This Fruit May Actually Be Able To Replace Your Melatonin Supplement

When it comes to natural sleep supplements, melatonin often finds itself at the top of the list. Your body naturally decreases the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, during the day and increases it during the evening to help you get quality sleep (per Johns Hopkins Medicine).

But when your body isn't producing enough melatonin, that's where melatonin pills (a synthetic form of melatonin) comes into play. Johns Hopkins Medicine recommends taking no more than 1 to 3 milligrams before bed. However, "if melatonin for sleep isn't helping after a week or two, stop using it," says sleep expert Dr. Luis Buenaver.

Instead, USA Today suggests swapping out your melatonin supplements with tart cherries for a sleep-inducing boost. In particular, Montmorency tart cherries are brimming with health benefits. According to one 2018 pilot study, participants drank 240 milliliters of tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks. Researchers found that participants who drank the juice found improvements in sleep efficiency, sleep time, and possible improvements in insomnia when compared to the control group. The study also notes there was a reduction in inflammation too. USA Today points out that munching on a handful of tart cherries can also promote sleep.

Why tart cherries can replace melatonin

Adding tart cherries to your sleep regimen is generally considered a safe, natural sleep remedy. One of the biggest sleep-inducing benefits of tart cherries is that they're naturally high in tryptophan and melatonin, shares USA Today. Approximately one 100-gram serving of tart cherries elicits 9 milligrams of tryptophan, according to the American Journal of Therapeutics. Even though melatonin is crowned the sleep hormone, it can't do its job properly without an adequate supply of tryptophan (per Sleep Foundation).

Beyond the sleep benefits, cherries are also loaded with anthocyanins. These elevated levels of anthocyanins boost their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, says USA Today. Because of this, tart cherries are a natural remedy for reducing pain, lowering blood pressure, and preventing cancer, notes Sleep Foundation. Some research even indicates that their antioxidants may help improve memory, athletic performance, muscle recovery, and overall brain health.

On top of tart cherry juice, there are many other ways to consume cherries. There are also fresh cherries, dried cherries, and tart cherry extract supplements. Make sure to read the labels as fruit juices or dried cherries may have added sugars and additives. The National Institutes of Health says it's safe to take 480 milligrams of freeze-dried Montmorency tart-cherry-skin powder or drink 16 ounces of tart cherry juice daily for up to two weeks. However, If you're concerned about sugar levels, it's best to consult with your physician first.