Tart Cherry Juice to Help Kids Sleep {Naturally raises melatonin levels}




tart cherry juice to help kids sleep


Sleeping dominates many a mother’s group discussion.

Is your baby sleeping through the night? (no), sleep training? (no again), when will they move out of your bed (I moved mine when I weaned them – around 2.5-3).

What time do your kids go to bed? (7-8).

When do they wake up? (until now at 5:30-6 every.single.day.)


Until now.


I read a facebook post by my friend Genevieve at Mamanatural a few months back about tart cherry juice raising natural melatonin levels, and it had been in the back of my mind to try tart cherry juice, but I didn’t bother ordering it online at the time.

Then a couple weeks ago I was in the grocery store with only one child (as opposed to 3 – when I do it with 3 I’m not reading labels or looking at anything except for exactly what is on my list).  I saw this tart cherry juice on the shelf, checked quickly for other juices in it (the cheaper version had apple juice – you want 100% tart cherry), and then I gave about 2 ounces to my kids.

They wanted to know what ‘tart’ meant, I explained it was kind of sour.  They didn’t think so, and they’ve been thrilled to have it daily since then, other than the times that we’ve run out.

How did it work?

It worked great- The kids who had been consistently up with the sun no matter what time they had gone to bed (even after watching fireworks for the 4th!) have been sleeping til 7 or so.  They’re also sleeping deeper.

I love mornings, I’m a morning person and I’m most productive then. But I had given up getting up before the kids a couple years ago since no matter how early I got up, they woke up when they heard me get out of bed, no matter how quiet I tried to be. When they have the cherry juice I”m able to sneak downstairs and work, cook, clean, do laundry, and they still stay asleep until 6:30 or 7, so they’re able to get the rest they need to learn and play all day long.

I’m hooked!

Real placebo controlled studies

I love it when there are placebo controlled studies for things that I try, and there are for this. See the study here, showing the increase in sleep quality associated with taking tart cherry juice.

What we buy

I’ve bought the juice pictured above, and I just added this tart cherry juice concentrate to my Amazon subscribe and save order to keep on hand.  My kids are thrilled because we rarely buy juice.  I’ve added a little to smoothies as well.

How we use it

I just give my kids a couple ounces in the morning or afternoon – for us we seem to see the benefits regardless of the time they drink it.

And a recipe

Mamanatural has a cherry lemonade (yum!) that you’ll want to check out, it looks delicious and contains the same cherry juice that works for us!







tart cherry juice to help kids sleep an hour more



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About Cara

Cara is the main author here at Health Home and Happiness. She loves the health and energy that eating well and playing well provides and has a goal to share what she's learned with as many families interested in making healthy changes as possible.

She helps other families achieve health in simple steps with the GAPS Starter Package, The Empowered Mother Pregnancy Resource, and helps them stock their freezer for busy days with Grain-Free Freezer Cooking Guide.


  1. Does it work for grown ups as well??

    • The study was done on grown ups, I don’t notice much of a difference with me, but I also have a coffee habit, and I don’t usually have trouble falling/staying asleep :)

  2. Do you think this would work if I made the juice into gummies; using only grassfed gelatin? We rarely give my son treats, but it would be nice to give him something that is also healthful for him. Thanks.

    • Yes, I did that! I’m not sure that they were getting the full 2 oz from gummies, though, but I think it helped.

  3. My healthcae practitioner recommended tart cherry juice for me and my daughter as well. I couldn’t handle the sugar bomb effect (14 g. sugar in 2 Tbsp), so he suggested I could try taking as little as 1/2 a Tbsp and taking a spoonful of coconut oil at the same time to blunt the sugar spike.

    I love the idea of using it in gummies! Thanks, Michelle.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this information. Here is my testimony:

    I was having a hard time sleeping. I had tried different things like taking melatonin and even magnesium which I take every night and does induce relaxation and sleepiness. My problem is I would sleep 3-4 hours and wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. And then toss and turn for an hour finally giving up and staying up for a couple of hours on the computer before going back to bed.

    I read your post Tuesday night. The next day I ran to the health food store. They didn’t have the concentrate, only cherry juice. They had a 100% organic juice blend. I bought it. I took about 1 oz at 7:30pm. That night I went to bed at 10pm. I slept all night without waking up at all. The next day I got up at 8am. I felt rested and wonderful.

    On Thursday night, I took the same amount and stayed up until midnight. So when my DH woke me up at 5:30pm I was still groggy. I couldn’t really wake up until 9am.

    Last night, I took it at 7:30pm again. WEnt to bed at 9pm (I gave a TBS to all my kids 11-4 y.o. I have a night owl, she fights to go to bed. They were all sleeping, lights out, at 9:30pm, according to my husband. I was already asleep.) Woke up at 11pm to use the restroom and went to back to bed, fell asleep and woke up at 6am feeling awesome.

    I am soooo happy! Thank you so much for sharing this. I had been praying and asking the Lord how to fall asleep and stay asleep naturally. Here is the solution. :)

  5. Do you think tart cherry juice capsules would work in place of the juice?

  6. We use it to make homemade finger jello and the kids love it! Works great for my kids, too!

  7. I just wanted to mention everyone should be careful of that organic just tart cherry juice concentrate that you buy on Amazon…it has a whopping 45 g of sugar in only 2 Tablespoons worth! So if you’re drinking a couple of ounces every night you’re overdoing the sugar. The Just Tart Cherry Juice by Knudsen is organic and only has 25 g of sugar for 8 full ounces. So if you only take a couple ounces you’re only getting a fraction (approx 6.25 g) of sugars. That’s an extremely significant difference!

