A warm sleepytime elixir made with chamomile, lavender, and tart cherry to encourage deep restful sleep.
We are full swing into the holiday season, there is no denying it now. I am currently curled up on my mom's cozy sofa in front of the fire, sipping on coffee while my Mom is scurrying about beginning to decorate for Christmas.
I am a huge advocate for wellness during the holiday season. Not wellness in the form of a detoxification or restriction all season long, but true wellness. Increasing nourishing food, increasing self-care, increasing connection and love and all the warm fuzzies that this time of year should bring.
That means I have several strategies in place to sail into the holiday season like a pro.
The most important of these strategies is sleep.
How sleep deprived we all seem to be during the season. It's a little bit cray cray. Somehow we convince ourselves that we need less and less sleep and by the time December 20th rolls around we are feeling totally fine with only 4 hours of sleep per night.
Enter tart cherry sleepytime elixir, a functional recipe with 4 simple ingredients. Ingredients that have been specifically chosen to encourage restful sleep.
The big star of this recipe is tart cherry juice.
Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice:
- The melatonin and phytonutrient profile of tart cherries is often associated with their health and sleep benefits.
- Tart cherries have a high dietary melatonin concentration and the consumption of tart cherry juice has been shown to increase urinary melatonin concentrations.
- Tart cherries exhibit anti-inflammatory characteristics which may benefit improved sleep quality
- One study examined the impact of Montmorency tart cherry juice supplementation on exercise-induced inflammation and found that tart cherry juice attenuated circulating inflammatory markers and increased the antioxidant capacity of the studied athletes.
- Patients with sleep disorders exhibit increased levels of oxidative stress, the abundance of antioxidants in cherries may mediate improvements in sleep quality by minimizing oxidative damage.
- One study found that the consumption of 8 ounces of tart cherry juice in the morning and nighttime for 2 weeks was associated with a significant reduction in insomnia severity.
- Procyanidin B-2 is likely the active ingredient in tart cherry juice that improves insomnia by enhancing tryptophan.
- Tart cherry juice has been found to be an effective treatment for insomnia with no adverse side effects.
I used fresh tart cherry in this recipe. Tart cherry season is about 2 minutes long in the northeast so when my CSA sent along 2 huge bushels this summer I quickly blended the cherries and froze the juice for later use. If you don't happen to have tart cherry juice in your freezer (?) you can find it online here.
The 2nd ingredient in this sleepytime elixir is my very favorite night time tea, Dream by Abbe Tea Company. A blend of chamomile, lavender, and blue cornflower.
- Chamomile enhances the ability to fall asleep naturally and sleep more restfully. It helps to quiet the mind. Even the thought of quieting the mind elicits a deep exhale.
- Blue cornflower helps to prevent the formation of dark circles under the eyes and calms the nervous system to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression.
- Finally lavender helps to soothe the mind and body, encouraging relaxation and promoting sleep.
The final ingredient is raw honey. Honey contributes to a restorative sleep by supporting the release of melatonin in the brain. Honey triggers small spikes in insulin levels which helps to stimulate the release of tryptophan in the brain, tryptophan is converted to serotonin, which is converted to melatonin. Melatonin is necessary for restorative sleep.
In a nutshell, honey promotes better sleep.
If you are a total nutrition nerd, like me, below the recipe you will find several of the studies associated with this post.
Simple ingredients blended together to encourage more restful sleep. I would say that is a winning holiday recipe!
More Healthy Holiday Recipes You Will Love!
Double Chocolate Quinoa Cherry Cookies
Vegan Turmeric Eggnog
Salted Chocolate Tahini Date Truffles
Grain Free Elderberry Thumbprint Cookies
Thanks for reading Abra's Kitchen! If you make this recipe tag #abraskitchen on Instagram 🙂
Tart Cherry Sleepytime Elixir
- 4 ounces Tart Cherry Juice
- 8 ounces Dream Tea or any chamomile tea
- 1 tbsp Raw Honey
- Warm tart cherry juice gently in a small saucepan on the stove.
- Brew Dream Tea according to instructions.
- Combine Dream tea and tart cherry juice, stir in raw honey.
- Serve immediately.
- Sip slowly and prepare for slumber.
- Nutrition facts are estimates based on an online database. I used fresh tart cherry juice in my recipe which would change the analysis a bit.
- You can use any type of restful herbal tea you like, plain chamomile, lavender or a blend.
- I blended my tea to produce a frothier, creamier consistency, this is totally optional.
Erejuwa, O. O., Sulaiman, S. A., & Ab Wahab, M. S. (2012). Honey-a novel antidiabetic agent. International journal of biological sciences, 8(6), 913.
Green, A., Cohen-Zion, M., Haim, A., & Dagan, Y. (2017). Evening light exposure to computer screens disrupts human sleep, biological rhythms, and attention abilities. Chronobiology International, 1-11. doi: 10.1080/07420528.2017.1324878
Howatson G, Bell PG, Tallent J, Middleton B, McHugh MP, Ellis J. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Eur J Nutr 2012;51:909–16.
Losso, J. N., Finley, J. W., Karki, N., Liu, A. G., Prudente, A., Tipton, R., … & Greenway, F. L. (2017). Pilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms. American journal of therapeutics.
Pigeon WR, Carr M, Gorman C, Perlis ML. Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on the sleep of older adults with insomnia: a pilot study. J Med Food 2010;13:579–83.
St-Onge, M. P., Mikic, A., & Pietrolungo, C. E. (2016). Effects of diet on sleep quality. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal, 7(5), 938-949.
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Stéphanie Barbier says
Don’t forget to brush your teeth before tucking in for the night; acidity in juice and honey, and the powerful power of delicious honey to stick to your teeth may end up giving you nightmares.
Kim Kremer says
Ooooooh yum! I drink tart cherry juice at night in the interest of promoting healing (I’m an endurance athlete) and sleep. I love the idea of combining these flavors!
We planted a tart cherry & a grafted sweet cherry tree several years ago. Sadly, this year we lost all our cherries to western cherry fly. Lesson learned, though: no more leaving fallen fruit on the ground. It may be years before I get a decent cherry harvest, but it’s such a treat having them growing in my back yard.
I am so incredibly jealous of your cherry tree. I will say some prayers to the cherry gods that your tree will recover soon! Some great studies on tart cherry for endurance athletes and recovery time, love that you drink it at night 🙂