—and therefore, better sleep. A 2018 study went on to confirm this assumption, with researchers noting spikes in sleep efficiency after individuals participated in two consecutive weeks of tart cherry juice consumption.

Frank Greenway, MD

The [tart] cherries contain a chemical that inhibits the degradation of tryptophan, an amino acid that is associated with [aiding] sleep

— Frank Greenway, MD

While the juice does help significantly in both sleep length and quality, there is no conclusive evidence that one would feel more rested upon waking up thanks to the consumption of tart cherry juice. “It does not make a person feel sedated, it just lets a person sleep longer,” noted Dr. Greenway, who is also one of the authors of the aforementioned study.

That said, it’s no surprise individuals who are experiencing better sleep efficiency are also experiencing greater energy upon waking. That is the clear cause and effect—not tart cherry juice causing energy during the daylight hours.

Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice

While tart cherry juice has been seen to impact an individual’s sleep, there are other physical health benefits it provides as well:

  • May promote brain health
  • May improve the immune system
  • May reduce inflammation
  • May aid in exercise recovery and prevent or decrease soreness

Adding Tart Cherry Juice to Your Routine

If you’re looking to add tart cherry juice to your routine, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is that it’s best to consume 8–12 oz of tart cherry juice or 1–2 oz of juice concentrate at a time. One study had participants drink a glass of juice in the morning and then another in the evening, one to two hours before they went to bed.

Depending on the tart cherry juice options available in your area, you may need to note the sugar content. Many tart cherry juice products may be flavored to prevent excessive sourness from the cherries.

“For those concerned with sugar content, tart cherry juices may be sweetened with added sugars and offer less fiber,” Jessica Issacs, RD, a registered dietitian who specializes in performance nutrition for professional athletes.

If tart cherry juice isn’t available, sustainable, or preferred for your routine, capsules or gummies could be alternative options. Sleep studies involving tart cherries have been conducted with juice, but powdered capsule supplements show similar results in the exercise realm.

The rest you get is crucial in helping your body function to the best of its ability, and small routine adjustments—like drinking a helpful juice—are attainable steps individuals can take to strive toward better sleep.

If you have any questions or concerns about adding tart cherry juice to your diet, or about the method in which you plan to do so, speak to a healthcare provider or registered dietitian.

Dietary supplements are minimally regulated by the FDA and may or may not be suitable for you. The effects of supplements vary from person to person and depend on many variables, including type, dosage, frequency of use, and interactions with current medications. Please speak with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before starting any supplements.

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8 Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  7. Rickards L, Lynn A, Harrop D, Barker ME, Russell M, Ranchordas MK. Effect of polyphenol-rich foods, juices, and concentrates on recovery from exercise induced muscle damage: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrients. 2021;13(9):2988. doi:10.3390/nu13092988

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