The other day I was asked to review an article on nutrition and sleep. Anytime someone talks about sleep or fatigue and its relationship to food or natural products, it piques my curiosity (check out my article on B12 and fatigue). There was one research finding in the article that drew my attention. The research found that cherry juice can reduce the severity of insomnia . This interested me because anytime you can improve sleep, it has benefits on fatigue. In other words, I was lured by the idea of using cherry juice as a fatigue fighter.
I checked the source article. One of the authors is Dr. Michael Perlis. He is a very well-known and respected prof, researcher and clinician. If he puts his name on a paper, I trust the findings. And sure enough cherry juice helps….but the finding is very specific and somewhat limited.
Here’s what Dr. Perlis’ research found. A tart cherry juice blend made by CherryPharm, Inc. helped a group of 15 people who were 65 years and older with insomnia fall asleep more quickly, reduced their awakenings after they fell asleep and improved their sleep quantity. The improvements were similar, or better, to those seen in studies of valerian and melatonin. Now here’s the big limitation….the improvements to insomnia were not as good as what you see with prescription sleep medication and cognitive-behavioural therapy.
So what’s the take-home-message? You can try cherry juice to help with insomnia, it probably won’t hurt. But it probably won’t have a big effect on fatigue either. It’s better to see a psychologist or medical doctor with a specialty in sleep for help with your insomnia and managing any fatigue resulting from sleep problems.