Trend: “Sleepy Girl Mocktail”: Does the drink help you fall asleep?

It's late, but you just can't fall asleep.

Trend: “Sleepy Girl Mocktail”: Does the drink help you fall asleep?

It's late, but you just can't fall asleep. You toss and turn in bed, constantly looking desperately at the clock. In the morning you drag yourself out of bed, extremely tired. Many people are familiar with the problem of not being able to sleep. It's no wonder that the "Sleepy Girl Mocktail" has become a trend on social media.

In numerous videos you can watch young women in pajamas or jogging suits conjuring up a non-alcoholic drink from sour cherry juice, magnesium powder and either soda or mineral water. This is supposed to promote sleep, is mixed quickly and seems much hipper than a cup of chamomile tea. But what does science say about this? Can a mocktail like this work?

Ingredients could have an effect

“It’s not that easy to judge in this case,” says nutritionist Luisa Hardt from the University Hospital in Erlangen. "You don't know how much and which juice and how much magnesium were specifically used." At first glance, however, the components might make sense, she says.

The body needs magnesium to produce the hormone melatonin from the amino acid tryptophan, which is responsible for the sleep-wake rhythm. The sour cherry juice in turn contains secondary plant substances that can inhibit the breakdown of tryptophan in the body, so that more of this starting material is available for melatonin formation.

The nutritional doctor Hans Hauner from the Technical University of Munich is still skeptical. "The data on this is very thin. These are mostly small studies with a selected group of test subjects."

Above all, he doubts whether it makes sense to take additional magnesium. "We actually don't have a magnesium deficiency with an average diet. No one needs it as a supplement if they eat a normal diet."

In addition, the body can absorb magnesium better in smaller amounts throughout the day than in a higher dose, adds Hardt. Dietary supplements are often very highly concentrated and exceed the maximum daily amount of 250 milligrams recommended by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. "This can lead to gastrointestinal complaints, especially diarrhea - which can significantly disrupt your night's sleep."

Too little concentration

Tart cherry juice could have a similar effect on people who are sensitive to acid, says Hauner. The secondary plant substances that are supposed to promote sleep, on the other hand, are only contained in microgram amounts. "The concentration is so low that an effect is not plausible."

Especially since the content of secondary plant substances can vary greatly from tart cherry juice to tart cherry juice, according to Hardt. Studies on its sleep-promoting effects mostly used juice from the Montmorency sour cherry, a special variety that contains a particularly high amount of phytochemicals and melatonin, she explains. However, this is mainly grown in the USA and Canada. That's why the juice is usually not available in supermarkets in this country.

Everyone sleeps badly sometimes. But six to ten percent of people in Germany suffer from a sleep disorder that requires treatment, says Hans-Günter Weeß, head of the interdisciplinary sleep center at the Pfalzklinikum in Klingenmünster in Rhineland-Palatinate. "That's at least five million people. That's why you can speak of a widespread disease."

Those affected have often had problems falling asleep and staying asleep for many years - and are therefore desperate. They are often very receptive to pseudo-medical offers, expensive lifestyle products, nutritional tips and apps or smartwatches that measure and monitor sleep, says Weeß. “But you won’t be able to treat a real sleep disorder with this.”

Ineffective but harmless

In his opinion, the “Sleepy Girl Mocktail” has no effect whatsoever - at least if you only look at the ingredients. "What we find in studies with people with sleep disorders is that they react strongly to placebos. So it could be that someone feels an effect from the drink if they strongly believe in it," explains Weeß.

Just the ritual of doing something good for yourself in the evening and relaxing can help you fall asleep. “You can make a drink like this yourself, the ingredients don’t cost much,” says Weeß. That's why the "Sleepy Girl Mocktail" may be ineffective, but also harmless in contrast to many other products that advertise a supposed sleep-promoting effect and sometimes spend a lot of money on those affected.

"It's definitely something you can try if you have sleep problems," says nutritionist Hardt. Compared to sleeping pills, significantly fewer side effects are to be expected. “The mocktail is always better than a glass of wine if you want to unwind in the evening,” says Hauner. "Alcohol significantly disrupts sleep."

Better tea or hot milk

Hardt still sees a negative point with the “Sleepy Girl Mocktail”. "Most people will not drink straight juice, which tastes very sour, but rather sour cherry nectar, which can sometimes have a high sugar content." However, you should avoid sugary drinks and food in the evening, because otherwise your body will release insulin overnight, which can lead to weight gain in the long term, emphasizes the expert.

Her recommendation: Better drink a herbal tea or hot milk, which is also said to have a relaxing, sleep-promoting effect.