Does TikTok's Lettuce Water Actually Make You Sleepy?

It's well-known that most of us aren't getting sufficient sleep, with women and families below the federal poverty level disproportionately affected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Given the potential physical and mental health side effects, it's understandable that those suffering from sleep deficiencies will try just about anything to fall asleep and stay asleep. The desperation for the recommended seven hours of sleep is perhaps most visible on TikTok, where the hashtag #lettucewater has received more than 47 million views.

TikTok users suffering from insomnia have steeped romaine lettuce in boiling water for 10 minutes and reported feeling sleepy after drinking the brew. User @ewitsjacob described its taste as akin to "how asparagus pee smells." Although romaine lettuce contains lactucarium, a sleep-inducing compound, medical professionals suggest that a few leaves are unlikely to make you sleepy. They propose that the warmth of the drink may be the real trigger for sleepiness.

According to, Dr. Christopher Winter, MD, of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, believes that drinking lettuce water primarily has a 'placebo effect,' signaling to the body that it's time to rest. Dr. Winter states that nightly cues, such as a warm mug of water, chamomile tea, or even lettuce water, can help insomniacs prepare for bed. If the notion of lettuce water doesn't appeal to you but you still struggle to sleep, there are other food-based remedies you might consider trying.

Foods that may promote better sleep

While there's not enough scientific evidence to conclusively say that lettuce water or any specific food cures insomnia, some foods with sleep-promoting properties could make it easier for you to fall asleep. Foods containing the hormone melatonin, commonly found in sleep supplements, help regulate the body's internal clock. Though not definitive, according to the Sleep Foundation, preliminary research has indicated that drinking eight ounces of melatonin-rich tart cherry juice twice a day could improve sleep quality.

A handful of almonds or walnuts before bed could also aid in falling asleep. According to Healthline, these nuts contain both melatonin and magnesium, which can help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, often responsible for keeping people awake. 

There's a reason we often fall into a food coma after Thanksgiving dinner, or why babies fall asleep with a bottle: Turkey and dairy contain the amino acid tryptophan, which boosts the body's melatonin levels. To prepare for sleep, you might try a warm glass of milk, cottage cheese, plain yogurt, or a few ounces of turkey.

Finally, eating kiwi an hour before bed could potentially make you fall asleep quicker. According to Healthline, the fruit contains serotonin, which helps regulate our sleep cycle.