Cherries and Sleep
Cherries And Sleep
For quite a few years cherries have been touted as being as a super fruit because of their high antioxidant content. They have been said to help in the prevention of and in the reduction of risk for certain illnesses and diseases. They have also been linked to promoting better sleep. So what exactly is the link between cherries and sleep?
Cherries and sleep are linked together for the simple reason that cherries are one of the few food sources that have been found to contain melatonin. Other food sources include sunflower seeds, walnuts and bananas. Melatonin is a naturally occurring antioxidant found in the cherries. The human body produces this hormone which is also a neurotransmitter.
The body produces small amounts of melatonin during the day and more during the night and this is regulated by light and dark. This regulated circadian rhythm allows us to be awake during the day and asleep at night. The highest levels of melatonin are secreted when it is dark and it is for this reason that melatonin is sometimes referred to as the ‘hormone of darkness’.
Since cherries contain a generous amount of melatonin, it is clear why cherries and sleep are linked together. But how does the body produce melatonin? The human body uses the amino acid tryptophan and serotonin to produce melatonin. The melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland and is released into the blood stream making it an endocrine hormone.
There are some scientists who think that the link between cherries and sleep go beyond the fact that cherries contain melatonin. Besides melatonin promoting sleep, these scientists think that the anti-inflammatory properties found in the cherries also have a role to play. This is simply because high inflammation levels have been found to interfere with sleep. It is therefore logical to assume that anything that reduces inflammation should be able to promote sleep.
However, the cherries and sleep link goes further than just helping an individual fall asleep. It also helps with allowing a person have better quality sleep. This is in terms of increasing sleep efficiency by decreasing the time it takes to fall asleep as well as helping people sleep throughout the night.
For cherries and sleep to work best, you should have your cherries (fresh, dried, in concentrate or pill form) about 30 minutes or an hour before bed. You should also dim you lights to help the body produce its own melatonin. The amount of melatonin required to help with sleep will vary from individual to individual so it is a good idea to experiment with different amounts of cherries to find what works best for you. It may also be a good idea to combine cherry juice with another sleep aid such as a banana.
Our website contains other articles concerning cherries and sleep as well as a huge amount of information on cherries health benefits of all kinds. Feel free to browse through them and come back for other visits.