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Is the viral ‘sleepy girl mocktail’ a magic potion for sleep?

TikTok users claim the beverage is giving them the best sleep of their lives.
The 'sleepy girl mocktail' is a combination of tart cherry juice, magnesium and pre-biotic soda.
The 'sleepy girl mocktail' is a combination of tart cherry juice, magnesium and pre-biotic soda.Oleg Begunenco / Getty Images / 500px
/ Source: TODAY

When you’ve tossed and turned for hours and are on your fourth episode of late-night “Friends” reruns, you’d do anything for a magic potion to help you fall asleep

And a viral TikTok trend has us asking: Does such an elixir really exist?

The “sleepy girl mocktail” recipe was originally posted by TikToker Calee Shea in January, but went viral again recently after it was posted by Gracie Norton in a TikTok video that has since garnered more than a million views. Norton claimed the beverage worked wonders for helping her fall asleep, saying “pure tart cherry juice and magnesium is a match made in heaven.”

Gracie Norton's TikTok video featuring the 'sleepy girl mocktail' went viral.
Gracie Norton's TikTok video featuring the 'sleepy girl mocktail' went viral.

Hundreds of comments on the video reveal others who have found similar results from sipping the drink before bedtime. And the mocktail has inspired a long feed of users who have posted videos claiming it’s given them the best sleep of their lives.

Could the hype be true? What’s the secret behind the drink, and can it really lull us to sleep?

What is the ‘sleepy girl mocktail’?

The recipe for the concoction is:

  • ½ cup pure tart cherry juice
  • 1 tablespoon of magnesium powder
  • A splash of prebiotic soda (Shea and Norton used Olipop) or sparkling water

Does the 'sleepy girl mocktail' work?

“People’s responses will vary, but the research supports these ingredients for better sleep,” Samantha Cassetty, a registered dietitian based in New York City and the co-author of “Sugar Shock,” tells 

What is it exactly about these particular ingredients that can help lull you into a deep slumber?

“Tart cherry juice has a high concentration of melatonin — the hormone that induces drowsiness at bedtime,” says Cassetty. “And researchers are investigating other nutrients in tart cherry juice, such as tryptophan and polyphenol antioxidants, that might play a role in supporting sleep.”

So does this ingredient actually have sleep-inducing properties? “There’s good evidence that drinking tart cherry juice can improve sleep duration and quality,” confirms Cassetty.  

Magnesium can also help prime your body for sleep. “Magnesium (promotes) relaxation, and it’s also involved in regulating melatonin, which guides your sleep-wake cycle and kickstarts the feeling of sleepiness,” says Cassetty. “Plus, magnesium regulates the stress hormone cortisol, and when you’re under stress ... you deplete magnesium. This means your magnesium needs go up, and it also means you may not sleep well. When you have adequate magnesium, you may feel calmer and have fewer physical symptoms of stress, making it easier to sleep.”

Prebiotic soda, like the Olipop used in the original recipe, is where the recipe falls short.

“The ingredients in prebiotic sodas can trigger digestive discomforts like bloating, gassiness and diarrhea, and they don’t come with the benefits that prebiotic-rich whole foods offer,” says Cassetty.

“While there is some evidence that prebiotics can support better sleep, prebiotic sodas are pricey, and it’s hard to say if they’d have any immediate impact,” she adds. Instead, she encourages people to get prebiotics from food by increasing your intake of fiber-rich plant foods and save money (and potential gastrointestinal aggravation) by swapping the prebiotic soda in the recipe for seltzer water.

How to choose a magnesium powder

When it comes to magnesium powders, they aren’t all created equal. “The most popular magnesium powder contains magnesium citrate, which can cause diarrhea, gassiness and bloating,” says Cassetty. “Instead, I’d recommend a powder containing magnesium glycinate, which isn’t associated with these side effects, and it’s better for the calming properties that can help with sleep.”

Is the ‘sleepy girl mocktail’ safe?

For many, the mocktail can be a safe addition to a nightly routine. This mocktail is "definitely a safer choice than a cocktail or glass of wine,” says Cassetty. “While alcohol makes you drowsy, which may help you fall asleep, it leads to sleep disruptions, which impair your sleep quality.”

But it may not be a smart sip for everyone.

As a follow-up to her initial viral video, Sierra Cooley says the drink helped her fall asleep faster, but also claims that the melatonin gave her extremely vivid dreams that triggered her anxiety. In addition to comments about anxiety, some users also reported gastrointestinal symptoms like acid reflux and upset stomach from the drink.

“Anyone who has a chronic medical condition — such as kidney disease, heart disease or a GI disorder — should steer clear of this drink,” says Cassetty. “Anyone who is being treated for a medical condition should talk with their health care team before trying a new supplement. Even though supplements are sold over the counter, they can interfere with certain medications.”

She also cautions that drinking a beverage before bed can increase the chances that you’ll wake up to pee, which might disrupt a good night’s sleep. “This is especially true if you have difficulty falling asleep after waking in the middle of the night,” she says. previously reported that enjoying the drink with a small snack may be a smart move for blood sugar control. Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, said that drinking tart cherry juice alone could raise your blood sugar more quickly than when you combine it with other foods, so she recommends combining it with other foods that can induce sleep, such as cheese, high in tryptophan, or almonds, high in melatonin.

3 other diet rules for better sleep

These other changes to your diet will also help promote healthy sleep, says Cassetty.

  1. Limit caffeine starting midday. "It’s average half-life is about five hours, so a late afternoon latte could interfere with your ability to fall asleep," she says.
  2. Reduce your added sugar intake and eat more fiber-rich plant foods. "A 2016 study found that a typical American diet, which is high in sugar and saturated fat (found in red meat and full-fat dairy foods), but low in fiber was associated with more sleep disturbances and less time in deep sleep," she says.
  3. Load up on fruits, veggies and other plant foods while limiting added sugars. A 2020 study found that people who ate more fruits, vegetables and legumes reported better sleep. The same study found that people who closely followed the Mediterranean diet fell asleep faster and experienced better sleep quality," Cassetty says. "So there’s evidence that your diet plays a strong role in sleep, and the same diet that’s healthy for your body in mind may also help you enjoy better sleep."

More healthy habits for better sleep

Beyond diet, Cassetty recommends implementing these other lifestyle habits to encourage better quality sleep:

  • Try your best to avoid electronics one to two hours before bed.
  • Get out in the morning for early sunlight exposure, which helps you feel more awake during the day and more sleepy at night, thanks to sunlight’s role in regulating your body’s internal clock. 
  • Take steps to reduce the stress in your life, for example, by journaling or practicing deep breathing.
  • Move your body most days in ways that you enjoy. Studies link exercise with better sleep, and that’s true whether you walk, ride a bike or do yoga.