Runners know that the most effective way to recover after a workout is a good night’s sleep. Sleeping allows the body to rest, recover, repair, and rebuild. Your body breaks down when you run and becomes stronger while you sleep. Although it should be, sleeping isn’t always easy. That’s where tart cherry juice can help.

Tart Cherry Juice Sleep Challenge

I participated in the 14-day Tart Cherry Juice Sleep Challenge to find out if two glasses of natural tart cherry juice could help me sleep better. For the last two weeks I have had an 8 oz. glass of tart cherry juice with my breakfast each morning, and another 8 oz. glass before bed each night.

Tart cherries, also known as Montmorency cherries or sour cherries, are different from the sweet cherries you buy in the produce section of the local grocery store. They have a tart taste and are often used in pies, jams, or eaten as dried fruit. Once considered a fruit for cooking, they’ve become a super fruit known for their distinctive sour-sweet flavor and unique nutrient profile.

tart cherries help with sleep

Sleep and Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherries improve both sleep quality and duration. Tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, which helps regulate the body’s internal clock and sleep cycle. Researchers believe that the natural combination of melatonin and the anthocyanins (a type of flavonoid) in tart cherries are what makes it such a great sleep aid.

Tart cherries have also been credited with improving heart health, soothing arthritis symptoms, and reducing muscle soreness after exercise. For more on the benefits of tart cherries visit ChooseCherries.com

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Results of the 14-Day Tart Cherry Juice Sleep Challenge

At first, the tart cherry juice was a bit sour. My taste buds were used to the sugary sweet fruit juices that line store shelves. But, I gradually got used to the taste and I felt better knowing that I was fueling my body something healthy and completely natural.

I’ve always had trouble falling asleep. And to make things worse, my mind tends to get stuck on something and replays it over and over, preventing me from enjoying a restful slumber. It’s not uncommon for me to get up 3 or 4 times a night or lie awake for 30-40 minutes while the rest of the house sleeps.

Sleep better, naturally. #gotart #14DaySleepChallenge Click To Tweet

So, I was very happy when on day 4 of the 14-day sleep challenge, I fell asleep moments after closing my book. I drifted off quickly and woke up only twice, quickly falling back to sleep each time. Tart cherry juice helped me fall asleep faster and sleep better than I have in a long time.

Some studies have indicated an increased sleep time of 90 minutes for sleep challenge participants. Even though I spent the same 7-8 hours in bed each night, I know I slept longer because I wasn’t lying awake in the middle of the night anymore. As a nice side benefit, my running performance has improved and my energy is better throughout the day. Sleep is essential to proper recovery.

Cherry Marketing Institute is a client of Saltmarsh Running.

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