Jet lag, melatonin & cherries (plus a chance to win a “red hot” traveler’s kit!)

Flight attendants, pilots, and frequent fliers often suffer from jet lag.  I know I do.  What you probably already know is jet lag can be cured by taking melatonin.  What you may not know is tart cherries contain a significant amount of melatonin.   That’s right, those little red balls of deliciousness don’t just taste good, they can actually help you get a good night’s sleep naturally!  And that’s not all.  Cherries have also been credited with soothing arthritis, slowing the aging process, and helping depression.  They even contain queritrina potent anticancer agent.

WAIT!  Before you run off to buy this miracle fruit, leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a “red hot” traveler’s kit!  On Monday, July 19, 2010, I’ll announce the lucky winner.  

The traveler’s kit includes… 

1.  Dried cherries
2.  A Kashmere red pillow case-socks-shawl travel set
3.  A Tory Burch Cosmetic Case
4.  Cherry Marketing Institute tote bag

According to the Cherry Marketing Institute:  Cherries, a super fruit known for their powerful antioxidant and phytonutrient profile, are one of the few known, researched food sources of melatonin, a potent antioxidant produced naturally by the body to help regulate biorhythm and natural sleep patterns.

Recent  research conducted by Russel J. Reiter, Ph.D, a nutrition researcher at the University of Texas Health Science Center and one of the world’s leading authorities on melatonin,  found that a handful of cherries contain more melatonin than what is normally found in the blood, helping your body get in sync with the new time zone while you travel.  And cherries are believed to be one of the most concentrated sources of melatonin – bananas, corn and oats supply  melatonin but in considerably smaller amounts.
Research suggests melatonin works best when consumed one  hour prior to your desired sleep time on the plane and for three or more consecutive evenings after your arrival, depending on the number of time zones crossed. Cherries are available year-round as dried and frozen cherries, and cherry juice, so they’re easy to incorporate into your daily diet and travel agenda. Specifically, dried cherries are a convenient , portable and tasty way to get a melatonin boost on the plane. 

UPDATE:  Congratulations Alicia Collins, you’re the winner!



  1. Hey, whaddaya know? I love cherries and didn’t know that about melatonin.

    And thanks, now I have a craving for some Michigan cherries!

    • My name is Liz, too,and I’ll be visiting Michigan later this month…to attend a wedding. As for cherries, I LOVE them…always have!

  2. Awesome idea and great information! Going on my honeymoon soon and definitely don’t want jet lag for it 🙂 Love your blog too! I don’t travel that much, but this blog helps me daydream about it.

  3. I’m headed to Peru/Galapagos this fall so this giveaway would be fabulous to win. I also have arthritis so it would be a double win. Please keep sharing the travel tips…I love them.

  4. Great tip! totally did Not know that about cherries. So excited to add them to my food bag. I sleep horribly on the road so I will be trying this! 🙂

  5. What a great idea to take dried cherries when I travel. I did not know cherries had melatonin- cool fact! I will have to try that on my vacation mid August.

  6. I knew it. I told Lory K, all the time on the plane as she was shoving blueberries down my throat to help my memory! I just had a bowl od cherries last night. What a great article, thank you!

  7. Thanks Heather, all of these items would come in handy. I will have to pick up some melatonin and dried cherries at Trader Joes.

  8. Nice giveaway! I had no idea about the benefits of cherries. This frequent flyer is glad to hear it!

  9. omg!! i love cherries! we eat them because they are so good for you but i didn’t know about the melatonin content. i also didn’t know you could get dried ones ~ we suffered all winter with out them when we could have had them all along! thanks for sharing ~ love your blog 🙂

  10. Count me in! I love cherries, but eat them because they taste good. Who knew all the health benefits!

  11. I always eat cherries but never after a flight! 🙂 Now I will do that after every flight. Thanks to this extremely useful info 🙂

  12. Tart cherries have also been credited with providing relief for gout. If traveling east, my cure for jet lag is to stay up as late as you can. The first couple days might feel odd but it’s the way to go.

  13. I had never heard this before. Good to know a natural sleep remedy. Thanks! ….one more reason to enjoy a frou frou drink/nightcap. Double the sleep inducing power.

