I have seen multiple places where they say that cherries (or cherry juice) may help boost melatonin naturally.
NutritionFacts.org by Dr. Michael Greger made a video about it…
He writes of a study that found …
“They found that participants did in fact sleep a little better on the cherry juice. The effect was modest, but significant. Some, for example, fell to sleep a few minutes faster and had 17 fewer minutes of waking after sleep onset (waking up in the middle of the night). It was no insomnia cure, but it helped—without side effects.”
The study is titled Effects of a Tart Cherry Juice Beverage on the Sleep of Older Adults with Insomnia: A Pilot Study which you can read in full.
Dr. Greger mentions that cherries contain melatonin. Melatonin, unlike serotonin, can go from the gut to cross the blood brain barrier.
Blood draws do show that melatonin level increased on cherry juice as well as whole cherries (seven different variety of cherries in fact).
Tart cherries have 50 times more melatonin than sweet cherries. And dried cherries have none.
Other foods also contain melatonin. The foods are listed in order from lowest melatonin content to highest…
- orange bell pepper
- tart cherries
- mustard seeds
- goji berries
Seattle Times also writes that …
“Tart cherry juice. This juice contains phytonutrients that raise melatonin levels. Be sure to choose a pure, unsweetened tart cherry juice that doesn’t have other juices mixed in.”
The article also mentions other foods that can affect sleep some positively and some negatively.
HypoThyroidMom.com writes …
“Eat cherries in the evening. Cherries boost the body’s own supply of melatonin.”
Book “Healing Pain and Injury” also reports cheeries as one the “Snooze foods” (more details).