Healthy Body

Cherry juice for sleep – can the viral Sleepy Girl Mocktail actually help you get better shut-eye?

Emma Harpham, Editor  |  20 Jan 2024


We’re not really ones for New Year’s resolutions here at team TRB – who wants that sort of rigidity and pressure when you’re in winter hibernation mode, right? 

But, a few of us have been looking for drink alternatives – sans alcohol – these last few months. 

And, again and again, we’ve been seeing the viral Sleepy Girl Mocktail at the top of the TikTok search bar.

What on earth is the Sleepy Girl Mocktail?

The Sleepy Girl Mocktail has taken the wellness side of TikTok by storm, promising a better night’s sleep through a concoction of carefully chosen ingredients. 

The trending beverage boasts a surprisingly simple blend, including magnesium and soda water, with tart cherry juice as its base. The hype lies in its potential to enhance sleep quality – a claim supported by much of the collective internet chatter right now!

Cherry juice for sleep – what’s the science? 

So what is it about the Sleepy Girl Mocktail? Skip down to get the recipe – but here’s what the science says about cherry juice for sleep and relaxation.

Tart cherry juice key nutrients

Tart cherry juice is made from sour, Montmorency cherries, and is a good source of beneficial micronutrients, including:

  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin A

Tart cherries contain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compounds known as anthocyanins, which have helped link cherry juice to improved exercise recovery and performance, as well as to help treat gout! 

It is worth noting that certain types of tart cherry juice contain substantial amounts of added sugars – so opting for unsweetened varieties is best to ensure you’re getting the best out of it, nutrition-wise.

Tart cherry juice, melatonin, and sleep

Along with these key nutrients, melatonin is found in tart cherry juice. 

Melatonin is a hormone that plays a crucial role in regulating our sleep-wake cycles, helping to signal to our bodies that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep, making it a natural sleep aid that’s often used to treat insomnia. 

And the science does line up here – studies have linked tart cherry juice with increased sleep time and sleep quality.

The amount of melatonin in tart cherry juice is much less than the amount used for insomnia, though, so it is thought that it’s the combination of melatonin and other serotonin-boosting compounds like tryptophan in tart cherry juice which contributes to improved sleep.

So, whilst more studies may be needed with research into optimum quantity and dosage, trying out tart cherry juice before going to bed may actually help you get better-shut eye.

tart cherry juice for sleep debunked

Is tart cherry juice safe for pregnancy?

If you’re currently pregnant and are wondering about natural methods for improving sleep, moderate consumption of tart cherry juice is generally considered safe to try – but if you’ve got any questions or concerns, do check with your healthcare team.

Loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, tart cherry juice can be said to contribute to overall well-being during pregnancy too, but may trigger or aggravate an acidy stomach – something to keep in mind if pregnancy nausea is an issue for you. 

Can I give my toddler tart cherry juice?

While tart cherry juice may offer potential benefits for sleep in studies with adult participants, Sarah Patel, Sleep Coach and founder of Teach to Sleep, suggests thinking twice before giving it to your toddler. 

“If your child is waking up very frequently, we need to ask why they’re doing that. That’s the most important question”, she explains.

“The last thing we want to do is go give them a load of cherry juice. They’d have to drink an awful lot [to get the sleep benefits] and usually it’s got a load of sugar in it… so it’s not really going to have an impact.” 

Want more child sleep tips? Catch our featured podcast with Sarah – Baby and toddler sleep FAQ – a sleep coach answers your questions

What about magnesium for sleep?

The other key component of the Sleepy Girl Mocktail is magnesium.

Taking magnesium, especially in its glycine form, has a whole range of benefits (read up on 11 super-common health benefits of magnesium here) and can really help support sleep, too.

This is thought to be because it helps calm neurotransmitter function, letting our brains wind down and switch off more easily.

Sarah Sharpe, Senior Nutritionist at Nutri Advanced, explains; “If we’re not topping up our magnesium levels, then our body stores can be depleted. One consequence of that is our sleep can be affected, as magnesium helps to facilitate a number of neurotransmitter functions in the body that help to influence our sleep.”

Keen to dive deeper into magnesium for sleep? Bookmark this one for later – Why magnesium for stress and sleep (and managing infertility anxiety) can be a game changer

Sleepy Girl Mocktail ingredients and recipe

The original recipe was posted by creator Gracie Norton, and the TikTok showing her making it has since received more than a million views.

Keen to try it for yourself? It’s really quite simple.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of tart cherry juice
  • 1 tablespoon of magnesium powder (we really rate the MegaMag® Fem Balance from Nutri Advanced)
  • Soda water

Recipe 

Grab a large glass, and fill it with ice if you prefer your drinks chilled.

Then, pour in the ½ cup of tart cherry juice. Add 1 tablespoon of magnesium powder to the cherry juice, and stir well until dissolved.

To top it off, fill up the glass with your soda water.

Enjoy before bed – and let us know what you think!

@gracie_norton the only time i struggle with sleep is right at the end of my luteal phase! This is working WONDERS!! 💛 (not something im planning on drinking every single night, just near the end of my luteal phase! #healthyhabits #mocktails #bettersleep #sleep ♬ The Lazy Song – Galuh

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