Do you occasionally experience insomnia, and have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night?
Well, you're not alone. The NHS reports that insomnia affects 1 in 3 British adults. If you're not certain you suffer from insomnia, here's how the NHS says you can tell: You may have a form of insomnia if you:
- Find it difficult to fall sleep and end up lying awake at night
- Wake up several times during the night
- Wake up early and can't go back to sleep
- Still feel tired after waking up, and feel tired and irritable during the day
- Find it difficult to concentrate during the day because you're tired
You could deal with insomnia by going to a pharmacy to get chemical sleeping aids. But they have side effects, can make you feel drowsy the next day, and you can become dependent on them. Worst, they don't really get rid of insomnia – they just mask it by knocking you out.
Montmorency cherry for sleep – the safe, natural way to help overcome insomnia
Yes, cherries can help you sleep. Not all of them, though, only a specific type known as Montmorency cherry or tart cherries. Unlike sweet cherries, these are exactly as their name suggests; tart, and can sometimes be tongue-curlingly sour, so in all likelihood you wouldn't bake them into a cherry pie.
Montmorency cherries are more interesting than the ones you make into desserts because the juice of them and supplements made from them have far more nutrients than sweet cherries, and have many other benefits for health. Studies have shown, for example, that they increase strength and reduce muscle pain. But more important in the context of insomnia, they can help you sleep longer and better. In this article, we'll explore with some of the benefits of these tart cherries, and how they can help you make insomnia a thing of the past.
What is Montmorency cherry, and what makes it so special?
Montmorency cherries, the fruit of the Prunus cerasus tree, are a variety of sour cherry primarily grown in southwest Asia and Europe. They are valued for their nutritive value. For example, one serving of the juice of these cherries contains 20 times more vitamin A and 5 times more antioxidants than comparable amounts of the juice of sweet cherries.
They are also rich in melatonin (the hormone that regulates sleep), and contain tryptophan and anthocyanins, compounds that help the body synthesise melatonin and prolong its beneficial effects.
Benefits of Montmorency cherry for mind and body
Montmorency cherry has been shown to have a number of benefits:
- It reduces muscle pain and increases strength in athletes. In studies of long-distance runners who drank the tart cherry juice before a race, the runners experienced three times less pain during and after the race. In studies of weight lifters, consumption of these cherries increased muscle strength while reducing muscle breakdown.
- It may also reduce symptoms of arthritis and gout, including symptoms of joint pain and inflammation. One theory as to how this happens is that the tart cherry juice or extract reduces blood levels of uric acid, the chemical that triggers gout.
- There have been studies that suggest Montmorency cherry may promote brain health. Its high antioxidant qualities have been studied in patients with degenerative brain disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, with encouraging results.
- It also may strengthen the immune system to prevent inflammation and infections.
- Other studies have suggested that tart cherries may help to reduce the pain of peripheral neuropathy, help to reduce blood pressure, help with weight loss, and protect against cancer. But much more research is necessary before these benefits can be confirmed.
Montmorency cherry for sleep
Because of its high levels of natural melatonin (and other compounds that increase the body's own melatonin synthesis), Montmorency cherry is becoming increasingly known as an effective sleep aid. Early research is indicating that it is just as effective and often more effective at reducing insomnia than either valerian or supplemental melatonin, the two most studied natural products for treating sleep problems.
This natural insomnia remedy is high in melatonin, which is critical in helping to signal the body that it's time to go to sleep by regulating sleep and wake cycles. This not only makes it easier to fall asleep, it helps to improve overall sleep quality and duration. In one study, participants who drank Montmorency cherry juice before bed increased their sleep time by an average of 83 minutes per night.
How to add Montmorency cherry to your diet
Compared to sweet cherries, which tend to be eaten fresh, these cherries are more often consumed dried or frozen, or in the form of juice. You can find cherry juice in health food stores, but be warned that 1) you may find it too sour for your taste, and 2) these juices often contain large amounts of added sugar to mask the sharp taste.
As a result, many people who take tart cherry for its many benefits prefer to do so in the form of dietary supplements extracted from the fresh fruit.
One of our favourite sources of Montmorency cherry is in the Utmost Me blend called Neuro Rest. Follow-up surveys among customers who have tried this 100% natural, vegan, and gluten-free formulation have found that 97% report that they slept better. 77% were able to fall asleep faster, and 78% woke up during the night less frequently.
The success of Neuro Rest comes from its synergistic blend of ingredients
One of the reasons Neuro Rest is so successful at combating insomnia is that it doesn't contain only Montmorency cherry. It also contains many other ingredients that work together synergistically to reduce anxiety and promote better sleep.
For example, our exclusive Melo-Fruit® combination – a blend of Montmorency cherry, grape skin and watermelon extracts – provides several different natural sources of melatonin, the compound that regulates sleep cycles and signals the body that it is now time for sleep. Note that pure melatonin is classed as medicinal in the UK and requires a prescription, whereas our all-natural sources of melatonin do not.
In addition, the ingredients in our Mental Wellbeing Blend (chamomile, L-taurine, and biotin) have been shown to help you "switch off" at the end of the day so that you can enjoy a good night's rest.
Recommended dosages and possible side effects
The standard recommended dosage of Neuro Rest supplements is one or two 200mg tablets, taken orally 30 minutes before bedtime.
It is considered safe for most adults. Naturally, if you are allergic to other types of cherries you may wish to avoid taking products made from sour cherries.