Locations:
Search IconSearch
November 17, 2021/Living Healthy/Sleep

Can Cherries Help You Get a Better Night’s Sleep?

A good source of melatonin, tart cherries may help you catch some ZZZs

Someone holds a cluster of cherries in the palms of their hands.

The cherry on top of eating cherries? The fruit may help with your sleep. With high amounts of melatonin, studies have shown that it can help with increased sleep time and overall sleep efficiency.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

You’ll also find vitamin A, vitamin C and magnesium in cherries, making it a good option to incorporate into your diet.

But before you down a bowl of cherries, registered dietitian Beth Czerwony, RD, explains how to consume them and the other benefits of the superfood.

How cherries help with sleep

If you’re experiencing insomnia lately, it turns out you’re not alone. Insomnia affects millions of people.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that 33% of adults experience brief periods of insomnia and that 10% of adults have chronic insomnia (three times a week for over three months) that affects their ability to function during the daytime.

Tart cherries can aid sleep by increasing the amount of melatonin, a sleep hormone. Melatonin, which is produced naturally in your body by your brain’s pineal gland and can be taken as a supplement, partially controls your body’s sleep-wake cycle.

Tart cherries have a small amount of both melatonin and tryptophan, an amino acid used in production of serotonin and melatonin.

“Because tart cherries have different enzymes in them, they actually keep the tryptophan in the body longer,” says Czerwony. “So it not only does it get you to sleep sooner, but it keeps you asleep for longer.”

But not all cherries are created equal. Research shows Montmorency cherries, known for their tart and sour taste, contain high amounts of natural melatonin. Montmorency cherries fall into the tart cherry category and are different from popular cherry varieties such as Rainer and Bing cherries.

Other health benefits of cherries

Cherries are full of antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C and are a great source of fiber. Beyond helping you catch your ZZZs, they may offer other health benefits like:

To help with sleep, Czerwony suggests eating cherries about an hour before bed. You can either drink tart cherry juice, which can be found at most grocers, or eat the fruit whole, which may be harder to find fresh but is often frozen or dried.

“If you’re using juice, make sure it’s unsweetened juice without added sugar,” says Czerwony.

People who take blood thinners or other medications should talk to their doctor before adding tart cherries to their diet.

When it comes to how much to drink or eat, Czerwony suggests starting off with about a serving — 4 ounces of juice or ½ cup of fruit. The amount of cherries needed to help with sleep hasn’t been studied and it can affect everyone differently.

“You need to experiment with it yourself,” says Czerwony. “Try a small amount for a few nights and see how you respond and then you can increase a little each night.”

Advertisement

Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Happy couple sleeping in bed together, holding hands
June 3, 2024/Sleep
The Scandinavian Sleep Method: A Surprisingly Simple Fix for Couples Struggling With Blanket-Hogging

Sleeping with separate blankets can help you get the ZZZs you need — without fighting for covers all night

Person sitting on bed in pjs with head in hand, eyes closed
May 29, 2024/Sleep
Here’s What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Stress, weight gain and forgetfulness are just a few effects of losing sleep

Person in bed experiencing nightmares
May 22, 2024/Sleep
7 Reasons You’re Having Nightmares

Stress, alcohol, sleep apnea and (you guessed it!) scary movies are a few common causes of bad dreams

Person sitting in chair writing in tablet
May 21, 2024/Sleep
Should You Be Keeping a Dream Journal?

Recording your dreams may help you become more mindful, understand your thought patterns, process your emotions and even reduce your stress

Person sitting in bed in the evening, reading a book, with cup of tea on bedside table
May 15, 2024/Sleep
Restless? Try These Bedtime Teas for Better Sleep

Chamomile, lavender and valerian root teas may offer a faster route to dreamland

Bowl of partially peeled tamarind
May 8, 2024/Nutrition
5 Reasons To Try Tamarind

With a sweet, tangy flavor, this tropical fruit is super versatile and high in antioxidants

Person halving apricots and removing pits on cutting board
May 6, 2024/Nutrition
8 Health Benefits of Apricots

Full of antioxidants and nutrients, apricots may boost your eye, skin, digestive and overall health

Person asleep in bed, talking in their sleep
May 3, 2024/Sleep
Why Do People Talk in Their Sleep?

Many factors can contribute to sleep talking, like stress or anxiety, lack of or low-quality sleep, or even more serious sleep-related conditions

Trending Topics

Female and friend jogging outside
How To Increase Your Metabolism for Weight Loss

Focus on your body’s metabolic set point by eating healthy foods, making exercise a part of your routine and reducing stress

stovetop with stainless steel cookware and glassware
5 Ways Forever Chemicals (PFAS) May Affect Your Health

PFAS chemicals may make life easier — but they aren’t always so easy on the human body

jar of rice water and brush, with rice scattered around table
Could Rice Water Be the Secret To Healthier Hair?

While there’s little risk in trying this hair care treatment, there isn’t much science to back up the claims

Ad