Sleeping well is an important component of living a healthy life. Getting too little or too much sleep can increase your risk of depression, heart disease, diabetes, and possibly death. Experts at the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommend that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 get between seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
Unfortunately, getting the recommended amount of sleep each night doesn’t always come easy. If you are looking for some help on the occasional sleepless night, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are three things you can drink before bed to help improve your sleep naturally.
Cherries have several health benefits, one of them being improved sleep quality. (1) It is believed that the tryptophan content in cherries help us to fall asleep (2). Tryptophan is an amino acid that enters your body solely through the foods you eat. Your body takes this amino acid and turns it into melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate your sleep/wake cycle.
Both the sweet and tart varieties contain melatonin, but tart has the most. A study performed by the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology of the University of Texas Health Science Center found that Montmorency tart cherries have nearly six times more melatonin than Balaton sweet cherries. (3)
In 2012, a study found that drinking tart cherry juice concentrate increased melatonin levels significantly compared to the placebo drink. (4) Similarly, a 2018 study found that participants who consumed a cherry-based product two times a day improved their rest at night and woke up less frequently during the night, and they found that levels of melatonin in the urine were higher in the morning. (5) A third study found that drinking two cups of cherry juice a day for two weeks increased sleep time up to 84 minutes and treated symptoms of insomnia in adults aged 50 years and older. (6)
If you wish to try cherry juice to help you sleep, try to keep the amounts you consume like what was used in the studies above. Drinking two cups of cherry juice each day is not connected to any adverse side effects.
Tea made from the chamomile plant has been used for centuries for its multitude of health benefits. The tea is known to help with treating cold symptoms, improving skin health, and reducing inflammation. (7)
Research suggests that chamomile can improve sleep quality. A 2017 study performed on adults over the age of 60, found that by taking 400mg of chamomile extract for 28 days consecutively their sleep quality was greatly improved. (8) Further proving the benefits of chamomile on sleep quality was a study performed in 2016. The study observed 80 women who reportedly experienced diminished sleep quality. These women noted that the physical symptoms of inefficient sleep were improved significantly after drinking chamomile tea every day for two weeks. (9)
Drinking chamomile tea daily is safe. Using chamomile as a tea or in other supplements has not been connected to any adverse effects. (10)
Milk, like cherries, contains tryptophan, which as you now know turns to melatonin and promotes sleep. There have been studies that show warm milk may improve sleep quality and reduce how much you move at night. (11, 12) So, it’s possible that our Grandparents had it right and warm milk is more than just a soothing bedtime ritual.
All you need to do is select your favorite milk and bring it to a simmer, then drink! Unless you have a milk allergy, this bedtime drink is worth a shot on the occasional sleepless night.
If you experience the occasional sleepless night, one of the above drinks may be just what you need to get the quality sleep you need. If you continue to struggle with sleep, you may want to consider a sleep study to get to the bottom of what is causing your difficulties. We can help. Contact us at Family Sleep Diagnostics or give us a call at (972) 714-0011.
- Kelley DS (2018), A Review of the Health Benefits of Cherries, National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Garrido M (2012), A jerte valley cherry-based product as a supply of tryptophan, National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Burkhardt S. (2001), Detection and quantification of the antioxidant melatonin in Montmorency and Balaton tart cherries (Prunus cerasus), National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Howatson G (2012), Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality, National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Jack N. Losso, PhD (2018), Pilot Study of Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms, National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Wilfred R. Pigeon (2010), Effects of a Tart Cherry Juice Beverage on the Sleep of Older Adults with Insomnia: A Pilot Study, National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Janmejai K Srivastava (2010), Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future, National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Adib-Hajbaghery M (2017), The effects of chamomile extract on sleep quality among elderly people: A clinical trial, National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Chang SM (2016), Effects of an intervention with drinking chamomile tea on sleep quality and depression in sleep disturbed postnatal women: a randomized controlled trial, National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Michael Yurcheshen (2015), Updates on Nutraceutical Sleep Therapeutics and Investigational Research, National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Valtonen M (2005), Effect of melatonin-rich night-time milk on sleep and activity in elderly institutionalized subjects, National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Kitano N (2014),Association between difficulty initiating sleep in older adults and the combination of leisure-time physical activity and consumption of milk and milk products: a cross-sectional study, National Center for Biotechnology Information