  14. Hah! Although I’m not terribly excited about the side-effects of melatonin (grogginess), I will try out tart cherries as a more natural way to overcome jet lag. I’ll be needing a massive amt of this come next week when I go in and out from SFO to PVG. 🙂

  15. I have a big cherry tree in my front yard that I usually get 50-80 pounds of cherries from every July. But this year with the funky weather we’ve had I have only gotten 5. Not 5 pounds mind you, 5 actual cherries! Agh! I’ve also been waking up in the middle of the night several nights a week for the last few weeks, hmm, I think it may be time for me to go buy cherries.

  16. Perfect timing! I really wasn’t looking forward to my long haul in two weeks but now I know this I’ll be taking some cherries in my hand luggage for sure!

  17. Unfortunately I tend to travel on business a lot so I cannot always take my cherie with me … oh, wait, now I get it 🙂

  18. She smiled
    her elmond eyes
    turned at the edge.
    A warm glow, came from her.
    She over wellemd me
    can i help you sir.

  19. Well isn’t that something good to know?! I’m traveling quite a bit this fall so I’ll definitely make sure to put a bag of dried cherries in my carry-on.

    Thanks for the tip!

  20. I have found melatonin to be very effective taken as a supplement. To learn it can be taken in a more natural and pleasant form is great news!

  21. Is it wrong to say that if I try cherries for the first time for jetlag it will pop my cherry for the cherry jetlag remedy? Sorry I am a Merchant Sailor and I am flying from Indonesia to the east coast this week.

  22. Looking forward to trying cherries the next time I fly back from the west coast; thank you for both the info and the contest!

  23. I praise you for being a flight attendant. I fly all the time because I love to travel, but I AM TERRIFIED of flying!!

    I do not get jetlag usually, but I am that person on the plane who is awake the entire time shaking!!

  24. I read about this a while ago – that cherries have high quantities of melatonin. And while I haven’t really noticed a difference in my jet lag, I figure at the very least, I’m eating more fruit and getting some vitamins. 🙂

  25. I’m curious how cherries compare to taking Melatonin in pill form. Does it work just as well? How many do you have to eat? I did almost all long haul internationals (transpacifics and atlantics) for 13 years, plus fly between Europe and California about twice a year.

    I do NOT recommend taking Melatonin in pill form on the plane. The only side effect I’ve ever heard of is more vivid dreams. I noticed that too. Ask anyone who has battled jet lag which they prefer and hands down, we’ll take sleep with nightmares over not sleeping… But let’s say you *don’t* want to be the inflight entertainment!

    Perhaps enjoy the cherries at the destination?

  26. What a beautiful trip kit… and I LOVE sour cherries, so I guess I’ll be stocking up on those to battle my chronic jetlag. Thanks for the tip & thanks for the chance to win such a beautiful gift! 🙂

  27. Cherries are also very good for gout and pseudogout, helping to rid the body of uric acid crystals in the blood. Its also good when you eat too many hot dogs or bacon and get too much nitrates and nitrites in your system. Enjoy!!

  28. needed a jet lag remedy…never knew eating cherries were a natual way to get melatonin, thanks for the info! Will try it on my trip in July.

  29. This is an excellent suggestion. I always stop at Trader Joe’s before arriving at the airport to stock up on easily transportable nuts and dried fruit as healthy snacks for the flight. I will definitely add dried cherries to my shopping list.

  30. Thanks for the info and what a fun travelling kit give away idea.

    I already have frozen sour cherries in the freezer for future clafoutis. Guess where they are going this August? To Paris with moi! I’ll buy organic dried cherries to munch and use the frozen ones to depuff my eye bags in flight before I go to sleep.

  31. Most of the body’s melatonin is created in the small intestine as an endogenous protectant against oxidative damage, so gut health is primary.

    Tart cherries have the additional benefit of containing additional antioxidants that can help support the mucosal barrier in the small intestine.

    Thanks for the wonderful blog Heather!

  32. MMM I love cherries ! Good to know about it…’cause I want to be a flight attendant !! For now I just often travel between France and England and I like it !
    Other dream? Want to visit USA and Canada !

  33. I have had a craving for cherries since I was a teenager. Now that I have read this article, I think my body has been telling me I need melatonin!

  34. Excellent tip – especially for the flights going East, I always find those harder to recover from.

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