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Can the ‘sleepy girl mocktail’ really help you fall asleep faster?

TikTok users claim the mix of tart cherry juice, magnesium powder and prebiotic soda is giving them the best sleep of their lives.
/ Source: TODAY

With one-third of adults struggling to get enough sleep, it's no surprise that we're all looking for the secret antidote to whisk us off into slumberland.

From melatonin gummies to bedtime snacks to the military sleep method, there's no shortage of hacks out there that promise to help you fall asleep faster. One of the recent sleep hacks making the rounds on social media is the “sleepy girl mocktail.”

The sleepy girl mocktail was invented by TikToker Calee Shea in January 2023, but went viral again after it was posted by Gracie Norton in a TikTok video that has since garnered more than 1.5 million views.

Norton claimed the beverage was a game-changer for her bedtime routine and helped her fall asleep, saying “pure tart cherry juice and magnesium is a match made in heaven.”

Gracie Norton's TikTok video featuring the 'sleepy girl mocktail' went viral.
Gracie Norton's TikTok video featuring the 'sleepy girl mocktail' went viral.

Hundreds of people commented on the video that they found similar results from drinking the concoction before bedtime and a long feed of users have posted their own videos claiming it’s given them the best sleep of their lives.

Could the hype be true? Is there really a magic potion to help you fall asleep?

What's in the sleepy girl mocktail from TikTok?

The main ingredients in the sleepy girl mocktail are tart cherry juice, magnesium powder and prebiotic soda or sparkling water.

Sleep girl mocktail recipe

The recipe for the sleepy girl mocktail is:

  • ? cup pure tart cherry juice
  • 1 tablespoon of magnesium powder
  • A splash of prebiotic soda (Shea and Norton used Olipop) or sparkling water

Does the sleepy girl mocktail help you sleep?

“People’s responses will vary, but the research supports these ingredients for better sleep,” Samantha Cassetty, a registered dietitian based in New York City and the co-author of “Sugar Shock,” tells TODAY.com.?

What is it about tart cherry juice and magnesium that can help you fall asleep?

“Tart cherry juice has a high concentration of melatonin — the hormone that induces drowsiness at bedtime,” says Cassetty. “And researchers are investigating other nutrients in tart cherry juice, such as tryptophan and polyphenol antioxidants, that might play a role in supporting sleep.”

So can consuming tart cherry juice actually have sleep-inducing properties? “There’s good evidence that drinking tart cherry juice can improve sleep duration and quality,” confirms Cassetty. ?

Magnesium can also help prepare your body for sleep. “Magnesium (promotes) relaxation, and it’s also involved in regulating melatonin, which guides your sleep-wake cycle and kickstarts the feeling of sleepiness,” says Cassetty. “Plus, magnesium regulates the stress hormone cortisol, and when you’re under stress ... you deplete magnesium. This means your magnesium needs go up, and it also means you may not sleep well. When you have adequate magnesium, you may feel calmer and have fewer physical symptoms of stress, making it easier to sleep.”

Prebiotic soda, like the Olipop used in the original recipe, is where the recipe falls short.

“The ingredients in prebiotic sodas can trigger digestive discomforts like bloating, gassiness and diarrhea, and they don’t come with the benefits that prebiotic-rich whole foods offer,” says Cassetty.

“While there is some evidence that prebiotics can support better sleep, prebiotic sodas are pricey, and it’s hard to say if they’d have any immediate impact,” she adds. To save money and (and potential gastrointestinal aggravation), she recommends getting prebiotics from food instead by eating fiber-rich plant foods and using seltzer water in the recipe instead.

What kind of magnesium powder works best in the sleepy girl mocktail?

All magnesium powders aren't created equal, so it's important to read the ingredients label closely. “The most popular magnesium powder contains magnesium citrate, which can cause diarrhea, gassiness and bloating,” says Cassetty. “Instead, I’d recommend a powder containing magnesium glycinate, which isn’t associated with these side effects, and it’s better for the calming properties that can help with sleep.”

Is it safe to drink the ‘sleepy girl mocktail’?

The mocktail can be a safe addition to your nightly routine, especially if it's replacing other beverages that you're currently using to wind down.

This drink is "definitely a safer choice than a cocktail or glass of wine,” says Cassetty. “While alcohol makes you drowsy, which may help you fall asleep, it leads to sleep disruptions, which impair your sleep quality.”

But people have also raised some red flags about the mocktail.

As a follow-up to her initial viral video, Sierra Cooley says that while the drink did help her fall asleep faster, the melatonin gave her extremely vivid dreams that triggered her anxiety. In addition to comments about the drink triggering anxiety, some users also reported gastrointestinal symptoms like acid reflux and upset stomach.

“Anyone who has a chronic medical condition — such as kidney disease, heart disease or a GI disorder — should steer clear of this drink,” says Cassetty. “Anyone who is being treated for a medical condition should talk with their health care team before trying a new supplement. Even though supplements are sold over the counter, they can interfere with certain medications.”

Drinking any beverage can increase the chances that you’ll wake up to pee, which might disrupt a good night’s sleep, she added. “This is especially true if you have difficulty falling asleep after waking in the middle of the night,” she says.

If you do want to try the 'sleepy girl mocktail,' sipping the drink with a small snack may be a smart move for blood-sugar control, TODAY.com previously reported. Registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix recommends combining it with other foods that can induce sleep, such as cheese, high in tryptophan, or almonds, high in melatonin. This will help you avoid the rise in blood sugar that can happen when you drink tart cherry juice alone.

What to eat for better sleep

These other changes to your diet will also help promote healthy sleep, says Cassetty.

  1. Limit caffeine starting midday. "It’s average half-life is about five hours, so a late afternoon latte could interfere with your ability to fall asleep," she says.
  2. Eat less added sugar and more fiber-rich plant foods. "A 2016 study found that a typical American diet, which is high in sugar and saturated fat (found in red meat and full-fat dairy foods), but low in fiber was associated with more sleep disturbances and less time in deep sleep," she says.
  3. Fill your plate with fruits, veggies and other plant foods. "A 2020 study found that people who ate more fruits, vegetables and legumes reported better sleep. The same study found that people who closely followed the Mediterranean diet fell asleep faster and experienced better sleep quality," Cassetty says. "So there’s evidence that your diet plays a strong role in sleep, and the same diet that’s healthy for your body in mind may also help you enjoy better sleep."

More healthy habits for better sleep

Besides making tweaks to your diet, Cassetty says there are some other lifestyle habits you can adopt to encourage better quality sleep:

  • Avoid electronics one to two hours before bed.
  • Get outside in the morning for early sunlight exposure. This will help you feel more awake during the day and more sleepy at night, thanks to sunlight’s role in regulating your body’s internal clock.?
  • Reduce the stress in your life with activities like journaling or deep breathing.
  • Exercise daily. Make it a goal to move your body most days in ways that you enjoy. Studies link exercise with better sleep, and that’s true whether you walk, ride a bike or do yoga.
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