If you’re also sipping a sleepy girl mocktail before bed nightly: Cheers, friend. (A good night’s rest? Never heard of her.)

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, nearly 50 to 70 million2 of Americans have chronic or ongoing sleep disorders. One thing we can all agree on is that finding sleep remedies that actually work is exhausting. And while eating more sleep-boosting foods is just one piece of the puzzle, it’s also one of the lowest-lift (and most delicious) lifestyle adjustments you can take to boost your sleep cycle.

A superstar among fruits that help you sleep that’s been *popping* up left and right of late: tart cherries, aka Montmorency cherries. Research shows that tart cherries are rich in melatonin and tryptophan, two key compounds that can help promote rest, relaxation, and better sleep1.

If you pucker at the idea of drinking a tart cherry nightcap before bed, look no further than this sweet sleep-boosting tart cherry bread recipe. For the tastiest route of inducing relaxation before hitting the hay, serve warm alongside a lavender latte—and don’t forget to spread with a shmear of magnesium-rich almond butter. It’s what dreams are made of!

Tart cherries for sleep: Lame or legit? 

Not to dampen the mood, but waking up on the “wrong side of the bed” due to inadequate sleep can have some serious implications for long-term health. (Sleep deficiency can lead to many chronic health problems2, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and depression, to name a few.)

So, how can cherries help the cause? To recap, tart cherries are rich in melatonin, a hormone naturally produced in the brain triggered by light deprivation (aka bedtime). Research shows that consuming foods rich in melatonin—like tart cherries—can help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm3, improve the duration and quality of your rest, and help reduce disturbed sleep patterns. Meanwhile, the tryptophan found in tart cherries can also assist in increasing serotonin production, which is linked to improving your mood, decreasing inflammation, and promoting healthy sleeping patterns.

Unlike your usual tart cherry bevvy, this tart cherry bread recipe has yet another sleep-boosting ingredient: It’s tea! According to Michael Breus, PhD (aka “The Sleep Doctor”), a leading sleep specialist and clinical psychologist, drinking (or eating) tea is one of the best ways to help promote better sleep come nightfall. This is thanks to the presence of l-theanine, a compound that “helps your brain relax by reducing stress-related hormones and neuron excitement,” he says.

Unlike your usual tart cherry bevvy, this tart cherry bread recipe has yet another sleep-boosting ingredient: It’s tea!

In sum, *rest* assured that the combination of l-theanine-rich tea, anti-inflammatory spices (including cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg), and tart cherries you’ll taste in this sleep-boosting bread is a match made in heaven. Find the Montmorency cherry board’s most beloved recipe for tart cherry bread below.

tart cherry bread
Photo: Running to the Kitchen

Montmorency tart cherry tea bread recipe

Yields 12 servings

Ingredients
10 ounces boiling water
1 bag Earl Grey tea
250 grams dried tart cherries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup
Zest of 1 orange
1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 Tsp baking powder
1/2 Tsp cardamom
1/2 Tsp cinnamon
1/4 Tsp nutmeg
2 eggs

1. Pour boiling water into a large bowl. Place the tea bag in the bowl and let it steep for five to seven minutes. Remove the tea bag once steeped and discard.
2. Add the dried tart cherries, maple syrup, and orange zest to the bowl, toss to combine and submerge the cherries in the liquid. Set aside for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
4. Add the flour, baking powder, and spices to a large bowl. Stir to combine.
5. Add the soaked cherries along with any excess liquid to the bowl with the flour. Add the eggs and mix until well combined.
6. Transfer the batter to the parchment lined loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to one hour until set and golden brown on top and around the edges.
7. Remove the bread from the loaf pan by pulling the sides of the parchment paper up and place the bread on a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Recipe courtesy of Gina Matsoukas, Running to the Kitchen.

Another sleepytime snack we can’t get enough of is this vegan, gluten-free cherry pie:


Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.


    1. Losso, Jack N et al. “Pilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms.” American journal of therapeutics vol. 25,2 (2018): e194-e201. doi:10.1097/MJT.0000000000000584

 


    1. Pigeon, Wilfred R et al. “Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on the sleep of older adults with insomnia: a pilot study.” Journal of medicinal food vol. 13,3 (2010): 579-83. doi:10.1089/jmf.2009.0096

 


    1. Boros, Klára et al. “Theanine and Caffeine Content of Infusions Prepared from Commercial Tea Samples.” Pharmacognosy magazine vol. 12,45 (2016): 75-9. doi:10.4103/0973-1296.176061

 


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