How much tart cherry juice should you drink for sleep? When I first read about the benefits of cherries and tart cherry juice for sleep, that’s the first question that popped to my mind. Everybody writes that you should eat cherries before going to bed, but nobody answers how much tart cherry juice you should drink.
In this article, we’re going to answer this question. My approach is the following: By looking at the sleep-inducing substances contained in tart cherries and finding out how much of them you need to eat before going to bed, we can estimate how much juice we should drink before bed. Also, we will take a look at cherry juice sleep studies and find out how much cherry juice they used.
Quick answer: You should drink 150 ml (5 ounces) of cherry juice 1 hour before you go to bed.
But how did we get to this answer? Here’s how.
How do tart cherries make you sleepy?
We first found out about cherries when researching for our article 47 Natural Sleep Remedies You Need To Know.
It turned out that cherries, especially tart cherries, are a great natural sleep remedy. A study about the effects of tart cherry juice found that drinking cherry juice increases melatonin levels significantly. If you don’t know yet: Melatonin is the hormone that makes you sleepy. It is one of the main players when it comes to falling asleep.
On top of that eating cherries before bed increases the total sleep time and sleep quality.
But how exactly does it work?
Which substances cause you to be sleepy?
Back in 2001, researchers didn’t know much about melatonin in foods. They were surprised when they found that Montmorency tart cherries contain about 13.5 ng (nanograms) of melatonin per gram of cherry. That’s about 6 times more than Balaton cherries which have about 2.1 nanograms of melatonin per gram cherry.
Still, these melatonin levels are pretty low. You would need to eat 20kg of cherries to reach recommended melatonin dosages.
But somehow, many studies find a strong connection between sleep and cherry juice. Melatonin just can’t be the only reason. Some researchers think that other anti-inflammatory substances contained in tart cherries “leverage” the effect of melatonin.
It is possible that there are other substances in tart cherries that cause your brain to produce melatonin.
How much melatonin do you need to fall asleep?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a dose of 0.2 milligrams and 5 milligrams 60 minutes before going to bed is recommended.
If you didn’t take any melatonin up until now, you can start with 0.2 mg and slowly increase in 0.1-0.2 mg steps every day until you feel the dose helps you. Don’t start too high! Too much melatonin can have the opposite effect and disrupts your sleep.
Again, to help you sleep, you need to take about 0.2 to 5 mg of melatonin.
You can’t get these doses of melatonin from tart cherries! With just 13 nanograms of melatonin per gram of cherry, you would need to eat 20kg of tart cherries to consume any relevant melatonin levels.
It can’t be the melatonin contained in tart cherries that makes you sleepy. It looks like tart cherry juice is a sleep-inducing mix of many nutrients like minerals, vitamins, and fibers that leverage each other’s effects and have significant synergetic effects.
Research doesn’t really have a clue of what exactly causes tart cherry juice to work. So, we’re going to answer how much tart cherry juice you need to drink before bed another way. We replicate the studies.
How much tart cherry juice should you drink for sleep?
At first, we tried to find out the levels of melatonin contained in tart cherries. And when we compared the results to the recommended melatonin dosages, we were surprised. Tart cherry juice does not contain lots of melatonin at all.
Still, there are dozens of studies that show the sleep-inducing effects of tart cherry juice. To find out how much tart cherry juice you should drink for sleep, let’s take a look at how much juice they used in the studies.
- Study “Tart cherry juice increases sleep time in older adults with insomnia”: 16 ounces (480 ml) or two glasses a day
- Study “Effect of Diet on Sleep Quality”: 200 grams of cherries
These are the studies with the clearest answers.
In the first one, the participants drank 480 ml (two glasses) of tart cherry juice every day for two weeks. As a result, their sleep time increased by nearly 90 minutes. In the experiment, they drank one glass in the morning and one glass in the evening. Many researchers believe only the evening glass is relevant for sleep.
The second study I listed looked at what happened when you eat tart cherries. The participants ate 200 grams of tart cherries every day. The results were similar: Significant decreases in nighttime awakenings and increased melatonin levels.
Both studies get similar results, even though the amounts of cherries the participants consume in a day are very different. So, let’s just assume we are fine with consuming 200 grams of cherries a day. But how much juice is that?
During my research, I found that you can get 1.5 cups of cherry juice from one pound of cherries. That means that 200 grams of cherries correspond to about 150 ml (or 5 ounces) of cherry juice.
So, here’s the answer: You should drink 150ml (5 ounces) of cherry juice 1 hour before going to bed.
How much tart cherry juice should children drink before sleep?
In general, children should drink lower amounts of tart cherry juice before going to bed. The reason is that they need less sleep-inducing nutrients and their overdose levels are much lower than for adults. And also, children just don’t need as much as adults do. The exact amount depends on age and gender. Here’s what we recommend.
|6-8 years||60 ml (2 ounces)|
|9-10 years||90 ml (3 ounces)|
|11-13 years||120 ml (4 ounces)|
Drinking 150 ml (5 ounces) should be fine for everyone over the age of 14.
What if you don’t notice any difference?
For most natural sleep remedies, the sleep improving effects of cherry juice start to be noticeable only after a few days of consumption.
First, you need to give it some time. Let’s assume you drink 150 milliliters of juice for the first time today. If you don’t feel like your sleep got any better, don’t just increase the amount of cherry juice. Your body needs some time for the sleep-inducing effects to work. I would say, give it one week.
When you don’t feel a noticeable difference after one week, you can increase the amount of cherry juice to 200 ml.
Keep your expectations low.
If you are excited to try tart cherry juice, you are likely to not sleep better. While the juice itself works in your favor, your excitement works against you and prevents you from falling asleep. Never go to bed with any expectations.
That’s the reason certain bedtime rituals only start working after one or two weeks of constant practice. The first time you do your bedtime ritual, your excitement literally disturbs all the positive effects.
Give it some time and be patient.
How much tart cherry juice do I need before bed? – The Outline
Tart cherry juice is a healthy and scientifically backed-up way to improve your sleep quality and sleep duration without relying on any medication. It’s one of the few natural sleep remedies that are well researched.
If you make it an evening ritual to drink tart cherry juice, you will experience a tremendous change in how well you sleep after about 1 or 2 weeks.
I recommend making it a habit to drink 150 milliliters (5 ounces) of tart cherry juice about 1 hour before you go to bed. Then, the juice will have enough time to be absorbed and the nutrients and melatonin will slowly make you tired.
Other natural sleep remedies
Please note that tart cherry juice (as all other juices) is not that good if you have diabetes or you are trying to cut weight. It’s packed with natural fruit sugars which will, in turn, have an effect on your blood sugar and insulin levels. Hence, if you try to lose weight, I recommend taking a look at other natural sleep aids that I’ve listed here: 47 Natural Sleep Remedies You Need To Know.
In this list, you’ll find lots of sleep herbs and teas that don’t have any calories.
Also, please note that sleep-inducing food is not the only way to improve your sleep. I’ve found it extremely helpful (if not even life-changing) to use earplugs at night to block out any kind of noise. Here’s a compilation of our Favorite Sleep Products. Take a look!
Anyways, I hope you could learn something helpful today. You’ve learned about how much tart cherry juice you should drink before going to bed. And you know when to drink it and how much of it your kids can drink. Also, you’ve learned a lot about how tart cherry juice works (and everything backed up by studies).
I had a lot of fun and insight writing this tart cherry article for you!