This Little-Known Fruit Can Help You Fall Asleep So Much Faster, Research Shows
Chamomile, valerian, lemon balm—certain well-known plants have become synonymous with bedtime. But even those with cabinets stocked with popular nighttime teas and tinctures may be missing out on one sleep-inducing fruit: jujube.
The research on how jujube enhances sleep.
Jujube fruit (Ziziphus jujuba), also known as the jujube date or red date, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for calming and sedation for thousands of years.* That's because this little red or green plant is nutrient-dense and packed with antioxidants, amino acids, flavonoids, saponins, and polysaccharides, and these compounds help promote rest via multiple pathways.
For starters, jujube's antioxidants help protect cells against free radicals, reducing oxidative stress pathways that can make it difficult to fall asleep.* One of its flavonoids, spinosin, also seems to affect the body's serotonin receptors1 and kick-start sleepiness.* As mbg previously reported, the saponins in both jujube fruit and seeds also have calming properties.* Finally, jujube has been shown to have a neuroprotective effect on the mind2—reducing mental chatter while promoting memory and learning.*
Modern research is emerging to further validate the ancient remedy. Last year, a small, randomized study out of Australia3 found that those who took jujube seeds nightly for four weeks reported having longer, higher-quality sleep than those who took a placebo.* Another randomized control trial on healthy adults4 found that a sleep complex containing jujube improved sleep quality, as well as mood and energy levels, over the course of two weeks.* Jujube has also been shown to reduce sleep onset5—the time it takes to fall asleep—by 10 minutes, on average, compared to a placebo.*
While you can't find this soothing and strengthening fruit in every grocery store in the U.S., most health food shops will stock it. You can either eat jujube plain (it has a sweet, tart flavor), sip it as a sleepytime tea7, or reap its benefits in a flavorless supplement, like mbg's sleep support+.
You'll find 225 milligrams of jujube fruit extract in every serving of sleep support+, where it's combined with two other sleep-promoting compounds: magnesium bisglycinate and PharmaGABA®.* The result is a nightly supplement that starts by helping the mind and body wind down for bed—but doesn't stop there.* The research-backed sleep aid is also designed to help people stay asleep through the whole night and reach the deeper sleep stages where most rest and repair happens.* Reviewers note that it's given them the best sleep they've had in years.*
At mindbodygreen, we respect traditional remedies that have withstood the test of time, which is why we chose to include jujube in our bestselling sleep supplement. Try this funky fruit for yourself, and see why it still deserves a place on everyone's nightstand.
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.