Big Pharma knows our problems all too well! And getting enough sleep is certainly one of them — especially as we get older.
And with the help of creepy butterflies that go in and out of bedroom windows and oddball fuzzy “pets” that make out the words “sleep” and “awake,” it’s gone all out to convince us that the road to dreamland begins in a bottle of pills.
Regardless of how many times those ads flash in front of your weary eyes, though, turning to these drugs is an extremely dangerous way to get more shuteye.
But the answer might just be a whole lot simpler — and safer — than Big Pharma would have you think. A new study out of Louisiana State University has managed to “cherry pick” the best way to get a decent night’s sleep.
No drugs required!
Sleepless in America
Just last month, I told you about some research that found a shocking number of seniors are taking sleeping pills — risking their lives just to get some ZZZs.
On top of that, another study on the Rx med Intermezzo found that it can up your risk of a car crash the next day by a whopping 50 percent! If you’re over 80, that danger is an insane 124 percent higher risk.
And that’s in addition to the very real chance of falling and suffering a life-altering hip fracture.
All that is what makes this new study so refreshing — sort of the way you feel after a great night’s rest!
The Louisiana researchers instructed a group of men and women who suffered from chronic insomnia to drink either tart cherry juice (yep, gout-curing cherry juice!) or a taste-alike placebo in the morning and an hour or two before bedtime.
After two weeks, the researchers switched beverages on them to be sure the findings weren’t a fluke.
This experiment only went on for 14 days, but I’m sure that when the folks who participated were finished, they were all still drinking cherry juice! Because that nightcap was able to give them an amazing 84 more minutes of shuteye.
That’s practically an hour-and-a-half of extra time spent rejuvenating their bodies and minds for the next day. To put that into perspective, the prescription drug Belsomra was only found to add a meager 16 extra minutes of sleep — and that was at the highest dose, an amount considered so risky even the FDA wouldn’t approve it!
Cherries, on the other hand, contain two specific sleep-promoting compounds called “procyanidins” and “anthocyanins,” which can actually prevent the release of chemicals that tell your brain to stay awake when it’s time for bed.
For the icing on the cherry cake, blood tests showed a marked reduction in inflammation in the cherry juice drinkers as well. And that makes a lot of sense, since cherries are known to work wonders in relieving the pain and swelling of arthritis and gout.
Now, despite the fact that just cherry juice can be extremely effective in helping you sleep better, you can help matters along by also following these three steps:
Step #1: Watch out for caffeinated drinks in the afternoon, as it can take up to six or more hours for the stimulating effects to wear off.
Step #2: Keep your bedroom dark (if you get up during the night to use the bathroom, put a flashlight by your bed) and don’t fall asleep to the TV no matter how well it sends you snoozing when you’re on the couch!
Step #3: Turn your screen off and put down that phone or tablet. Facebook will still be there in the morning.
As for that cherry juice, this study used a very common type called “Montmorency.” You can easily find it either in a ready-to-drink version or in a concentrate you mix with water. Just be sure to get pure juice and not something with added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Also, cherry extract is easily available in supplement form. So, unless you’re a sheepherder, there’s no longer any excuse for you to be counting them!
“Cherry juice could help you sleep 84 minutes longer, study says” Holly Van Hare, October 31, 2017, The Los Angeles Times, latimes.com