Does Tart cherry juice help with sleep?

About 14% of young adults reported sleep difficulties (1)

There are many non medication strategies that can help improve sleep, and these have been discussed previously (2).

One study looked at tart cherry juice and its impact on sleep.

Why tart cherry juice?

Previous studies reported the positive effects of consumption of tart cherry juice on recovery in cyclists, soccer players, and marathoners (3,4,5). In addition, a study on healthy people reported that consumption of tart cherry juice can quickly promote sleep, cognition, and a decrease in the level of oxidative stress and training-related muscle damage (6,7).

Interestingly, tart cherry contains high concentrations of melatonin (8).  Melatonin is both a supplement and a substance created in the human body that helps to induce sleep (9,10).

Tart cherry juice has been shown to increase in the efficiency of objective sleep (11).

What was the study? (12)

22 participants were randomized to receive either 30 mls tart cherry juice or placebo given 5 times over 48 hours (12).

What was measured? (12)

Melatonin, stress hormone cortisol, and the quality of sleep after intermittent exhaustion exercise in female elite field hockey players (12).

What were the results? (12)

Tart cherry juice was found to improve sleep quality, but not affect changes in the levels of melatonin or the stress hormone, cortisol (12).

What are some caveats?

  • In my experience, some people may experience morning tiredness or vivid dreams.
  • This is a small study and further study is needed to verify the results.
  • Long term side effects are not known.
  • The benefit size may not be enough for everyone.
  • There are many factors impacting sleep and the combination of factors impacting any 1 person may not be the same as others, so the combination of strategies that work to help improve sleep may vary from person to person.

What are some helpful strategies for sleep?

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests the following ways to improve sleep (13):

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
  • Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
  • Other strategies:

What are some helpful resources for sleep?

By Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA

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Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.


  1. Adjaye-Gbewonyo D, Ng AE, Black LI. Sleep difficulties in adults: United States, 2020. NCHS Data Brief, no 436. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2022. DOI:
  2. Patel R. Mental Health For College Students
  3. Howatson G., McHugh M.P., Hill J.A., Brouner J., Jewell A.P., Van Someren K.A., Shave R.E., Howatson S.A. Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running.  J. Med. Sci. Sports. 2010;20:843–852. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.01005.x.
  4. Dimitriou L., Hill J.A., Jehnali A., Dunbar J., Brouner J., McHugh M.P., Howatson G. Influence of a montmorency cherry juice blend on indices of exercise-induced stress and upper respiratory tract symptoms following marathon running—A pilot investigation.  Int. Soc. Sports Nutr. 2015;12:22. doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0085-8.
  5. Bell P.G., Stevenson E., Davison G.W., Howatson G. The effects of montmorency tart cherry concentrate supplementation on recovery following prolonged, intermittent exercise. 2016;8:441. doi: 10.3390/nu8070441.
  6. Jacob R.A., Spinozzi G.M., Simon V.A., Kelley D.S., Prior R.L., Hess-Pierce B., Kader A.A. Consumption of cherries lowers plasma urate in healthy women. J. Nutr. 2003;133:1826–1829. doi: 10.1093/jn/133.6.1826.
  7. Lynn A., Mathew S., Moore C.T., Russell J., Robinson E., Soumpasi V., Barker M.E. Effect of a tart cherry juice supplement on arterial stiffness and inflammation in healthy adults: A randomised controlled trial. Plant Foods Hum. Nutr. 2014;69:122–127. doi: 10.1007/s11130-014-0409-x.
  8. Burkhardt S., Tan D.X., Manchester L.C., Hardeland R., Reiter R.J. Detection and quantification of the antioxidant melatonin in Montmorency and Balaton tart cherries (Prunus cerasus Agric. Food Chem. 2001;49:4898–4902. doi: 10.1021/jf010321+.
  9. Hughes R.J., Sack R.L., Lewy A.J. The role of melatonin and circadian phase in age-related sleep-maintenance insomnia: Assessment in a clinical trial of melatonin replacement. 1998;21:52–68.
  10. Claustrat B., Brun J., Chazot G. The basic physiology and pathophysiology of melatonin. Sleep Med. Rev. 2005;9:11–24. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2004.08.001.
  11. Howatson G., Bell P.G., Tallent J., Middleton B., McHugh M.P., Ellis J. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality.  J. Nutr. 2012;51:909–916. doi: 10.1007/s00394-011-0263-7.
  12. Chung J, Choi M, Lee K. Effects of Short-Term Intake of Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice on Sleep Quality after Intermittent Exercise in Elite Female Field Hockey Players: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Aug 18;19(16):10272. doi: 10.3390/ijerph191610272. PMID: 36011907; PMCID: PMC9408103.