cherries, lavender, saffron increase melatonin and improve sleep

Melatonin is one of nature’s best ways to help you fall asleep and have a better quality sleep. Here are three surprising, new ways to increase your melatonin naturally.

Cherries, it turns out, are rich in melatonin. Maybe that’s why all four studies conducted on cherries and sleep found that they help (Nutrients 2018;10(3):368).

Compared to a placebo, a cherry product improved sleep efficiency, time taken to fall asleep, number of awakenings and total sleep time in one study (J Nutr Health Aging 2013;17:553-60). 

It was the second study that found out why. Tart cherry juice given for seven days in a double-blind study, surprisingly, significantly increased melatonin. Compared to a placebo, the cherry group significantly increased the time spent in bed, had a significant 34 minutes more sleep per night and a significant 5-6% increase in the time in bed spent sleeping (Eur J Nutr 2012;51:909-16).

We’ve known for a long time that lavender essential oil helps you sleep. We’ve even known for a long time that inhaling lavender essential oil helps you sleep as well as drugs (Lancet 1995;346:701; J Altern Complement Med 2005;11:631–7).

Here’s what we didn’t know until just now. Lavender increases melatonin. A study of 67 people over the age of 60 has found that lavender essential oil increases melatonin. Each person used 5 drops in water for 30 minutes twice a week for 4 weeks. Melatonin levels went up significantly in both men and women (Complement Ther Med December 2019.47:102208).

In the past few years, saffron has emerged as a leading herb for insomnia. Study after study confirms that it works. But a just published study adds a new reason why.

In a four week, double-blind study of 120 adults with insomnia, saffron, as expected, improved insomnia, sleep quality and mood after waking up. What was not expected was that the saffron also increased evening levels of melatonin (Sleep Medicine Oct 2021;86:7-18).

So, if you want to improve your sleep tonight, here’s three new, natural ways to boost melatonin, your body’s sleep hormone. Eat your cherries, smell your lavender and take your saffron.

Good night!

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For much more on treating insomnia naturally, see our book The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia

For comprehensive help with sleep, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven nowLinda’s clinic is now open for virtual appointments.

The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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