For starters, research shows that tart cherry juice is rich in melatonin and tryptophan, two key compounds that can help induce rest, relaxation, and promote your quality of sleep. To break it down, melatonin is a hormone naturally produced in the brain triggered by light deprivation (aka when you’re going to bed at night). It helps regulate your body's circadian rhythm, and is linked to improving the duration and quality of your rest, and may also help manage disturbed sleep. Meanwhile, tryptophan may increase your body's serotonin production, which can help improve your mood, decrease inflammation, and promote healthy sleeping patterns. So while tart cherry juice is certainly no secret sleep-inducing elixir, sufficient research does indicate that it can help in the cause—especially when you’ve exhausted your options to get some quality shuteye (pun intended).
All to say, this is why we’ve gathered a few of the best tart cherry juice drink recipes packed with melatonin to help you get better sleep and feel more relaxed this year. And take it from someone who knows: These recipes—from the refreshing almond cherry smoothie or the tongue-tingling tart cherry spritzer—are way more delicious than drinking tart cherry juice on its own.
4 tart cherry juice drink recipes packed with melatonin for better sleep
1. Almond Cherry Smoothie
This delicious cherry smoothie recipe by Ambitious Kitchen is made with tart cherries, banana, creamy almond butter, and a hint of almond extract. And while cherry juice has its nighttime benefits for inducing sleep, if you’re feeling a little on edge during the day, this drink may also help calm your nerves and make you feel slightly more relaxed. Looking for additional health benefits? You can easily upgrade this recipe by adding ingredients like a handful of iron-rich spinach, a scoop of protein powder, and antioxidant-filled cacao powder. Not to mention, you can easily turn it into a smoothie bowl and garnish it with cacao nibs, hemp seeds, and shredded coconut for a hearty meal to start the day.
Get the recipe: Almond Cherry Smoothie
2. Tart Cherry Spritzer
Now, if any bubbly beverage instantly calls your name, this refreshing tart cherry spritzer by Nourish Nutrition is a real game changer. It’s the perfect three-ingredient recipe if you can’t stomach taking a shot of straight tart cherry juice before going to bed without getting a full-blown belly ache. Made from a simple combination of sparkling water, fresh lime juice, and tart cherry juice, this recipe dilutes the sourness of the fruit to make it more palatable and easier to chug come nighttime. Seriously, it’s so good you’ll catch yourself wanting to sip on this throughout the day, too.
Get the recipe: Tart Cherry Spritzer
3. Tart Cherry Mint Iced Tea
Another delicious way to get your daily dose of tart cherry juice is by making this tart cherry mint iced tea recipe by Love and Lemons that blends together tea, mint, and cherry juice. Although this recipe is made with black tea (which has caffeine, meaning it can disrupt sleep if consumed too closely before bedtime), it can easily be replaced with another one of your favorite caffeine-free herbal teas for a similar, more calming result. Best of all, it can be made in large batches to have on hand for sipping when you’re ready to unwind for the night.
Get the recipe: Tart Cherry Mint Iced Tea
4. Tart Cherry Water
Okay, okay, hear us out. Although this hardly counts as a recipe, tart cherry water is the perfect way to stay adequately hydrated while drinking your rest-inducing cherry juice dose of the day. If the thought of chugging a glass of plain ol’ water before bed triggers your ick-factor, infusing it with tart cherry juice can definitely make staving off dehydration much more appealing. Plus, all you need to do is infuse water with crushed cherries. Or even easier, combine tart cherry juice with filtered water—done and done.
Get the recipe: Tart Cherry Water
How about a gluten-free, vegan cherry pie for dessert? Here's how to make it:
- Losso, Jack N et al. “Pilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms.” American journal of therapeutics vol. 25,2 (2018): e194-e201. doi:10.1097/MJT.0000000000000584
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