More than a few Americans suffer from sleep problems, and most are desperate to find a cure for insomnia so they can live a normal life. While some find relief from prescription medications, such as Ambien or Lunesta, others rely on natural sleep aids that promote increased levels of melatonin, a natural compound that helps to regulate the body's sleeping cycle.

Though some have found success with natural supplements, such as valerian and kava, others claim there's no real proof that natural sleep remedies actually help people who consistently have trouble sleeping. Now, it appears there is.

A cure for sleep problems?

According to a study by researchers at Northumbria University School of Life Sciences, tart cherry juice drastically improves both the duration and quality of sleep. In conducting their study, the researchers recruited 20 healthy candidates and had half drink 30 milliliters of tart cherry juice concentrate twice every day for a week, while the other half drank a different placebo juice during the same period.

When they tested the urine samples from each group, they noticed that those who drank the cherry juice had 15 to 16 percent-higher levels of melatonin than the subjects who drank the placebo twice every day.

According to the researchers, participants also wore a sensor that took actigraphy measurements. These measurements indicated that the cherry juice drinkers also had a 50 to 6 percent increase in ‘sleep efficiency,' the standard measure for sleep quality. Not only did the juice appear to be a potential cure for insomnia; it seemed to help provide a deep, sound sleep to each individual who consumed it.

Does it really work?

According to the leader of the study, Dr. Glyn Howatson, they initially focused the study on whether or not tart cherry juice would aid recovery after strenuous exercise; however, they were excited to find that the juice might serve as a cure for insomnia.

Dr. Howatson says the study offers clear and direct evidence that Montmorency cherry juice supplementation can naturally increase melatonin levels and offer improvements in sleep problems amongst adults who are in good health.

Things to consider

Although the Northumbria University study indicates that cherry juice is a good option for people who can't sleep, it's most appropriate for people who are otherwise healthy. If you suffer from sleep apnea or another medical condition, cherry juice isn't likely to be a cure all. Additionally, if you're doctor has prescribed sleeping pills, schedule a visit before going off of the them to switch to natural supplementation.

Finally, if you choose to drink cherry juice to tackle your sleeping problems, be sure to choose a pure concentrate; don't select a processed juice containing added sugar, or your insomnia may get much worse.

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