  8. Thank you! My son is an early riser. I didn’t have cherry juice, so I gave him a few (6 or 7) dried, unsulfured, so sugar added dried cherries. I thought, what the heck! He only woke once at night, and work up at 6:20 versus 5:30. Night 2, same thing, woke only once and then for the day at 6:40. Third night, I bought juice and I think he thought it was poison (ha!), so I gave him dried cherries instead. He slept THROUGH THE NIGHT, and was awake, HAPPY, at 6:30. I’m in heaven.

  9. When you give the cherry juice to your kids do you give it straight up or do you mix the concentrate with water?

    • I give them the juice pictured straight, I mix the concentrate with water and give them 2 oz of the equivalent :)

  10. Cara, I’m on GAPS intro and wonder if you have been able to find any information on the kind of sugars in the juice. My family is having trouble with reacting to fruits but I’d love to sleep better.

    • I wouldn’t introduce this until after you’ve introduced the cooked apples without problem. We got stuck on fruit/sugar in GAPS too :/

  11. I had always thought it was black cherry juice that helped, and now I see you’re talking about tart cherry juice. Do you know if there is a difference, where raising melatonin levels is concerned?

  12. I have a six yr. old that has difficulty getting to sleep. BUT, she has to get up at 6:30 am on weekdays for school. I don’t want her sleeping later. I just want her to get to sleep earlier at night, but then be able to wake easier in the morning….Would this help or hinder that?

  13. Oooh, I am going to try this soon for both daughter & me. Thanks!!

  14. How much would you recommend for a 17 month old, a 3 year old, and myself? I bought the brand you recommended but don’t want to give too much or not enough.Thanks

    • I’m not really sure- I think for the little guys I’d do one ounce or so. I don’t think giving too much would be a problem other than financially (this isn’t cheap!)

  15. Great article! My arthritis is completely gone as long as I drink about 1/4 cup of this Just Tart Cherry juice every morning before I eat or drink anything else. It took 3 weeks to start working. If I go for more than 3 days without drinking it my arthritis in my hands comes right back (my hands swell up, hurt and feel as big as baseball mitts).
    I sip the juice slowly.

  16. Hi.. I have an 8 month old that doesn’t sleep through the night. He wakes up up to 4 times a night ever since he was born. I am wondering if it’s safe to give him the concentrate juice mixed with water? I am desperate! Or do you have any other remedy for an infant?

    • I think it’s okay to give to an infant, but I also think that it’s fairly normal for an 8-month-old to not sleep through the night – I have one about that age that nurses 2-3 times a night, up to four if he’s had a busy day.

  17. The Knudsen Just Tart Cherry is on sale at our local Whole Foods this week! (Maybe elsewhere too?) I have only tried this for one night so far, but I slept SO well. I have both a hard time falling asleep and I wake at around 3 am and toss and turn. I have both arthritis and autoimmune disease that causes headaches; good sleep is so critical to my making it through the day. Thank you so much, Cara. I really think this is going to make a huge difference in my life.

  18. My Son Recently Turned 1! Yay :) I Was Wonder How Much I Should Give HIm? I Don’t Necessarily Want Him To Sleep Threw The Night BUT His Sleep Habits are Horrible! He Sleeps Maybe 1-2 Hours Wakes To Nurse Then Around 6Am He Wakes Ever 30Min-1Hours Til 8:30. It’s Rough And A Few Hour Stretch Wouldn’t Hurt My feelings

    • Happy Birthday! :) I don’t think that this necessarily correlates with how well they sleep vs how much they take. My kids have had an entire glass before (4-5 oz) and I don’t notice any difference between that and when they just have 1-2 oz.

  19. Have you had any side effects from this? I got some yesterday and gave my kids, (2, 4, 5) 2oz each. the 2 year old slept poorly and has had diarrhea all day and the 4 year old has diarrhea as well. Nothing else different yesterday that I know of! Maybe I’ll give them 1oz. today. We are on Full Gaps and they rarely get juice.

    • Juice sometimes does loosen kids up. When my daughter was on low carb GAPS she couldn’t have had this, but she’s done fine with it so far.

  20. Cristina says:

    You mentioned two different options. The R.W. Knudsen’s tart cherry juice and the concentrate you buy on Amazon. Do you either of these the same? Or do you have to mix the concentrated one with something else?


  1. […] According to one study, adults suffering from insomnia slept an average of 84 additional minutes after consuming tart cherry juice two times per day for two weeks. Some parents rave about cherry juice as a children’s sleep aid, including my friends Genevieve of Mama Natural and Cara of Health Home & Happiness. […]

  2. […] According to one study, adults suffering from insomnia slept an average of 84 additional minutes after consuming tart cherry juice two times per day for two weeks. Some parents rave about cherry juice as a children’s sleep aid, including my friends Genevieve of Mama Natural and Cara of Health Home & Happiness. […]

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