I Tried the Viral ‘Sleepy Girl Mocktail.’ Here’s Why Tart Cherry Juice is Flying Off Your Grocery Store’s Shelves. – CNET

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By now, you’ve probably heard of the new TikTok health craze, the “Sleepy Girl Mocktail.” This drink recipe has gone viral for its claim to help you fall asleep without the use of sleep aids. 

A week before I sat down to write this article, I went to the store in search of the ingredients. Down the juice aisle at my local Publix, I studied each shelf passing by stocked rows of cranberry, apple, beet, tomato, various V8 and prune juice. But when I got to the organic juice shelf, there was an entire section completely empty. The tart cherry juice was gone. 

Publix's grocery store shelves empty

Caroline Igo/CNET

This isn’t a one-off experience. This seems to happen whenever there’s a new viral TikTok trend. Whether it’s fashion or an intriguing skin care trend, TikTok drives people in waves to new products. However, not all TikTok trends are safe — take the Nyquil Chicken videos, for example. So, is the “sleepy girl mocktail” even a good idea?

I’ve been writing about all things sleep for years now. Here’s a sleep expert’s take on the Sleepy Girl Mocktail, and if I think it’s worth stalking your local grocery store for new shipments of tart cherry juice. 

What is the Sleepy Girl Mocktail?

While the original creator, Gracie Norton, first posted the Sleepy Girl Mocktail recipe last March of 2023, the trend seemed to pick up again around Dry January of this year. TikTok creators were sharing their favorite mocktail recipes, and this brought the Sleepy Girl Mocktail back into the conversation. While the mocktail looks like an everyday non-alcoholic drink, its ingredients encourage restful sleep.    

This drink is simple to make. First, start with a glass — this could be a cocktail glass, a wine glass or an ordinary glass — and fill it with about half a cup of tart cherry juice. It’s important to get tart cherry juice that’s not full of added sugar; it should be 100% pure juice. Then, mix in about a tablespoon of magnesium powder and top it off with ice and sparkling water or a soda of your choice. Creators tend to use prebiotic sodas, such as Olipop or Poppi, which contain less sugar and have some gut-friendly benefits. 

These measurements are not exact. You can add as much cherry juice or sparkling water as you like. However, follow the recommended serving size of your chosen magnesium supplement

Sleepy Girl Mocktail ingredients

  • Ice 
  • Half a cup of tart cherry juice
  • Around a tablespoon of magnesium powder 
  • Sparkling water or soda (usually Olipop or Poppi)

How does tart cherry juice help you sleep?

While all cherries contain small amounts of melatonin, tart cherries seem to contain more and may even improve your sleep quality and insomnia. According to a 2018 study exploring the effects of tart cherry juice on insomnia, the juice contained tryptophan that increased sleep time and sleep efficiency in insomnia patients. Tryptophan, also found in foods like turkey and whole milk, is an amino acid that helps the body make melatonin. In layman’s terms, tart cherry juice contains naturally occurring amino acids that help tell the body when it is time to go to sleep.  

How does magnesium help you sleep?

Tart cherry juice isn’t the only sleep-inducing ingredient in the Sleepy Girl Mocktail. The added magnesium supplements also have an impact on sleep. Magnesium is an essential mineral that the body uses to support the immune system, produce energy, maintain healthy bones and muscles and even keep the heartbeat regular. There are over 300 biochemical functions throughout that body that require magnesium. In addition, magnesium may aid in calming your nervous system and possibly reduce cortisol levels in the body. It may also increase melatonin production in the body. Studies have shown that it can increase sleep

What type of magnesium is best for sleep?

When choosing your magnesium supplement for your Sleepy Girl Mocktail, there are a few options. Magnesium glycinate is best for sleeping. This type aids in relaxation and is easily absorbed into the body. Try to steer clear of magnesium oxide, because that is used mainly to relieve constipation. 

My experience with the viral sleep trend 

Since I live close to a grocery store, I checked nearly every day for tart cherry juice to come back in stock. A week passed and either I missed it or TikTok had cleared out my local Publix of all tart cherry juice for the unseeable future. I begrudgingly ended up buying a bottle on Amazon instead (it’s cheaper to buy in-store). Once my Amazon package arrived, I was finally able to try out a Sleepy Girl Mocktail for myself. 


Caroline Igo/CNET

I made my first mocktail about an hour and a half before bed. I first took two capsules of magnesium — since I didn’t have any powdered magnesium — and got out a wine glass and ingredients. I poured about half of a cup of organic tart cherry juice into my glass and filled it up with ice. Lastly, I topped it off with an orange-flavored Poppi. It tasted like fruit punch.  

Despite its name, the cherry juice is sweet. I was expecting it to taste similar to bitter, like pure cranberry juice — which I often drink (mixed with water) for its health benefits. But tart cherry juice reminds me of the sweetness of grape juice. It mixes well with the flavored Poppi that I chose, as I imagine it would with any fruit-flavored drink.

While I can’t speak to how it tastes with powdered magnesium, the sleepy mocktail did taste like a mocktail. It was sweet and pleasant. I was surprised to find that it was even a bit too sweet for me, especially right before bed. However, I’m someone who chooses savory over sweet. It might be the perfect amount of sweet for someone else. 

And yes — about 30 minutes later — I felt tired. It felt like I’d taken 5 mg of melatonin and was ready for bed. I immediately fell asleep that night.  

Does the Sleepy Girl Mocktail work?


Caroline Igo/CNET

The Sleepy Girl Mocktail really did help me fall asleep. Its two main ingredients — tart cherry juice and magnesium — have been scientifically proven to induce sleepiness. Tart cherry juice increases melatonin production, and magnesium decreases cortisol, promotes relaxation and sleep and regulates GABA production in the brain. You don’t necessarily need to mix the two to feel the effects. You can take one without the other and vice versa. However, together, the ingredients are a safe, effective and natural sleep aid. 

While I found the mocktail too sweet to drink every night, I plan on swapping the Poppi for seltzer water. That should help cut back on the sugar. If you don’t want to spike your blood sugar before bed, herbal teas, especially those containing chamomile or valerian root, are a good alternative. Herbal tea is another natural sleep aid, and chamomile and valerian root have been proven to promote relaxation and sleep. 

Overall, the Sleepy Girl Mocktail is a simple drink that anyone can enjoy. If you don’t want to take a melatonin supplement at night, this easy and natural sleep aid could suit you. However, talk to your doctor before mixing any medications, such as blood pressure medications, with tart cherry juice.

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