Social media users are turning to lettuce tea – yes, lettuce leaves stewed in hot water – and they swear it helps them to fall asleep quicker and sleep better throughout the night.
Lettuce tea might not sound all that appealing – and it likely isn’t going isn’t going to taste of much, but TikTok user @shapla_11 says the unusual beverage helps her feel sleepy and helps tackle her insomnia.
In the clip, she advises users to soak lettuce in boiling water for 10 minutes, then remove and drink the remaining ‘lettuce tea’.
Some added chamomile or peppermint flavouring is also recommended to make the drink taste better.
But is it legit?
The pandemic has messed with our sleeping patterns and lots of us are struggling to drift off right now. Sleep is essential for our health and overall wellbeing, so could this leafy drink actually help you out? Or is it a waste of time?
Well, certain lettuces, like romaine, naturally contain a phytonutrient called lactucarium, which is purported to have a calming and sleep-inducing effect.
There isn’t much evidence to suggest lettuce can help humans sleep better, but a a positive effect has been found in mice. One study found that romaine lettuce is, in fact, a source of sleep support and contains antioxidants that protect from the stress caused by sleep disturbances.
‘While we don’t have much by way of data that can prove lettuce water helps you to drift off, there are foods we do know to be effective in hacking your bedtime,’ says Dr Verena Senn, sleep expert at Emma – The Sleep Company.
‘You want to aim for foods rich in an amino acid known as tryptophan. You can find this in eggs, kiwis and nuts. The reason tryptophan is such a big deal is because it helps your body to produce the sleep hormone melatonin – melatonin will help better regulate your body clock which equals better sleep.
‘I would suggest opting for a slightly more satisfying pre-bedtime snack – ditch the lettuce water and have a handful of peanuts.
‘However, as eating too close to your bedtime is going to have the opposite effect to what you’re aiming for as your body will be busy digesting rather than drifting off, make sure your sleep snack comes at least a couple of hours before you want to head to bed.’
Metro.co.uk try lettuce tea
‘I only had little gem lettuce, so I stuck it in some hot water for ten minutes and swirled it around.
‘I was exhausted from an early commute to work that morning and I haven’t been sleeping great because of all the hot weather, so I was hopeful this would help me fall into a deeper sleep.
‘It tasted much as you would expect. Like hot water with a “salady” aftertaste. It wasn’t disgusting, but it wasn’t pleasant either. I drank the tea around 30 minutes before going to bed.
‘I did feel really tired as I climbed into bed… but then I had felt tired all day. That night I slept really well. I didn’t wake up, and in the morning I woke up feeling fresher than the day before. Not sure if I can attribute this to the lettuce drink… but I will try it again.’
‘I had some little gem left over from my veg box so pulled off a few leaves and left them in hot water for a few minutes.
‘My first impressions were that it did not smell great, and on taking a sip, it tasted pretty much the same – just a bit like limp lettuce.
‘I tried it three nights in a row and each mug was hard to finish because it just wasn’t very enjoyable. I don’t think it did anything for my sleep – I still slept terribly and have actually slept better in the nights since I stopped drinking it.
‘I read you can get the same benefits from just eating the lettuce leaves and I would rather just do that and enjoy some tasty sleepy tea as my drink before bed.’
‘I sometimes struggle to get off to sleep and I’m an incredibly light sleeper when I do sleep, so I was hoping that TikTok’s lettuce water hack would help me.
‘I brewed the kettle and popped the leaves in for 15 minutes, before taking them out and drinking. It tasted just how I expected, like stewed lettuce – it was not enjoyable. But I gulped it down hoping it would help at 10pm.
‘Sadly I didn’t help at all, I was still wide awake lying in bed at 12:30pm. If anything it made me feel more conscious of not sleeping. That night of sleep was not a good one.
‘Overall, I would not recommend it, not only did it taste vile but didn’t appear to help in the slightest. I actually slept better on the nights that followed, because I was so tired from that terrible sleep.’
So, the verdict? Not positive. And none of the experts can definitely find a link between stewed lettuce water and sleeping better.
You might be better off establishing a good bedtime routine, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. Make sure you speak to your GP if insomnia and poor sleep is impacting your daily life.
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