My brain is always on. By the time I get to unwind after a long day, all I want to do is watch random YouTube videos and scroll through every app I have on my phone. Unfortunately, it also means that getting a solid night’s rest is incredibly difficult for me.

Personally, I can’t take melatonin supplements that contain artificial melatonin. I also can’t drink chamomile tea before bed. Why? Because it causes me to have sleep paralysis. According to the National Library of Medicine sleep paralysis is an experience where you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t move. Scary stuff. So, when I was invited to an event to try tart cherries for sleep, I immediately sent an RSVP.

My tart cherry introduction

On a chilly winter’s day I made my way through the bustling streets of New York City to try all things tart cherry with registered dietitian and chef Jackie Newgent. She guided guests through a curated menu of Montmorency tart cherry-infused food and alcohol-free beverages.

Over the course of the evening Newgent explained that tart cherries can be helpful in promoting sleep. Newgent told 21Ninety that in order to reap the benefits of tart cherries as a sleep aid, it’s best to consume it twice a day. The registered dietitian also mentioned that snacking on the fruit throughout the day can help promote sleep come evening time. 

How it works

How is it possible that consuming one fruit can help with sleep? It turns out that tart cherries increase melatonin production.

“Tart cherry juice concentrate provides an increase in exogenous melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women and might be of benefit in managing disturbed sleep,” according to the NIH

Worked like a charm

Before I left the event, I already started feeling drowsy after consuming about four mocktails and nearly a dozen portions of appetizers. Clearly, I was hungry that night. Once I was home, I quickly showered, climbed into bed, and drifted off to sleep. Throughout the night I did not have a sleep paralysis episode and best of all I dreamt that I was on a dinner date with my celebrity crush.

It has been about a week since the event and I have been sipping on tart cherry juice and chewing tart cherries when I remember that they’re in my fridge. Every time I eat tart cherries during the day, I sleep better. I don’t always dream of my celebrity crush, but I do sleep without sleep paralysis so that’s a win. 

Now that I’ve come to realize the benefits of tart cherries I’m not going to sleep gate keep at all. I’ve compiled a list of 21Ninety Approved tart cherry products that will help you fall asleep without any artificial melatonin.

Don’t let this thirty-two-ounce bottle of Cherry Bay Orchards Tart Montmorency Cherry Concentrate  trick you. According to Newgent all you need is one tablespoon of this elixir morning and night to ease your way into dreamland.

Kirkland Signature Organic Dried Tart Montmorency Cherries are incredibly versatile. Yes, you can eat them out of the bag. You can also get creative with how you eat them. Newgent mentioned to 21Ninety that she even makes a vinaigrette with the sweet-tart fruit. And, if you don’t feel like cheffing it up in the kitchen, you can top your favorite sorbet with the dried cherries, too.

At the end of a long day instead of reaching for your adult grape juice try popping a bottle of Pomona Organic Juices Pure Tart Cherry Juice. With this twelve-pack of 8.4-ounce cherry juice bottles you won’t have to measure out how much to drink with, or after, dinner. Just put these in your fridge when you get home and grab one whenever you need to relax.

Have you tried tart cherries? Already know that you like the flavor? Then go all in with I’m A Nut’s four-pound bag of Dried Tart Montmorency Cherries. With this resealable bag of goodness, you’ll be able to snack on the cherries, add them to salads, or even throw them in a blender with other fruits and veggies for a satisfyingly sweet shake.

After a little poking around on Amazon, as one does in the wee hours of the night, I came across Sports Research Tart Montmorency Cherry Concentrate Liquid Softgels. These are a capsule version of the sweet-tart snack. These are not to be snacked on these. Each softgel is one serving. And, one serving of these oval-shaped capsules contains 800mg of “tart cherry complex,” according to the nutrition label.