Helping Finley Sleep: Tart Cherry Juice

For a couple months now, Finley has been waking up before 6am more often. She’s also been unhappy and crabby more often in the morning.

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One particularly difficult morning (she wanted her paci which we now only give her for sleeping or in the car)

While I can handle the early mornings, I want her to be in a good mood, and it got me wondering if she wasn’t getting enough sleep at night.

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One crabby morning made better by eating my breakfast

Since she was only a handful of months old, her bedtime has been around 7pm. Her wakeup time doesn’t seem to be affected greatly by her bedtime. We’ve had nights where she’s went down closer to 8pm or after, and she’s still up around 6am. We’ve also taken into consideration the temperature and darkness of her room, her pajamas, hunger, etc.

A while ago, I read Mama Natural’s blog post about giving her son tart cherry juice. In the study she sites, adults consumed tart cherry juice for seven days, and both the quality and duration of their sleep improved. Mama Natural experienced these same positive results with her son.

So I thought, why not?

I bought tart cherry juice, kefir, and coconut water at Woodmans and crossed my fingers.

Most days, I would estimate Finley is only taking in 1 ounce total. After experimenting with various mix-ins, she has liked it with cherry and blueberry kefir the most. Sometimes I’ll add a little whole milk to cut down on the sweetness and sugar. She doesn’t like it with water, coconut water, straight milk, or vanilla kefir. I give her a sippy cup of it right away in the morning, before her nap, after her nap, and right before bed. She rarely drinks a lot at once, so that’s why I give it to her so often.

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Finley taking a longer than normal nap

When we first started this experiment, she began sleeping in an extra thirty minutes in the morning. For about a week, she never woke up before 6:15am. Then I ran out of the cherry kefir and tried the other mix-ins. She refused the juice for a few days and had early and grumpy mornings again. I then bought the blueberry kefir, she started drinking the juice again, and she began waking up a little later and in a happier disposition.

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Sleeping like a rock star

Maybe it’s all coincidence. Timing. The placebo effect. Whatever it is, it seems to be working.

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