Don't Lose Sleep over Daylight Saving Time: Sleep experts recommend tart cherry juice to get a better night's sleep naturally
As clocks spring forward this weekend for Daylight Saving Time, Americans will lose one hour of sleep, which will likely have an effect for up to a week, experts say. An estimated 50-70 million adults in the U.S. already suffer sleep disturbances,1 and the additional hour lost further disrupts the body's internal clock and can reduce sleep efficiency, or quality of sleep.
Americans' ongoing sleep problems have caused an uptick in the use of sleep aids, now an $84 million market. Rather than looking for solutions in the medicine cabinet, sleep experts suggest starting with your fridge.
"Take a look at your diet," said nationally recognized sleep expert Dr. Carol Ash, Director of Sleep Medicine for Meridian Health inNew Jersey. "Cut down on caffeine and alcohol, particularly in the evening, and instead of reaching for an extra cup of coffee in the morning, try drinking a glass of tart cherry juice at night."
Tart cherries are one of the few natural sources of melatonin, a compound with sleep-regulating properties. A growing body of evidence suggests tart cherry juice can help reduce the severity of insomnia and improve sleep efficiency, which is measured as a ratio of the total time in bed vs. actual sleep time.
"One of my goals as a sleep specialist is to help people become more efficient sleepers," said Dr. Ash. "The issue is not just getting the proper duration of sleep – it's about staying asleep once you've gone to bed, instead of waking up or tossing and turning throughout the night."
Tart cherries are quickly gaining recognition as a natural sleep aid alternative. Studies have shown that tart cherry juice made from cherries, the most popular U.S. varietal, may help improve both the quantity and quality of sleep. According to research, tart cherry juice may:
Help improve sleep efficiency. U.K. researchers found that young healthy adults who drank two glasses of tart cherry juice each day for a week slept about 40 minutes longer on average and had up to a 6 percent increase in sleep efficiency.2
Reduce the severity of insomnia and sleep disturbances. A study conducted at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that drinking two 8-ounce servings of tart cherry juice daily for two weeks helped reduce the severity of insomnia and time spent awake after going to sleep among older adults with insomnia.3
Increase sleep time. Researchers at Louisiana State University found that drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks helped increase sleep time by nearly 90 minutes among older adults with insomnia.4
Researchers attribute the sleep benefits to the melatonin and phytonutrient content of tart cherries, including the natural compounds anthocyanins. Each serving of tart cherry juice used in the studies is estimated to contain the equivalent of 90 to 100 Montmorency tart cherries.
Tart cherries are available year-round in dried, frozen and juice forms (including juice concentrate), and are readily accessible on the shelves at a variety of retailers across the country and online. For more ways to Go Red before Bed, and to learn more about the many health benefits of tart cherries, visit www.choosecherries.com.