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Can you drink your way to a better night’s sleep?

These days it seems like social media has a health remedy for everything. One trend that’s caught our attention is the viral hack dubbed ‘the sleepy girl mocktail’. Supporters say the combination of tart cherry juice, magnesium powder and sparkling water is the answer to achieving the 8 hour sleep of your dreams.  

But what does the science say? 

Let’s start with tart cherry juice, which is extracted from sour cherries. It’s been touted as a natural remedy for sleeplessness for many years. It contains a small amount of natural melatonin as well as the amino-acid tryptophan, which are both known to help us sleep. Studies show that at least 60mL of tart cherry juice concentrate per day may help to increase total sleep time and help improve your nightly z’s.

Magnesium may also play a role in sleep as it helps our bodies to produce melatonin. Observational studies show that people who consume more magnesium in their diet tend to have better quality sleep. However, the impact of magnesium supplementation on sleep appears to be less clear, leaving questions about whether consuming more magnesium plays a significant role in helping to improve our sleep quality, or if it’s just that the diets and lifestyles of people who consume more magnesium promote better sleep. 

Our verdict

Overall, we think the jury is out on this one. While some people might report having a better night’s sleep after drinking the “sleepy girl mocktail”, there are otherit’s likely they also made some behavioural changes that can also help promote a better night’s sleep - things like limiting screen time before bed, making sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and a comfortable temperature, and avoiding large meals, caffeine or alcohol before bedtime.

If you do want to give this Tik Tok trend a try, we recommend choosing tart cherry juice without added sugar - as a big sugar spike before bed isn’t the best option for a good night’s sleep. If you are taking any medication, make sure to discuss it with your health care provider first, as some supplements can interfere with prescription medication.  

Should you try magnesium for a better night’s sleep? 

Magnesium is an important nutrient your body needs to stay healthy and may play a sleep-promoting role.

Research also suggests that magnesium has other great benefits for the body, including: 

  • Improved exercise performance: Magnesium may help with quicker recovery times and less muscle soreness. 
  • Mood boosting qualities: Making sure you get enough magnesium can support mental function. Research shows that magnesium deficiency may also be linked to increased susceptibility to stress.
  • Better blood sugar regulation: Studies suggest that almost half (48%) of all people with type 2 diabetes have low levels of magnesium, which may impact the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels effectively. Further studies show that people who  consume adequate levels of magnesium have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.  
  • Promotes a healthy heart: Studies show that consuming adequate magnesium may help manage high blood pressure levels, which may be a risk factor for heart disease 
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits: Having low magnesium levels can lead to ongoing inflammation in the body. Consuming adequate magnesium has been shown to reduce the signs and effects of inflammation.  
  • Maintaining bone health: Magnesium plays a vital role in safeguarding against bone loss. Approximately 50-60% of the magnesium in your body is found in your bones. Lower levels of magnesium is associated with a higher risk of osteoporosis. 

The best way to get more magnesium into your diet is through food. Magnesium is found in a range of foods like wholegrains, legumes and green vegetables.

The top food sources of magnesium include:

• Pumpkin seeds

• Chia seeds  

• Almonds 

• Boiled spinach  

• Cashews  

• Peanuts 

• Soymilk  

• Cooked rolled oats  

• Whole wheat bread and cereals  

• Avocado  

• Brown rice  

• Milk 

Before you reach for a magnesium supplement, we recommend having a chat with your healthcare provider. Magnesium deficiencies are pretty uncommon – that's because it is found in a large range of foods, and even if you don’t get enough magnesium in your diet, our kidneys are pretty good at keeping our levels in check.  

There are, however, some groups of people who may be at risk of magnesium deficiencies, particularly if their kidneys aren’t working well or if they have an underlying condition which might affect absorption of magnesium. In addition, people with type 2 diabetes often have lower magnesium levels, and because of its important role in glucose metabolism, it may be beneficial for them to increase their magnesium intake. There is also some evidence that magnesium supplements may help treat and prevent migraines. 

As magnesium supplements can have some unpleasant side effects, like diarrhoea and tummy cramps, it's important that you check with your healthcare provider first to make sure they are right for you.

Can you drink your way to a better night’s sleep? ADVENT7

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