If counting sheep doesn’t help you drift off into a deep sleep at night, you might want to consider downing a glass of Montmorency tart cherry juice.
The bittersweet drink was distributed to a group of insomniacs in a recent study conducted by Louisiana State University.
Published in the American Journal of Therapeutics, the study found that drinking the scarlet juice extended periods of sleep for an average of one hour and 24 minutes each night.
They found that the juice contains compounds which inhibit the production of chemicals in the brain that lead to poor sleep.
It's also rich in procyanidins and anthocyanins – found in blueberries – which are often praised by scientists for their health benefits and have been linked to reducing inflammation.
Drinking the juice also reduced levels of kynurenine in the blood, which has been linked to sleep deprivation.
Participants were given a survey which questioned them about their sleeping habits.
They were then randomly assigned either a large glass of cherry juice or a placebo which they drank twice a day, right after they woke up and right before they went to sleep.
After two weeks, those who had been drinking the cherry juice switched to the placebo drink and vice versa.
They were then given the same survey to monitor how the drinks had affected their sleeping pattern.
Researchers concluded that those who drank the cherry juice increased their sleep time by 84 minutes and their overall sleep efficiency increased on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.
Insomnia affects one in three British adults, according to the NHS.
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