Can Lettuce Water Really Help You Sleep? An Expert Explains the Viral TikTok Trend

·3 min read
Photo credit: Nichola Sarah - Getty Images
Photo credit: Nichola Sarah - Getty Images
  • A TikTok video with millions of views claims drinking lettuce water can help you sleep.

  • The hashtag testing the theory has received more than 30 million views.

  • There’s no harm in trying it, but there is limited science to support the trend.

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, some people will do just about anything to achieve an uninterrupted eight hours. While a warm glass of milk or melatonin supplements are often go-tos, would you drink a steamy cup of lettuce water to get some shuteye? According to a recent viral trend, people are dousing their greens in boiling water to spur sleepiness.

Shapla Hoque’s viral TikTok video—which has gained over 7 millions views and counting—seemingly sparked the trend. In the video, Hoque documented her experience making a cup of lettuce water and explained her reasoning for trying the mixture.

“Apparently drinking lettuce water makes you sleepy. Sis don’t sleep, so I’m going to try it out,” she said in the video. To make lettuce water, Hoque washed iceberg lettuce, placed it in a mug, covered it with boiling water, and added a peppermint tea bag for flavor before drinking the concoction.

Soon after, she reported feeling drowsy. “Update! I do feel slightly drowsy. Not hella sleepy like knockout, but I do feel a bit sleepy,” she said in the video. In the final clip, she reported feeling very sleepy. “Your sis is gone,” she said.

The hashtag testing the theory has received more than 30 million views and hundreds of creators on the platform have tried the tea. Many reported feeling tired after sipping on the solution.

But does lettuce water really make you sleepy?

Even though the trend is going viral, there isn’t much science to back up the theory. One study published in the journal Food Science and Biotechnology found that lettuce (particularly romaine lettuce) contains a range of polyphenols that have antioxidant properties, which may help induce sleep. But this theory requires more research because the study uses rodents as the test subjects and not humans.

Other smaller-scale studies have found that lettuce-derived oil may have sleep-inducing effects on humans. A pilot study that included 60 people published in the International Journal of General Medicine found that lettuce seed oil is successful in promoting sleep in those who experience mild-to-moderate difficulty sleeping. Another study that included 67 children published in the Research Journal of Pharmacognosy found that using lettuce seed oil on a child’s forehead and temples at bedtime could improve symptoms associated with sleep disorders. However, larger studies that include a larger, more diverse group of people are needed to confidently confirm the results.

Lettuce contains lactucin and lactucopicrin, bitter substances which are thought to have sedative effects, explains Jim White, R.D., ACSM-certified exercise physiologist and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios.

But he explains that, though these compounds could cause drowsiness, the amount found in a cup of lettuce water wouldn’t come close to that used in the documented studies on mice and the effects of lettuce seed extracts. Meaning there wouldn’t be enough of the substances in the DIY tea to cause real sleepiness in people.

So why do TikTokers note feeling tired after trying the trend? “I’m going with society factors and the placebo effect,” says White. Most likely, it’s the power of suggestion.

OK, so what will actually help me sleep?

If you’re struggling to fall and stay asleep at night, check out our guide on how to snooze soundly. Changing your habits throughout the day, not just at bedtime—such as avoiding the snooze button, limiting caffeine, exercising before dark, creating a nighttime ritual, and more—will go a long way in helping you wind down.

And if the idea of lettuce water is intriguing, but you rather sip on something tastier, these relaxing teas are an equally helpful nighttime sip.

You Might Also Like