AW promotion: Study highlights benefits of tart cherry consumption

The benefits of sleep and its importance to athletes are obvious, but how can sleep be improved to aid recovery and help athletes perform to their best?

Studies on U.S. Montmorency tart cherries, one of the few food sources of melatonin¹, have explored the duration and quality of sleep, insomnia and sleep efficiency.

Howatson and colleagues were the first to show direct evidence that dietary supplementation with U.S. Montmorency tart cherry juice increases circulating melatonin and provides modest improvements in sleep time and quality of sleep in healthy adults.²

In this controlled study, 20 male and female athletes drank either two servings of U.S. Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate or a placebo beverage for seven days.

The tart cherry consumption resulted in a statistically significant increase of time in bed, total sleep time (34 minutes) and sleep efficiency (5-6%). Circulating blood melatonin levels were also increased.

In a world of ‘marginal gains’ this 5% efficiency in sleep and recovery could prove enormously beneficial.

Melatonin-containing U.S. Montmorency tart cherries have been the focus of multiple sleep studies.

Further research conducted at Louisiana State University found that U.S. Montmorency tart cherry juice extended sleep time by 84 minutes.³

In this study, healthy men and women used cherry juice for a two-week period. When compared to the placebo, U.S. Montmorency tart cherry juice was found to extend sleep time by up to 84 minutes and increase sleep efficiency.

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1. Burkhardt S, Tan DX, Manchester LC, et al.
Detection and quantification of the antioxidant melatonin in Montmorency and Balaton tart cherries (Prunus cerasus). J Agric Food Chem. 2001;49:4898-902.

2. Howatson G, Bell PG, Tallent J, et al.
Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Eur J Nutr. 2012;51:909-16.

3. Losso JN, Finley JW, Karki N, et al.
Pilot study of the tart cherry juice for the treatment of insomnia and investigation of mechanisms. Am J Ther. 2017; Mar 27, 1-8.