Can Lettuce Tea Help Me Sleep Better?

For several weeks now, TikTok has been sharing a viral tip that claims to be the solution to better sleep: lettuce tea. Does it work?
Can Lettuce Tea Help Me Sleep Better?

Last update: 18 May, 2022

Is lettuce tea the solution to help us sleep better? A viral health tip on TikTok claims that this drink is ideal to induce sleep in a short time. In fact, before becoming a trend, it was already a well-known remedy in popular culture.

According to its advocates, ingesting this tea about 30 to 40 minutes before going to bed can promote better sleep quality. Thus, with the hashtag #lettucewater, this preparation has reached more than 12 million reproductions.

But what does science say, does it work? Well, unlike other remedies trending in TikTok, there are some scientific studies that speak of such effects. Even so, it isn’t a “magic” drink, as some would have you believe. Let’s take a closer look.

Lettuce tea for better sleep: what science says

In folk medicine, lettuce tea has been used for decades as a supplement for better sleep. Recently, a video on TikTok reminded us of the infusion, and thousands of people around the world decided to try it. Of course, as with other home remedies, opinions on its effects are divided.

While many users claim that it really works, scientific evidence on its efficacy is limited. In this regard, a study in Food Science Biotechnology reported that some varieties of lettuce extract, especially red romaine lettuce, induce an increase in sleep duration.

Specifically, some phytochemical compounds, such as lactucin, lactucopicrin, triterpenoids, and saponins were found to have a positive effect in promoting rest. They are thought to act as natural sedatives, but their mechanism isn’t entirely clear.

However, these results have been disputed, not only because of the method used in the research, but also because the test was conducted on mice. To begin with, the rodents were given a dose of pentobarbital – a sedative – shortly after being given the extract orally.

It wasn’t determined whether this vegetable could actually reduce the time it took the mice to fall asleep. Its purpose was to make a comparison between the sleep-inducing effects of green and red leaf lettuce.

This is also controversial when used to justify the effects of lettuce water, as the study used an extract and not a homemade beverage. Furthermore, since it was done in mice, it isn’t possible to claim the same effects in humans.

In conclusion, there’s no convincing scientific support.

The properties attributed to lettuce tea, or lettuce water, come largely from popular literature. However, it’s a fact that this vegetable contains ingredients with anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant potential, which are beneficial to health.

Some red lettuce.
Red romaine lettuce would be the variety with the greatest properties to improve the quality of sleep; at least in animals.

Is there any risk in consuming lettuce water to help you sleep?

Although there’s no evidence to prove that lettuce water helps you to sleep, the truth is that it’s a harmless drink for most people. Therefore, those who wish to try it can do so without any problems.

However, it must be taken into account that it’s a liquid. Consequently, it isn’t a good idea to drink large amounts before going to bed because it can increase the need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, which, in itself, will interrupt your sleep.

Of course, as with other vegetables, it should be washed and disinfected well before consumption. In addition, you should consult your doctor if you’re taking medication or if you have any diagnosed disease. In these special cases, it isn’t always advisable to ingest natural remedies.

How to prepare lettuce tea?

At this point, it’s worth mentioning that the TikTok viral challenge suggests making lettuce tea, or lettuce water, with the iceberg variety. However, considering the above-mentioned study, it would be best to use romaine lettuce. Whatever the case, it’s safe to try any of them.

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 leaves of organic romaine lettuce
  • Honey and lemon to taste (optional)
  • 1 cup of water (250 milliliters)

Preparation and consumption

  1. To begin, place the lettuce leaves in a cup of water and let them boil over a low heat for 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Remove them from the heat, cover the drink and let it steep for 10 minutes.
  3. After that, strain it through a strainer and consume it.
  4. Although the suggestion is to drink it 30 to 40 minutes before going to sleep, it’s advisable to do it at least one hour before.

What else can you do to sleep better?

If you want to try lettuce water for sleep that’s fine. However, there are other useful strategies to promote better quality sleep – be sure to put them into practice!

  • Ensure a clean and comfortable environment in order to ensure a good sleep.
  • Avoid exposure to annoying lights and noises
  • Keep technological devices away from the bedroom, as they’re distracting
  • Maintain a healthy and balanced diet
  • Do physical exercise, but avoid doing it shortly before going to bed
  • Try relaxing aromatherapy sessions – some fragrances, such as lavender, can help.
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, pilates, meditation, or take a hot bath – this helps to reduce tensions that can affect your sleep
  • Try to maintain regular sleep schedules
  • If you have insomnia or another sleep disorder, consult your doctor.
A man with insomnia.
For insomnia, you need to apply various measures to try to improve sleep quality. Relying on natural remedies alone is not enough.

What should you remember about lettuce tea for sleep?

Despite being a popular remedy, there’s no evidence to show that lettuce tea or lettuce water is useful for better sleep. It’s important to drink it in moderation, as too much can have the opposite effect by increasing nighttime urination. This preparation is generally safe and has no side effects. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it may work, but researchers aren’t sure. For now, the many testimonials on networks about its efficacy are explained by the placebo effect.

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  • Jo K, Kim S, Ahn Y, Suh HJ. Effects of Green Lettuce Leaf Extract on Sleep Disturbance Control in Oxidative Stress-Induced Invertebrate and Vertebrate Models. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021;10(6):970. Published 2021 Jun 17. doi:10.3390/antiox10060970
  • Kim HD, Hong KB, Noh DO, Suh HJ. Sleep-inducing effect of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) varieties on pentobarbital-induced sleep. Food Sci Biotechnol. 2017;26(3):807-814. Published 2017 May 29. doi:10.1007/s10068-017-0107-1
  • Kim, M. J., Moon, Y., Tou, J. C., Mou, B., & Waterland, N. L. (2016). Nutritional value, bioactive compounds and health benefits of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). In Journal of Food Composition and Analysis (Vol. 49, pp. 19–34). Elsevier BV. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfca.2016.03.004