Does Tart Cherry Juice Help You Sleep?

April 2, 2024 | Casper Editorial Team

Fact checked by Jonathan Eilenberg, CPE

Tart cherry juice may help improve sleep due to its content of tryptophan and melatonin, which can help regulate sleep. However, it’s important to note that while initial research shows promising results, not everyone may experience the same benefits, and consulting a healthcare expert is recommended for individuals having trouble sleeping.

You may have tried melatonin gummies or chamomile tea to help you sleep better, but have you heard of tart cherry juice and its sleep benefits? 

Tart cherry juice has recently taken social media by storm as the star ingredient in the “sleepy girl mocktail.”1 The drowsy drink also includes ingredients like magnesium powder and prebiotic soda for optimal sleep quality.1 

Tart cherry juice is lauded for its many health benefits, including reduced inflammation and muscle soreness.3 It also contains the amino acid tryptophan, which is known to help your body produce more melatonin, the essential sleep hormone.2 While tart cherry juice does contain a small amount of melatonin itself, it’s not considered enough to impact sleep.2

So, does tart cherry juice help you sleep at all? 

Although some studies have shown that tart cherry juice consumption can improve sleep efficiency and quality for many people, it really depends on the root cause (no pun intended) of your sleep issues. Keep reading to find out if tart cherry juice is right for your journey to better sleep. 

Tart Cherry Juice and Its Many Benefits

These aren’t your average cherries. Tart cherries, also called Montmorency cherries, are packed with important compounds your body needs, including2:

  • Vitamins A and C
  • Anthocyanins, bright pigments that also contain high levels of antioxidants
  • Melatonin
  • Tryptophan

Antioxidants are the body’s main defenders against the harmful molecules known as free radicals, which, if left unchecked, can damage your cells and cause illness.3 

Free radicals form after you’re exposed to toxins like tobacco smoke and UV rays, but they also form after exercising,3 which is why many athletes believe that antioxidants reduce muscle soreness and inflammation after a workout.2

Others believe that tart cherries help with everything from lowering blood pressure to reducing cancer growth, though these claims are not well-supported.2

Many vibrantly colored fruits and veggies contain powerful antioxidants, but tart cherries are also special for their tryptophan content, as seen in milk as well. Does warm milk help you sleep too? Learn more in our blog.

Tart Cherry Juice: A Magic Sleep Elixir? 

Your body runs on an internal clock, also known as a circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm roughly follows the natural 24-hour light-dark cycle, telling you when to wake up and when to sleep.4 

The main hormone involved in maintaining this rhythm is melatonin.4 

Your body’s melatonin levels are supposed to fluctuate throughout the day, gradually increasing until it’s time to go to bed. But sometimes, melatonin production is disrupted by sleep travel problems like jet lag and blue light exposure from screens. These factors can alter your natural sleep-wake cycle.4 

Enter: tart cherry juice. Many claim that the melatonin content in this fruit juice can supplement your body’s natural melatonin and help you stay asleep with more ease. However, most research shows that tart cherry juice doesn’t contain enough melatonin to have a significant effect on sleep quality.2

Even still, several studies have shown positive sleep effects of tart cherry juice. For instance, one study found that tart cherry juice improved sleep quality for older adults with chronic insomnia,5 and another found that it increased sleep duration and sleep quality for healthy adults.6

Though these studies had positive results, it’s important to note that they focused on specific groups of people, so their findings may not apply to everyone.5 Also, the measured sleep benefits of tart cherry juice were very modest—on par with melatonin supplements and valerian root, but not nearly as effective as other sleep treatments such as behavioral therapy or pharmaceuticals.5 

It’s also important to understand that there may be other factors—not just low melatonin production—that can negatively impact your sleep, including1:

  • High stress levels
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Other underlying health conditions

So, while tart cherry juice may moderately improve sleep for some people, you’ll only see real results by addressing the root causes of your sleep problems and practicing good sleep hygiene

The Best Ways to Drink Tart Cherry Juice for Sleep

The two things you need to consider when drinking tart cherry juice for sleep are timing and amount. 

Even though tart cherry juice is meant to help you sleep, you shouldn’t drink it too late at night. If you’re pre-diabetic or diabetic, it’s recommended that you drink it at least two hours before bed to avoid a glucose spike that will actually keep you up.1 Tart cherry juice is also highly acidic, which can harm your teeth and worsen acid reflux.1

When it comes to the amount, less is more. Some dietitians recommend consuming 8-16 ounces a few times a week, rather than every day.2 

It’s also important to look at tart cherry juice’s sugar content to ensure it’s doing more good for your body than bad. Many brands have lots of added sugar that can lead to weight gain and other health issues, especially if you have a health condition like diabetes.2

If you’re worried about high sugar levels in your tart cherry juice, consider eating whole tart cherries instead. They contain all the same nutrients, without the sugar high. 

Find Your Sleeping Sweet Spot with Casper

When it comes to how to fall asleep fast, tart cherry juice has been shown to help some people sleep better, but there are still many unknowns, and it shouldn’t be the main way you treat your sleep problems. On the other hand, something that all experts agree can improve your sleep quality is practicing good sleep hygiene. 

Sleep hygiene encompasses all the behaviors that promote quality sleep, including following a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding electronic devices before bed, and even exercising during the day.

Another key ingredient for good sleep hygiene? A cozy sleep environment. Here, Casper has you covered with the comfiest and most supportive mattresses and pillows for every type of sleeper. 

Balance out the sourness of tart cherry juice with a super-sweet Casper mattress that keeps you cool and comfortable all night long. 


  1. CNBC. Tart cherry juice is a key ingredient in TikTok’s ‘Sleepy Girl Mocktail’—but can it actually improve your sleep? 
  2. OSF Healthcare. Tart cherry juice benefits: Do they live up to the hype? 
  3. Harvard Health Publishing. Understanding antioxidants. 
  4. National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Circadian Rhythms. 
  5. National Library of Medicine. Effects of a Tart Cherry Juice Beverage on the Sleep of Older Adults with Insomnia: A Pilot Study. 
  6. ResearchGate. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality.