I Drank This TikTok Favorite Beverage Every Night For A Week & Here's What Happened To My Sleep
The latest sleep hack buzzing around TikTok is drinking better-for-you nightcaps. Creators like The Jen Jones, Gracie Norton, Claire The Nutritionist, and Caleeshea, among countless others, have started sharing their favorite sips to help them sleep, claiming their delicious-looking mocktails boast snooze-boosting benefits. One of the most popular mixers you'll spot around the app is 100% tart cherry juice.
I'm someone who is always looking for new ways to optimize my sleep routine. So when I saw that something as simple as pouring cherry juice over ice could help, I thought I might as well try the bedtime beverage out to see if it's worth the hype. Here's what happened when I bought myself a bottle and drank a glass before bed every night for a week:
Why tart cherry juice?
While you can't believe everything you read (or watch) on the internet, there is some scientific merit to the idea that tart cherry juice is good for sleep. In a 2019 pilot study, for example, researchers found that participants who had been diagnosed with insomnia slept an average of 84 minutes longer when they drank tart cherry juice for two weeks1. However, participants drank a glass not once but twice a day—in the morning when they woke up and between one to two hours before bed every night.
"Melatonin is a hormone (normally triggered by darkness) that is produced naturally in the body and adjusts your circadian rhythm accordingly," Poon tells mindbodygreen over email. And we all know tryptophan as the amino acid in turkey that supposedly helps put us to sleep after every Thanksgiving meal.
What happened when I drank tart cherry juice before bed for a week:
I drank my first glass before bed on a Wednesday and felt tired fairly quickly after downing my last drop. I felt skeptical about whether or not I could feel the effects that fast, though; I had also woken up early that morning to exercise, and that time of the month wasn't too far away, so I wasn't sold. However, I did fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow an hour or so later and stayed asleep throughout the night.
Thursday night was a different story. I did feel sleepy post-nightcap, but I woke up a few times and found it difficult to fall back asleep. To be fair, it may have been a combination of the sugary fruit drink (1 cup of unsweetened tart cherry juice contains 33 grams of sugar) and a late dinner. After all, registered dietitian Julie Stefanski, M.Ed., RDN, did previously warn mbg readers that falling asleep with a full belly results in continued digestion that requires more energy exertion throughout the night. It's no wonder I was tossing and turning.
Thanks in large part to the never-ending construction on the Garden State Parkway, I didn't get home from my niece's school play until after 11:30 p.m. on Friday. You'd think I'd down my glass of cherry juice and go to bed by that point, but I hadn't eaten since lunchtime and was starving. My husband and I went to the diner, ate some eggs, and then I partook in my new nightly ritual. To say that I was exhausted would be an understatement. I took my last sips in bed and fell asleep instantly. I didn't wake up until after 10 a.m. the next morning, but I doubt it had anything to do with the juice.
The weekend was busy but not nearly as eventful as the days leading up to it. I woke up at my normal time and went to sleep before midnight. I also made sure to eat properly and at normal human hours, so I felt hopeful about the effects I might experience from the cherry juice. Unfortunately, the bedtime beverage seemed to only wreak havoc on my sleep schedule.
On Saturday night, I woke up constantly, and according to my Oura ring, it took me nearly a half-hour to fall asleep on Sunday night (something I rarely struggle with).
The last few days of this experiment were, thankfully, uneventful. I drank the tart cherry juice before bed, fell asleep, and didn't wake up until my alarm sounded the next morning.
My takeaway from the experiment
Some research suggests that the TikTok phenomenon of drinking tart cherry juice before bed can benefit your overall sleep quality. In my experience, it takes time for the positive effects to kick in and heavily relies on circumstances, such as your diet, beyond the nightcap and how sensitive you are to sugar.
Luckily, if you struggle to fall or stay asleep, there are other ways to improve your sleep quality, from correcting your sleep hygiene to optimizing your bedroom to taking a sleep supplement that has more science behind it than the latest social media craze. Here are some mbg favorites to get you snoozing.
Julia Guerra is a health and wellness writer reporting for mindbodygreen, Elite Daily, and INSIDER. Formerly the beauty editor for BestProducts.com, she's contributed to Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, PopSugar, and more. A book worm and fitness enthusiast, her happiest moments are spent with her husband, family, sipping tea, and cuddling with her Tabby cat, Aria.