If I had my perfect life, I’d be in bed and asleep by 10 o’clock every single night.
Finishing the day by 10 p.m. and just going to bed sounds like a dream to me, but I never let myself do it. Whether I get in bed before that goal or hours after, I always stay up hours past that self-imposed deadline and scroll through my phone, watch TV, or simply have my ever-present intrusive thoughts keep me awake all night.
So, this week, I tried out a hack that promised it would make me sleepy. I didn’t have to buy anything or work out for a certain number of hours. I didn’t even need to follow an extensive bedtime routine.
All I had to do was drink a cup of hot lettuce water, and all my problems would be solved.
@lizzymwong Reply to @nissaa.l what sorcery is this!!!! #lettucetea #lettucewater #whyamitired ♬ original sound – Lizzy
I’m on TikTok far too often. Every time a new trend pops up, I want to try it because there are millions of people on this app sharing things that have gotten them through life. There are some amazing life hacks I’ve learned from TikTok and use every day. But I also want to try them because I know not all of them actually work, and I just need to know which side each viral hack falls on.
I’ve tried several trends that started on the app, but this one might be the craziest yet.
Drinking lettuce water is about as simple as it sounds: you put lettuce in a mug (make sure it’s romaine, not iceberg), pour boiling water over it, let it steep, pull the lettuce out, and drink it.
If you’re cringing because that sounds disgusting, you’re not wrong.
There is some truth to the fact that lettuce helps promote sleep. The lettuce leaf contains lactucin and lactucopicrin which are known as sleep enhancements. Countries like Mexico have been using lettuce to help promote sleep long before TikTok started this trend.
That being said, lettuce water may not be the miracle worker many TikTokkers are claiming it is.
@stephgrassodietitian Do you drink lettuce water to help improve your sleep? #lettucewater #dietitian #nutrition #learnontiktok ♬ Up and Away (Vocalese) – GHOSTLAND
Yes, lettuce does have sleep-enhancing benefits, but it hasn’t actually been tested on humans…or at all, really.
There was one study done on mice in which the creatures were given lettuce extract and it helped them sleep. Yes, in one study, on mice, with lettuce extract.
I hypothesize that lettuce water doesn’t work at all but with the hope of making a video go viral and the ever-present placebo effect, people might be playing it off to be better than it is… imagine that *cough cough 75 Hard*.
But I am the cat that curiosity killed, and even if the only benefit I get from drinking hot salad juice is a placebo, it still might help me fall asleep earlier, so I’m excited to try it.
I understand that drinking hot lettuce soup is probably not high on everyone’s priority list. It does smell and taste like lettuce, there’s no denying that, but it’s not bad… as long as you like lettuce.
When I tried it for the first time, I settled in next to my partner who looked at me and said, “Well, that smells healthy.” He, then, refused to kiss me for the rest of the night.
The first time I tried it, I also put a tea bag of chamomile tea in the water to reduce the lettuce smell and taste. It did not do that. I believe it enhanced the ‘health’ smell and I only got two-thirds of the way through my mug before I had to stop for the night.
I’m not sure what’s worse — drinking straight lettuce water or ruining a good cup of tea. Spoiler: chamomile was a really stupid decision. Don’t do that.
I have to admit that I procrastinated on this challenge for a while. I was watching the videos on TikTok to get acquainted with the challenge and two things stuck out to me. One was that every registered dietitian and doctor who has seen this hack says it’s bogus and doesn’t work. The other was that one person did it and all the bugs he didn’t wash out of the lettuce came to the surface of his mug. So, I avoided starting, and when I did, I washed the lettuce, meticulously.
Is lettuce water my preferred beverage? No, I’m not crazy. The first time I tried it, I didn’t even finish the whole mug because the taste wasn’t my cup of tea (ha). But I did feel a bit sleepier than when I didn’t drink it before bed.
I dreaded drinking the concoction every night and the taste didn’t get better. Also, there’s a greenish tint to the water that just freaked me out. But I slept well and went to sleep earlier and easier than before.
If I’m being honest, this wasn’t a complete miss for me. I didn’t lose anything by trying the lettuce water and I did go to sleep earlier. That being said, I don’t know if my earlier bedtime was based on less stress, the calming tea and hot water before bed, the placebo effect, or the lettuce water.
Based solely on research (and the source material being mainly TikTok), I’m inclined to say that lettuce water doesn’t work and not to waste your time. But I did sleep better with it, for whatever reason.
I will drink lettuce water after this week, and the rest of the bag of romaine I have will go to the most fattening Caesar salad the world has ever seen. But I don’t think this trend is completely wrong and it might work for you!
Have you ever tried lettuce water? Did it work for you? Comment with any trends you’d like me to try next!
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