Is Lettuce Water The Sleep Aid You’ve Been Looking For?

4 Min Read | By Lottie Salako

Last Modified 13 March 2024   First Added 24 August 2023

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

There are lots of drinks to try before bed to help you relax and feel sleepy, including cherry juice and herbal teas. But now people are trying lettuce water…?

This unexpected recommendation has recently come to everyone’s attention through viral TikTok videos in which creators claim that drinking lettuce water will send you right to sleep:


Yo @Elliott Norris thanks for the hack!! #fyp

♬ original sound – Corey B

So if you’ve never heard of this sleep hack before, then like us, you’ll be surprised to learn that lettuce has actually been considered a sleep aid for thousands of years! In this article, we’ll explore the evidence behind this trend or if we should stick to eating our lettuce instead of drinking it…

Making lettuce water for sleep

The method for making this drink is pretty simple:

  1. Thoroughly wash a head of lettuce (romaine is most recommended)
  2. Separate all the leaves, place in a large pot, and cover with water
  3. Boil for a few minutes until the lettuce is soft
  4. Remove the leaves and strain
  5. Wait for it to cool and enjoy!

There’s no official recommendation on how much to drink, so we suggest starting with a small cup and waiting for 30 minutes before drinking more.

Some people add a peppermint or ginger teabag into the mix to mask the very green flavour, this may also help if you’re trying to unwind for the evening.

How can lettuce make you sleepy?

Lettuce contains a compound called lactucarium, which is the milky substance that you sometimes see when you cut into it. Also called “lettuce opium“, it reportedly has pain-killing and sedative properties.

Although some people report that it’s all nonsense, studies in 2019 and 2022 into the effects of lettuce on sleep found that seed and leaf extract from romaine lettuce reduced the time taken to fall asleep and increased sleep duration.

However, the scientific community are still looking to replicate these results in human studies, so take this triumph with a pinch of salt. Their experiments also included very controlled dosages of lettuce extract, not lettuce water, which may not have the same effects.

So, does it work?

There’s no definitive answer as to whether lettuce water will actually help you sleep, unfortunately. While it’s been used for thousands of years across many cultures, and lots of people online have shared their success, no scientific studies have yet been able to back up these claims.

With very little risk, there’s no harm in trying it for yourself. However, eating lettuce does have some great benefits that are proven by science – it’s a great source of vitamins A and C and is very hydrating.

Struggling to fall asleep? Try this two-minute hack

Are there any negative side effects?

Generally, there are no reported side effects to cultivated lettuce water. The worst thing that might happen is nothing!

There are some potential issues when using wild lettuce, however. Also known as prickly lettuce, it’s considered a weed and grows pretty much everywhere in fields and along pavements. Despite its unpleasant odour, it’s been used as a herbal remedy for hundreds of years, particularly as pain relief. However, it does have laxative and diuretic properties, meaning you may end up with an upset stomach! It can also cause dizziness, heart palpitations, and vomiting if eaten raw.

Best drinks to have before bed instead

If you’re looking for something soothing to sip on to get you in the mood for bed, we have lots of recommendations that are proven to work and will certainly taste much better!

  1. Herbal teas such as camomile, lavender and peppermint tea
  2. Tart cherry juice
  3. Warm milk
  4. Valerian root
  5. Saffron lassi

Explore all of our recommendations for drinks to help you sleep and discover the best late-night snacks to pair them with.

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