For three nights, I put the drink to the test to see if it really would improve my sleep.

Sleepy Girl Mocktail

Jenna Anderson

You’ve probably seen the “Sleepy Girl Mocktail” on social media by now. Wellness creator Gracie Norton first posted the three-ingredient recipe in March 2023 on TikTok, where the video amassed over 1.5 million views. At the start of the new year, the “Sleepy Girl Mocktail” blew up again on social media, with creators promising an incredible night of sleep

The recipe is simple:

  • ½ cup pure tart cherry juice
  • 1 tbsp magnesium powder
  • Splash of sparkling water or lemon/lime soda

You just stir everything together and pour it over ice. The drink is surprisingly tasty—if you like cherry. I personally enjoyed the sweet-tart of the cherry juice, cut with the bubbles of sparkling water. You won’t notice the magnesium powder if you mix it well enough. I recommend dissolving it in a little bit of hot water before adding to the mixture. Then you just sit back and relax with your nightcap.

But what is it about tart cherry juice and magnesium powder that improves sleep? California-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Yasi Ansari, MS, RDN, CSSD broke it down for me.

Ansari says tart cherry juice supports sleep quality. In a 2018 pilot study, researchers found that the juice increased sleep time and efficiency because it increased tryptophan availability. “The body uses tryptophan, which is an amino acid, to make serotonin and melatonin, which support and regulate our sleep and wake cycles,” Ansari says.

Magnesium, she says, relaxes the body and helps with the onset of sleep. “I love magnesium and I love recommending it,” says Ansari, who takes a magnesium supplement 30 minutes before bed every night. “It’s known to be involved in more than 300 different body processes.”

However, Ansari warns that not all magnesium is created equal. For instance, magnesium citrate tends to have a laxative effect. She recommends magnesium glycinate to help with full body relaxation and sleep, and she advises “Sleepy Girl Mocktail” makers to check their magnesium for third-party testing on the label and avoid brands with extraneous ingredients. Don’t overdo it with the magnesium either. Ansari says more than 350 mg may cause gastrointestinal discomfort. She recommends starting with lower doses and consulting a physician before supplementing.  

“Getting the right kind of magnesium in this mocktail and… making this part of one’s nighttime routine can certainly help with sleep quality and the onset of sleep,” Ansari says.

The science is sound, but I worried social media exaggerated the effects of the drink. So this week, I tested the “Sleepy Girl Mocktail” for myself.

Sleepy Girl Mocktail 2

Jenna Anderson

Sunday Night

After sleeping in over the weekend, the “Sleepy Girl Mocktail” had the difficult job of making me tired enough to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I’m a bit of a night owl, but I hoped the drink would bring on lethargy. I can’t say I felt especially tired before bed, but I do think the mocktail helped me fall asleep faster. I also think it helped me stay asleep, as I did have a particularly restful night. However, it was a little more difficult than usual to wake up on Monday morning—but it was Monday after all. We’ll give the mocktail the benefit of the doubt and see how Tuesday morning goes.  

Monday Night

After a busy day, I was hoping this night’s “Sleepy Girl Mocktail” would knock me out. Unfortunately, a lingering cough kept me up a little later than I would have liked. Still, I had a very restful night! These drinks may not make me particularly drowsy before bed, but I’m having a deeper rest once I fall asleep. I also noticed I had an easier time getting up Tuesday morning. I’m usually a snoozer, but I actually felt wide awake at my first alarm today. Maybe yesterday morning’s lethargy was just a case of the Mondays. 

Tuesday Night 

My final night with the mocktail wasn’t particularly restful. We can blame the cough, but I did wake up once in the middle of the night for the first time in the last three nights. In the morning, I woke up at my first alarm again, so maybe my sleep was more restful than I thought, but I’m a bit skeptical. I could see myself making the “Sleepy Girl Mocktail” again, but I will not be adding it to my bedtime routine. I might just start taking a magnesium tablet like Ansari.

If you’re curious about it and struggling to sleep through the night, I would still recommend trying the “Sleepy Girl Mocktail.” The ingredients are affordable, and it is pretty tasty. I could also see this being a healthy, fun option if you like to enjoy a drink or treat before bed. “Remember not every body is the same,” Ansari adds. “Different health conditions may be impacted differently.” So you’ll just have to try it for yourself.

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