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Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on the sleep of older adults with insomnia: a pilot study

PainSci » bibliography » Pigeon et al 2010
Tags: sleep, nutrition, self-treatment, treatment

One article on PainSci cites Pigeon 2010: Vitamins, Minerals & Supplements for Pain & Healing

PainSci commentary on Pigeon 2010: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

A teensy pilot study of 15 people, comparing a tart cherry juice blend to placebo, showing barely-there improvements in insomnia. “Effect sizes were moderate and in some cases negligible. … considerably less than those for evidence-based treatments of insomnia: hypnotic agents and cognitive-behavioral therapies for insomnia.”

~ Paul Ingraham

Common issues and characteristics relevant to this paper: ?Scientific papers have many common characteristics, flaws, and limitations, and many of these are rarely or never acknowledged in the paper itself, or even by other reviewers. I have reviewed thousands of papers, and described many of these issues literally hundreds of times. Eventually I got sick of repeating myself, and so now I just refer to a list common characteristics, especially flaws. Not every single one of them applies perfectly to every paper, but if something is listed here, it is relevant in some way. Note that in the case of reviews, the issue may apply to the science being reviewed, and not the review itself.

  1. Risk of inadequate statistical power.
  2. Damned with faint praise — technically positive results (at least partially) that don’t actually impress.

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

This study ascertained whether a proprietary tart cherry juice blend (CherryPharm, Inc., Geneva, NY, USA) associated with anecdotal reports of sleep enhancement improves subjective reports of insomnia compared to a placebo beverage. The pilot study used a randomized, double-blind, crossover design where each participant received both treatment and placebo for 2 weeks with an intervening 2-week washout period. Sleep continuity (sleep onset, wake after sleep onset, total sleep time, and sleep efficiency) was assessed by 2-week mean values from daily sleep diaries and disease severity by the Insomnia Severity Index in a cohort of 15 older adults with chronic insomnia who were otherwise healthy. The tart cherry juice beverage was associated with statistically significant pre- to post-treatment improvements on all sleep variables. When compared to placebo, the study beverage produced significant reductions in insomnia severity (minutes awake after sleep onset); no such improvements were observed for sleep latency, total sleep time, or sleep efficiency compared to placebo. Effect sizes were moderate and in some cases negligible. The results of this pilot study suggest that CherryPharm, a tart cherry juice blend, has modest beneficial effects on sleep in older adults with insomnia with effect sizes equal to or exceeding those observed in studies of valerian and in some, but not all, studies of melatonin, the two most studied natural products for insomnia. These effects, however, were considerably less than those for evidence-based treatments of insomnia: hypnotic agents and cognitive-behavioral therapies for insomnia.

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This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights: