LIFESTYLE

Ditch Sleeping Pills For Cherry Juice? Two Glasses Per Day Could Help Battle Insomnia

30/04/2014 11:47 BST | Updated 30/04/2014 11:59 BST
Brian Macdonald via Getty Images

An apple a day keeps the doctor away and, according to a recent study, two glasses of cherry juice will lead to a good night's sleep.

Drinking one glass in the morning and another in the evening can boost sleep time among older adults by nearly 90 minutes, researchers found.

Insomnia is particularly prevalent among older people, affecting one-third of those aged over 65.

The condition involves having troubled sleep for more than three nights per week and, if long-lasting and untreated, can lead to health issues. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and dementia.

Many affected resort to sleeping pills to get some sleep, but the recent findings could provide a non-medical alternative to fighting insomnia.

Cherries were chosen for the trial due to their melatonin content, a hormone that regulates the sleep cycle, and due to red pigments called proanthocyanidins, which also play a role in sleep.

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Lead study author Dr Frank Greenway of Louisiana State University said in a statement: "Sleeping pills may be an option for younger insomniacs, but for older people these medications quadruple the risk of falling, which can lead to broken hips and, often, earlier death."

As part of the study, seven insomnia sufferers with an average age of 68 drank cherry juice twice daily for a fortnight. They then repeated the trial with a placebo drink.

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Researchers observed participants' sleeping patterns throughout the trial and then they were asked to report independently with regards to sleep, fatigue, depression and anxiety.

The results showed that those who drank cherry juice twice a day slept 84 minutes more per evening on average, compared to those who drank the placebo drink.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nutrition in San Diego, California.