Thursday, December 29, 2011


Have any difficulty in sleeping lately? If new findings by scientists are to be believed, drinking a glass of cherry juice at bedtime can help in getting quality sleeping. Though the precise mechanism by which this positive effect is achieved not known, it is surmised that cherry juice significantly increases melatonin levels in the body which in turn improves the quality and duration of sleep. Though the results were based on human subjects of mall size, the cherry juice effect is still significant. Participants who drank cherry juice for a week experienced significant increase in their urinary melatonin (15% to 16%) than those who consumed the placebo drink samples. Actigraphy measurements of participants who consumed the cherry juice saw an increase of around 15 minutes to the time spent in bed, 25 minutes in their total sleep time and a 5% to 6% increase in their "sleep efficiency," a global measure of sleep quality. Cherry juice drinkers reported less daytime napping time compared to their normal sleeping habits before the study and the napping times of the placebo group. Whether the results are really over whelming is a debatable point and will need further studies. Here is a report on this new finding.  

"A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition suggested tart cherry juice is an effective natural sleep aid and insomnia remedy. An international team of researchers at Northumbria University gave healthy adults two glasses of tart cherry juice every day for several consecutive days, first thing in the morning and right before bed time, and found they slept an average of 39 minutes longer with up to 6 percent less non-sleep behavior while in bed, but their sleep did not improve when they drank a non-cherry fruit drink instead, according to the published findings.Previous research supported anecdotal reports that drinking cherry juice enhanced sleep, and the team attributed the benefits of "going red" to significant amounts of melatonin in the fruit, a key molecule in the human body's regulation of sleep-awake cycles.The researchers also noted that anthocyanins, the pigments that give cherries their bright crimson blush, are powerful antioxidant compounds widely thought to prevent and reverse free radical damage throughout the body, according to WebMD.Sleep disturbances affect the health, well being and productivity of nearly one third of Americans who spend more than $84 million on over-the-counter sleep remedies every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Sleep Research Lab in Ontario, Canada.This new study has provided more evidence that cherry juice concentrate could be a viable, cost-effective adjunct treatment, the researchers concluded.

In a world where sleeping pills have become omnipotent for people suffering from lack of sleep due to various reasons, drinking juice may be an alternative option worth considering. What is interesting is the reported ineffectiveness of juices other than that from cherries though there are many colored fruits containing anthocyanins and similar phytochemicals. Whether it is due to relatively high levels of melantonin in cherry fruit or some other constituents yet to be identified is not clear at present. Tart cherries are known to contain about 17 antioxidant phytochemicals including anthocyanins, melantonin and super oxide dismutase. If juice products can really replace drugs for inducing sleep in majority of human beings, it may as well confirm the old saying that "food is thy medicine". For that to happen and Tart juice to become a universal sleep aid, more studies are required with standardizing the processing method and confirmation of the benefit with large body of human subjects.


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