If you’ve been scrolling TikTok, chances are you’ve seen at least a few creators making the viral “sleepy girl mocktail." The recipe goes a little something like this: Creators fill up a wine glass with tart cherry juice, magnesium powder, and some sort of sparkling water.

The viral drink earned its name because some creators claim it can help you get a great night’s sleep. Creators and commenters alike seem to have great success with implementing this concoction to help them sleep — but is there any truth to this, or is the sleepy girl mocktail another example of how social media leaves women vulnerable to misinformation about their bodies and health?

We spoke with Angela Holliday-Bell, MD, Board-Certified Physician and Certified Clinical Sleep Specialist, to get to the bottom of this trend, and see if there’s any evidence to back it up.

There’s some truth to this

“Both magnesium and tart cherry juice have been found in some small studies to have benefits for sleep,” says Dr. Holliday-Bell. “The tart cherry juice [has] has a high level of melatonin, as well as serotonin, which is needed to make melatonin.”

There are also some anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits to tart cherry juice. 

The magnesium powder plays an important role in the “sleepy girl mocktail”, too — and the science to back up its effectiveness is there.

“Magnesium on its own is involved in over 300 processes throughout the body, part of those processes induce relaxation, so it relaxes the muscles, it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which kind of relaxes things, slows things down, eases anxiety — all of those things are going to be more conducive to sleep as well,” says Dr. Holliday-Bell.

With that being said, it’s not a surefire miracle worker

“I think it is a good option to try, to add to a bedtime routine in that some people might find it helpful to fall asleep,” says Dr. Holliday-Bell. “The only caution that I would say is it’s not a silver bullet. On social media sometimes things are so glorified. It definitely can be helpful to relax and for some people can improve sleep quality, but everyone may not experience the same results.”

And there’s nothing magical about the combination of these ingredients that makes them greater than the sum of their parts.

“It’s not an additive effect, it really is that separately they can have some benefits for sleep for certain individuals,” says Dr. Holliday-Bell. “Basically, you’re potentially getting the benefit of the magnesium and the tart cherry juice. But there’s no special benefit of the two of them together.”

Some people will need more than a mocktail

“If you’re someone who suffers with an occasional bad night of sleep, this can be a helpful thing to add to your routine,” says Dr. Holliday-Bell. “But if you’re someone who suffers from chronic insomnia, which is defined as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or waking earlier than intended at least three nights per week for at least three months, you’ll likely need more than the sleepy girl mocktail to add to your routine.”

The effect of this mocktail isn’t just about the science

We hear a lot about maintaining sleep hygiene (for example, not consuming caffeine in the evening or not scrolling your phone right before bed). We also hear about the importance of implementing a bedtime routine. According to Dr. Holliday-Bell, the sleepy girl mocktail can be an effective part of that.

People are making a whole, romanticized ritual around the mocktail — they use their wine glasses, mix up the mocktail, and sit down to leisurely drink the mocktail. This can be really relaxing in and of itself — and when you come to associate it with bedtime, that can be a powerful thing, says Dr. Holliday-Bell.

“It’s kind of like when people ask about drinking Sleepy Time tea,” says Dr. Holliday-Bell. “[The] tea has things like chamomile and valerian root, which may or may not help people fall asleep. What is more powerful is a ritual of having that in connection with bedtime. Having it before bed [every night] will create a positive sleep association, so you’ve now associated that drink with sleep, it can make sleep easier for you.”

The sleepy girl mocktail may be replacing that evening nightcap

Drinking this mocktail (especially when you put it in a fancy glass)  almost feels like indulging in a glass of wine at the end of the day. The key word here is “mocktail”, though. Because the drink feels a little elevated, it can replace the excitement of having a nightly drink for people who love a nightcap — but when you remove the alcohol, the drink becomes much more conducive to a good night’s sleep.

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“If this is replacing that nightcap, you could be seeing sleep improvement just because you’re not seeing that sleep disruption from the alcohol that you would have otherwise [had]. Alcohol initially is a depressant, so it can make you feel sleepy, but it’s broken down fairly quickly, within three to four hours, and then becomes a stimulant, so it often leads to broken, poor quality sleep,” says Dr. Holliday-Bell. “If people are opting instead to do something like the mocktail, aside from the benefits that they would get from that, just taking out the sleep disruptor, which is alcohol, can lead to better quality sleep.”

Why is it called the sleepy girl mocktail?

The name indicates that this concoction may work especially well for women, but the truth is, the mocktail can work for anyone.

With that being said, social media trends often resonate harder with women, and this particular one feels a little bit elevated and fancy. However, women are more likely to have sleep issues. There are many reasons for this — some are more mental and societal, while others are biological. Hormones during perimenopause or the menstrual cycle, for example, can affect sleep.

So…should I try the mocktail?

If you want! If it sounds good to you, it may be worth a try. Implementing a nighttime routine around this mocktail can be a nice, relaxing way to wind down at the end of a long day.

But you can build a nighttime routine that doesn’t involve this mocktail, and that may help with sleep too.

“A relaxing bedtime routine is going to be somewhat individual. There are different things that different people find relaxing, so [building a bedtime routine is] really thinking about what is non-stimulating and relaxing to you in a way that helps you to unwind from the day,” says Dr. Holliday-Bell. “Dimming the lights or lighting candles can be super relaxing. Listening to relaxing music, reading a book — research actually shows that reading a book and listening to music are very strongly associated with relaxation and improved sleep because they can actually distract you from anxious thoughts that may be making it more difficult to fall asleep.”

Zara Hanawalt is a freelance journalist and mom of twins. She's written for outlets like Parents, MarieClaire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Motherly, and many others. In her (admittedly limited!) free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, trying new restaurants, and traveling with her family.