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TikTokers Are Drinking Lettuce Water to Sleep Better. Does It Work?

Someone washing lettuce in a kitchen sink.

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Key Takeaways

  • People on TikTok are steeping lettuce leaves and drinking the leftover water to support quality sleep.
  • There isn't much data on lettuce water in humans to support this claim.
  • But drinking this concoction will likely not cause harm and can work as a soothing ritual to help people unwind at the end of the day.

The latest TikTok wellness trend promises to help people get some quality sleep in a new and natural way. Instead of leaning on medication or strategies like pre-bedtime meditation, TikTokers are sipping on lettuce water. 

Lettuce water refers to the liquid leftover after steeping lettuce leaves in hot water. If you know how to make a cup of tea, then you can easily get in on this trend. Some people even include peppermint, chamomile, or other caffeine-free and sleep-supporting tea in the concoction to help make it taste more appetizing.

Even though including lettuce water into your diet is likely harmless, it may not actually help you get the shut-eye you're looking for.

Does Drinking Lettuce Water Help You Sleep?

You can infuse water with any number of veggies and fruits. So, why lettuce?

“Certain lettuces, like romaine, naturally contain a phytonutrient called lactucarium,” Melissa Azzaro, RDN, LD, a New Hampshire-based registered dietitian and author of A Balanced Approach to PCOS, tells Verywell. She explains that lactucarium is sometimes referred to as “lettuce opium” because of its proposed calming and sleep-inducing effect.

There isn't much data linking lettuce to better sleep in humans, but there is evidence to show a positive effect in mice. In fact, in a study published in Food Science and Biotechnology, researchers concluded that romaine lettuce is, in fact, a source of sleep support and contains antioxidants that protect from the stress caused by sleep disturbances.

In another study, also conducted on rodents, researchers found that romaine lettuce helped improve sleep duration. 

While there are some studies highlighting lettuce’s effect on sleep, as of now, there are no well-designed clinical trials on the topic conducted with humans as subjects. And until that is available, Azzaro suggests taking any claims about lettuce water with a grain of salt. With that said, drinking lettuce water likely won’t cause any harm, Azzaro adds.

Caroline Thomason, RD, CDCES, a registered dietitian, tells Verywell that “food contamination is always a risk with raw foods." She adds that “recently certain lettuces have been more prone to E. coli contamination. Washing or boiling greens can help decrease risk,” but does not eliminate the risk altogether.

Plus, she warns that for people who take blood thinners, lettuce water could potentially interact with the medication. You should get the green light from a healthcare provider before you start including it in your nighttime ritual. 

What This Means For You

If you're having trouble sleep, drinking lettuce water may help. There isn't much data to support its sleep-supporting benefits, but drinking the water likely won't be harmful to your health.

How to Get Quality Sleep

There is no magic bullet sleep remedy that works for everyone, but there are some sleep hygiene tips you can follow.

Some of these include:

  • Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing
  • Keep the bedroom at a cool temperature
  • Limit exposure to bright light (especially those emitted by screens) in the evenings
  • Avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime
  • Keep your bedroom dark when it is time to go to sleep and don't leave the TV on

If you're looking to add a drink or food to your diet to support sleep, some science-backed options include:

  • Tart cherry juice 
  • Magnesium-rich foods and supplements
  • Chamomile tea and chamomile-extract 
  • Valerian root 

And don’t underestimate the power of the placebo effect. The simple act of drinking a warm cup of lettuce water may lead your brain to think that it helps you sleep—causing your body to drift off and rest.

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