Better living through nature
If you’ve counted all the sheep you can stand to count, there may be a new solution to getting a better night's sleep with cherry juice.
Cherry juice may significantly improve how well and how long you sleep each night, researchers say. The study, which was performed at Northumbria University, found sipping on cherry juice increases levels of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. Melatonin causes sleepiness and a lower body temperature, creating a perfect state for drifting into dreamland. This means that cherry juice could make it easier for people to find slumber each night.
In the study, 20 healthy participants drank 30 ml of either cherry juice or a placebo juice twice a day for seven days. At the end of the study, researchers found there was a 15 percent increase in urinary melatonin in the participants who drank cherry juice. The cherry juice drinkers also reported that they napped less during the day than before the study.
It turns out cherry juice may just be Mother Earth's natural sleeping pill.
Photo by _urbanizr/Courtesy Flickr
These findings may be especially helpful to those who struggle with insomnia, suffer from jet lag, or work odd hours. Chronic sleep loss has been linked with heart disease, diabetes and obesity in recent years. Memory loss is also often a side effect of lack of sleep. In addition, those with insomnia are also at a greater risk for mood disorders, such as depression.
If you, like me, can’t stand the taste of cherries, don’t worry. There are many other actions you can take to get a better night’s sleep. Here are some tips from experts at the Mayo Clinic:
• Stick to a sleep schedule. Going to bed at the same time, and waking up at the same time, helps your body get into a routine.
• Pay attention to your eating habits. Don’t go to bed hungry or stuffed. In addition, don’t guzzle a lot of liquids before hitting the sack. That includes alcoholic and caffeinated beverages.
• Create a bedtime ritual. Performing a consistent routine each night lets your body know it’s time to wind down. This ritual can range anywhere from taking a warm bath to listening to soothing music. The sky is the limit—just do whatever relaxes you. However, try to avoid TV and other electronic devices, as screen time before bed can interfere with sleep.
• Get comfy. Creating a sleeping space that is comfortable is essential to a good night’s rest. Use room-darkening shades to make a room darker, and consider using a fan to drown out other background noise.
We at The Herb Companion magazine have a few tips for a better night’s sleep as well. Making an herbal sleep pillow infused with the relaxing scents of lavender, lilac, and other herbs can help relax your body each night. Or, you could give a sleep tincture a try. For more information about natural sleep help, read our article about how to get the sleep you need naturally.