If you find yourself having trouble falling asleep at night, a warm glass of milk may not be the only beverage that will help you nod off. For those who are lactose intolerant, vegan or just don’t enjoy the taste of milk, you are in luck. Sipping some tart cherry juice may be the answer.

In a recent study, participants drank tart cherry juice each morning and night for two weeks, leading to some surprising results. Researchers found those who drank the juice fell asleep faster, stayed asleep longer and racked up more total hours of sleep at night.

Melatonin in a cup

While this was a small study and more research is still needed to confirm the outcome, the results are not without merit. Cherries are high in melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone produced by our brains, which can also be found in some fruits. Cherries are loaded with anti-inflammatory proteins thought to regulate wake and sleep cycles.

Cherry on top

Not only are cherries good for sleep, they have also been found to protect against diabetes, provide arthritis relief and curb cholesterol. Feeling sore after a workout? Cherries can make that post-HIIT class soreness less intense. They protect against the cellular wear and tear from exercise and help to support muscle recovery.

If you decide to give tart cherry juice a try, be sure to avoid the sweetened varieties as they will increase your daily calorie intake and serve you a dose of unnecessary added sugar.

Looking for other ways to get more shut eye? Give some of these calorie-free options a try:

  • Get in a routine: Keeping a regular schedule each day sets you up for sleep success at night
  • Say good night to stress: Laughing, inhaling lavender scent and drinking decaffeinated black tea are all great ways to destress, helping us sleep better
  • Sleep in: Poor sleep is linked to the risk of high blood pressure, so if you aren’t getting enough shut eye through the night, at least 7 hours, sleeping longer in the morning can bring your risk down
  • Chill out: The ideal sleep environment is a cool, dark room, so if you are having trouble sleeping, try removing a layer of clothing or lower the thermostat
  • Stretch out: Stretching relaxed the muscles and the body. This is my number one tool for easing myself into a restful night

No matter what method you try, getting ample sleep each night is one of the most important things you can do as a part of your healthy lifestyle.

Question: What is your go-to sleep solution?