We’ve all learned that some pretty bizarre trends have come out of TikTok. As the Gen Z social media hub continues to pick up speed, it remains the central source for fads and viral videos.
One recent viral post stands out for its unusual wellness suggestion – lettuce water. The TikTok phenomenon began with a woman named Shapla Hoque (@shapla_11).
The Lettuce Water Hack
In the video, Hoque starts off by saying, “So apparently drinking lettuce water makes you sleepy. Sis don’t sleep, so imma try it out!”
She proceeds by making her lettuce water concoction. She adds boiling water to a few leaves of lettuce placed inside of a mug. She decides to throw in some tea and honey to make it a bit more flavorful (we would, too!) Lastly, she lets it steep before removing the tea bag and lettuce. Then, it’s bottoms up!
She concludes by saying she did end up feeling drowsy, making many folks wonder…does lettuce water really help you fall asleep?
Does It Actually Work?
For those of you out there wondering if there’s any evidence behind this wellness hack, the answer is maybe.
Christopher Winter, a doctor who specializes in neurology and sleep medicine, and the author of the book The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It, said that lettuce does indeed contain a substance that can help with sleep. It’s called lactucarium.
As defined by Merriam-Webster, lactucarium is “the dried milky juice of a wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa) of central and southern Europe that resembles opium in physical properties and was formerly used as a sedative.” Research has found that lactucarium does indeed have sedative effects (along with the possible effects of decreased gastrointestinal inflammation and uterine contractions).
This is probably where the sleep hack derived from. But the problem is that lettuce water is most likely no where near the effects of pure lactucarium. According to Dr. Winter, “The amount of lactucarium you’re getting from four to five lettuce leaves is unlikely to do much.”
However, for folks looking for any kind of sleep solution, why not try it out? The ritual itself could help increase relaxation and drowsiness. And there’s nothing wrong with taking full advantage of the placebo effect.