How to sleep: Sip this juice in the day to ensure a good night’s rest during winter

Sleep is important for the body in order to function properly. Not getting enough can increase the risk of serious health problems like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. It’s recommended a person gets eight hours good-quality sleep a night for optimum health, but many people suffer sleepless nights because of the cold. So what can you do to help you get your forty winks?

Researchers of one study found drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks helped increase sleep time by nearly 90 minutes among older adults with insomnia.

As part of the trial, seven older adults with insomnia (average age 68) drank eight ounces of Montmorency tart cherry juice twice daily for two weeks.

This was then followed by a two-week washout period, then a two-week period when another beverage was consumed.

Co-author Frank L. Greenway, MD, director of the outpatient research clinic at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University, and his colleagues then studied their slumber in a controlled setting, using overnight polysomnography to evaluate sleep efficiency, such as sleep onset and duration.

Participants of the study also completed questionnaires related to sleep, fatigue, depression and anxiety and blood work was carried out.

The researchers found those who drank the Montmorency tart cherry juice in the morning and at night were able to sleep more than an hour longer each night compared to the placebo and their sleep tended to be more efficient.

Previous studies have suggested the juice has sleep-enhancing benefits, one reason being Montmorency tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle.

Greenway and his colleagues believe the ruby red pigments in Montmorency tart cherry juice, known as proanthocyanidins, also play a role.

In the study, Montmorency tart cherry juice helped to increase the availability of tryptophan, an essential amino acid and a precursor to serotonin that helps with sleep.

The findings were presented at the Dietary Bioactive Components: Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Effects of Dietary Bioactive Components section of the 2014 meeting of the American Society of Nutrition.

But this isn’t the only drink recommended to help you sleep.

The Sleep Council recommends having a warming milky drink before bed so you can achieve quality sleep. 

This could be warm milk, a hot chocolate or hot milk tea.

There also some other steps you should look to take to help beat the nip in the air at night.

It advises: “Wear night clothes such as pyjamas or a large T-shirt to keep you warm. Natural fibres such as wool, cotton or silk will keep you warmer than synthetic materials.

“Get rid of icy toes by putting on a pair of super soft bed socks. The extra layer under the covers can help improve circulation in your extremities, which can help you fell asleep more quickly.

“Have a warm (not hot) bath just before you go to bed. This will warm you up and will also help to make you sleepy.

“Try to take some exercise, not too close to bedtime, which will get the circulation going an help to keep the body warm.”