Press Materials

New Survey Shows More Than 8 In 10 Americans Would Prefer To Improve Their Sleep With Diet Rather Than Over-The-Counter Options

February 27, 2017

Yet 87 percent are unaware that tart cherries naturally contain melatonin

LANSING, Mich. February 22, 2017 – It’s no secret: Americans are desperate for sleep. More than a third of U.S. adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis 1 and sales of over-the-counter sleep aids are on the rise. 2 In fact, the U.S. sleep aid market is expected to grow to $44 billion by 2020. 3 However, a new survey commissioned by the Cherry Marketing Institute and conducted online by Harris Poll suggests Americans may be open to alternate sleep solutions.

An overwhelming 83 percent of Americans would prefer to improve their sleep through diet rather than using over-the-counter sleep aids, and 74 percent expressed concern about the effects over-the-counter sleep aids may have on their bodies, according to the survey conducted in January 2017 among more than 2,000 U.S. adults. One promising solution that won’t require a trip down the pharmaceutical aisle is Montmorency tart cherry juice, which has been scientifically studied for its ability to improve sleep quality and duration.

Montmorency tart cherries are one of the few food sources of melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone. The survey found that 60 percent of Americans recognize melatonin as a natural sleep aid, and roughly 2 of 3 (66 percent) said they would always choose melatonin if it was as effective as over the counter sleep aids. Congruent with their preference to manage sleep through their diet, 77 percent of Americans would be open to drinking fruit juice as opposed to taking a supplement to incorporate melatonin into their diet. Yet, only 13 percent of Americans realize tart cherries – which are available year-round in juice form – contain melatonin.

“Melatonin plays a big role in the sleep equation,” said nationally renowned sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus. “Without it, our bodies aren’t triggered to regulate the sleep cycle and therefore, we can’t get the rest we need. One simple, and delicious, way to incorporate melatonin into your sleep routine is with Montmorency tart cherry juice. Research has shown adding two glasses of Montmorency tart cherry juice to your daily routine can improve your sleep quality and duration.”

Once known primarily as a pie ingredient, North American-grown Montmorency tart cherries have now been studied more than any other type of cherry. Research suggests tart cherry juice may:

  • Help improve sleep efficiency. K. researchers found that young healthy adults who drank two glasses of tart cherry juice each day for a week slept about 40 minutes longer on average and had up to a 6 percent increase in sleep efficiency. 4
  • Reduce the severity of insomnia and sleep disturbances. A study conducted at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that drinking two 8-ounce servings of tart cherry juice daily for two weeks helped reduce the severity of insomnia and time spent awake after going to sleep among older adults with insomnia. 5
  • Increase sleep time. Researchers at Louisiana State University found that drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks helped increase sleep time by nearly 90 minutes among older adults with insomnia. 6

The scientific researchers attribute the sleep benefits to the melatonin and phytonutrient content of tart cherries, including the natural compounds anthocyanins. Each serving of tart cherry juice used in the studies is estimated to contain the equivalent of 90 to 100 Montmorency tart cherries.

Tart cherries are available year-round in dried, frozen, canned, and juice forms (including juice concentrate), and are readily accessible on the shelves at a variety of retailers across the country and online. For more information, including additional scientific research, recipes, serving ideas and product forms, visit

About Cherry Marketing Institute

The Cherry Marketing Institute, a not-for-profit organization funded by North American tart cherry growers and processors, provided financial support for the study. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript. CMI’s mission is to increase the demand for Montmorency tart cherries through promotion, market expansion, product development and research.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Cherry Marketing Institute from January 9-11, 2017 among 2,192 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact


  1. Liu Y, Wheaton AG, Chapman DP, Cunningham TJ, Lu H, Croft JB. Prevalence of Healthy Sleep Duration among Adults — United States, 2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2016; 65:137-141.
  2. Persistence Market Research. Global Market Study on Sleep Aids. 2015. 
  3. Persistence Market Research. Global Market Study on Sleep Aids. 2015.
  4. 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. European Journal of Nutrition. 2012;51:909-916
  5. 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. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2010;13:579-583.
  6. Liu AG, Tipton RC, Pan W, Finley JW, Prudente A, Karki N, Losso JN, Greenway FL.  Tart Cherry Juice Increases Sleep Time in Older Adults with Insomnia. Experimental Biology 2014. San Diego, CA. April 28, 2014.