Black Cumin Is the Newest Ingredient TikTok Claims Is Good for Sleep

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black seed oil

The newest sleep remedy sounds a bit like a spice that’s bottled away in your pantry — and as you could expect, TikTok is all over this potential natural sleep aid

The substance in question is an oil from a plant called Nigella sativa, commonly known as black seed or black cumin. If you’re looking at a half-opened bottle of cumin in your pantry thinking you just struck gold, think again. Black cumin oil comes from an entirely different plant from the cumin many of us use for cooking.

One TikTok creator, Maggie Rose, says that since using black seed oil, she wakes up earlier while also feeling more refreshed (1). This video is just one of many that highlight the benefits of the oil. 

What Does the Research Say? 

A placebo-controlled study published in January of 2024 looked into the potential sleep benefits of an oil extract of black cumin, called BCO-5, for people with non-restorative sleep problems. The 70 study participants were randomly assigned either a 200 mg dose of BCO-5 or a placebo to take over seven days. To measure changes in sleep quality, researchers used actigraphy, or a wearable tracker, and RSQ-W, a sleep questionnaire. (2)

When compared to the baseline, the participants taking black cumin oil saw the following sleep improvements, as compared to the baseline: 

  • Sleep efficiency increased by 6.1 percent
  • Total sleep time increased by 15.2 percent 
  • Sleep onset latency decreased by 40.4 percent 
  • Wakefulness after sleep onset decreased by 19.8 percent 

In addition to these pretty impressive results, the study states, “our results on BCO-5 were found to be superior to many other herbal extracts presented in the last decade, especially in the last 3 years.” (2) The study also found that aside from the aftertaste, the black seed oil was well-tolerated by participants and did not cause any side effects. (2).   

These impressive stats seem to back up the above TikTok creators claims. And, other research suggests that black seed oil has other benefits, including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-anxiety effects. (3)

What Do Sleep Experts Have to Say?

Dr. Audrey Wells, Sleep Medicine Physician at Super Sleep MD, told Sleepopolis, “There are limitations of the study, not the least of which is that the study supplement is produced by the same company that is sponsoring the study and some of the authors are employed by the company.” (4)

Wells added that although the study did not report side effects, this does not necessarily mean that it’s safe for long-term use; “The safety of long-term use of this black cumin oil preparation are unknown.  It seems that in the short-term, side effects were minimal.”

Wells also explains that the seven day trial was not an ideal length, saying that “it’s best to commit to a single-ingredient preparation for at least 2 weeks, but preferably four weeks minimum.”

While black cumin oil may have some sleep and overall health benefits, it’s important to remember that natural sleep aids can’t replace good sleep hygiene. And, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before adding a new supplement to your routine — even if it’s one that you can pull from your spice rack.



  1. Maggie Rose. Tik Tok. January 7, 2023..
  2. Mohan M. E., et al. “Corrigendum: Exploring the short-term influence of a proprietary oil extract of black cumin (Nigella sativa) on non-restorative sleep: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled actigraphy study”. Frontiers in Nutrition. 2024.
  3. Ferizi, Rrahman et al. “Black Seeds (Nigella sativa) Medical Application and Pharmaceutical Perspectives.” Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences vol. 15,2: 63-67. 2023.
  4. Wells, Audrey. Author interview. February 26, 2024.


Brianna Auray

Brianna is a Data Analyst at Sleepopolis. Her goal is to collect, analyze, and interpret data on sleep health and share new insights with our audience. When she's not researching sleep topics, Brianna enjoys working out, traveling, and hiking.

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