Forget hot milk or camomile tea. If you’re struggling to sleep at night, sip a glass of cherry juice.
The drink significantly improves both the quality and duration of sleep, according to scientists.
But it may not offer particularly sweet dreams, as only a sour type of the juice has the desired effect.
In the study, participants who drank the sour juice not only slept for longer, but the quality of their sleep improved.
A group of volunteers were given a 30ml serving of either tart cherry juice or a placebo juice twice a day for seven days and fitted with sensors to monitor their sleep patterns.
The participants who consumed the cherry juice saw an increase of around 25 minutes in their total sleep time and a 6 per cent increase in their sleep quality.
Researcher Dr Jason Ellis, director of the Centre for Sleep Research, School of Life Sciences, said: ‘Although melatonin is available over the counter in other countries, it is not freely available in the UK.
'What makes these findings exciting is that the melatonin contained in tart cherry juice is sufficient to elicit a healthy sleep response.’