When it comes to the latest tips and tricks on how to be a better sleeper, you've likely stumbled upon the wide range of sleep hacks on TikTok. Some of them may be a tad questionable, while others are backed by experts and raved about by individuals who have tried them firsthand. Take lettuce water, for example. People on TikTok are drinking lettuce water to fall asleep faster—and claim it works.
Now, there may be a few thoughts running through your mind. How exactly do you make this concoction? Does it taste gross? And is it yet another trend that doesn't live up to the hype? These are all solid questions.
We did some digging and chatted with the experts who break down whether or not adding lettuce water to your nighttime routine can be beneficial.
People are drinking lettuce water to fall asleep faster.
The concoction itself is foolproof to prepare—simply boil water, add romaine lettuce to it, and allow it to steep for around 10 minutes. Then, drink up and experience its effects. Lettuce water may sound a bit weird, but people on TikTok swear by it.
TikToker @shapla_11 noted in her lettuce water video, "So apparently lettuce water makes you sleepy… so I'mma try it out." (Shapla steeped her lettuce in hot water with peppermint tea—from a flavor standpoint—and noted that peppermint tea on its own doesn't make her sleepy, so it wouldn't impact results.) After the lettuce steeped, Shapla said, "Update: I do feel slightly drowsy, not […] sleepy like knockout, but I do feel a bit sleepy." Her next update is a video of her in bed about to fall asleep. Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler, MD, even replied to Shapla's video noting he tested out the lettuce water trend—and it worked.
Another TikToker, @elliott, noted in the caption for his video, "I usually go to bed at 3-4 a.m., this is insane." After drinking a cup of lettuce water, Elliott said, "My eyes feel so heavy… yes, that worked."
Does lettuce water actually help you fall asleep?
We know what the hype on TikTok is all about; now, let's see what our experts have to say. "I cannot find any research in humans to support the use of drinking lettuce water before bed to help one feel sleepy," Dr. Deena Adimoolam, MD, a specialist in primary care prevention and endocrinology and a member of our Medical Expert Board. That's not to say it doesn't work, she adds.
There's promising research that showed mice who were fed lettuce extract slept longer. "However, these findings are limited since all the mice were given pentobarbital which is a sleep-inducing medication," Dr. Adimoolam explains. "Also, these studies were done in animals, and we cannot assume the results will be the same in humans."
Even though lettuce water hasn't been scientifically tested on humans yet, it's clear that many people who drink it close to bedtime are noticing some kind of soothing benefit. "Other than the lettuce extract itself, the warm temperature of the liquid alone may help with relaxation and better sleep," Dr. Adimoolam says. "Something about warm beverages is cozy and comforting, but we don't know exactly why. As an endocrinologist, I wonder about the link between warm beverages and the release of oxytocin—a hormone which can help stimulate sleep."
Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDN, the author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, a nutritionist in private practice, and a member of our Medical Expert Board, also points out that lettuce contains lactucarium, "which is a sedative property that can make you feel sleepy and promotes relaxation." Young adds, "Another reason why many people feel sleepy after drinking lettuce water may be from the warmth of the water that can promote a sense of relaxation."
It's important to note, though, that if you think you're dealing with insomnia, it's always best to check in with your healthcare provider to see what's the best course of attack for you. They'll be able to evaluate you for any potential sleep-related disorders.