Does Lettuce Water Really Make You Sleepy?

The latest health and wellness trend to go viral on TikTok is a sleep aid hack that involves drinking lettuce water. Created last month by TikTok user Shapla Hoque, the video has received more than 7 million views and 1.4 million likes (via Health). In the tutorial, Hoque explains how she heard that drinking a hot cup of lettuce water before bedtime can help you fall asleep.

To test the theory, she brewed herself a cup of lettuce water and walked her viewers through the process. First, Hoque washed a handful of iceberg lettuce leaves and placed them in a coffee mug. Then, she poured boiled water over the leaves and let them steep. After letting them steep for ten minutes, she removed the leaves from the cup and drank the remaining water. "Tastes like nothing," Hoque said in her video. Later on, however, she posted an update to confirm that while the lettuce water didn't knock her out, she did feel tired and drowsy shortly after drinking it.

The science behind drinking lettuce water

Unlike other TikTok trends, there have been a few scientific studies that have actually examined the connection between lettuce and its effect on quality of sleep. According to one study in particular, certain types of lettuce contain compounds that have a relaxing and sleep-inducing effect (via Verywell Health). Published in the scientific journal Food Science and Biotechnology, the 2017 study found that romaine lettuce contains a phytonutrient called lactucarium, which has sedative properties and increased the speed at which mice subjects fell asleep.

This study was only conducted on rodents, however. There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that lettuce has the same effect on humans. You would need to steep quite a large amount of lettuce to consume enough lactucarium to make you feel drowsy. However, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't try drinking a hot cup of lettuce water if you really want to give it a go. Whether or not it will work is still up for debate, but it certainly won't cause any harm.