Sleepless seniors’ new best friend: an effective non-drug sleep aid

Sleepless seniors’ new best friend: an effective non-drug sleep aid

If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, the last thing you should do is take a prescription or over the counter sleeping pill.

Oh, of course the drug will work. There’s no doubt about that. But there’s a reason why they refer to sleep aid drugs as “hypnotics.” They cast a spell that puts you into a state which isn’t exactly sleep (“knocked out” is more like it) and leaves you in a groggy haze the next day.

That’s not sleep. It’s more like mild anesthesia. And it takes a terrible toll on your health.

More on that in a moment. First, let’s look at a sleep aid that’s not a drug, helps you get an authentic night of rest, and is proven to work wonders.

This natural sleep aid is nothing complicated — it’s cherry juice. To be exact, it’s Montmorency tart cherry juice. This variety of cherry is the most common in the U.S. and is available year-round in various forms (frozen, concentrated, canned, etc.).

But could drinking a simple fruit juice actually be effective? Past research says it can, so researchers from the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center devised a study to test the juice in real world conditions.

They recruited eight healthy volunteers who were all over the age of 50 and suffered from chronic insomnia, which was defined here as difficulty sleeping three or more nights per week.

Participants were randomly assigned to a cherry juice group, or a placebo group. In the latter group, volunteers drank a beverage that looked and tasted like tart cherry juice.

All volunteers drank eight ounces of their assigned beverages every morning and every evening, an hour or two before bedtime.

At the end of two weeks, researchers took a blood sample from each volunteer ahead of a two-week washout period.

In the second phase of the study, the groups switched, and for an additional two weeks the former placebo group drank the real cherry juice and the former control group got the placebo.

The results were enough to impress just about any insomniac. When volunteers were drinking the real cherry juice, they extended their sleep time by 84 minutes compared to placebo.

Researchers indicate that two polyphenols (procyanidins and anthocyanins) in tart cherry juice promote sleep. Additionally, researchers analyzed the participants’ blood tests and determined that levels of the famous sleep-inducing compound, tryptophan, went up.

With this and other studies, researchers have moved the sleep-inducing properties of tart cherry juice from “old wives’ tale” status to solid evidence.

That said, there are a number of other steps in addition to drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice that you can take to help you battle insomnia and get the quality sleep you need.

• Exercise
• Cut back on alcohol
• Quit smoking (tobacco is a stimulant)
• Avoid TV, phone, and computer screens before bedtime

In his Perfect Sleep Protocol, Dr. Fred Pescatore also suggests that insomniacs review prescription drug use with their doctors to see if they are able to reduce their dosage or discontinue using popular drugs that are known to interfere with sleep. These drugs include antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering statins, ACE-inhibitors, and oral corticosteroids.

For more natural strategies to help you enjoy a good night’s rest every night, check out Dr. Pescatore’s Perfect Sleep Protocol. Click here to learn more or to enroll today.



New pilot study: Montmorency tart cherry juice increased sleep time among participating adults ages 50+ by 1 hour and 24 minutes
Weber Shandwick Chicago
October 27, 2917